Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. This phrase, spoken at those who intend to demean or humiliate another, are meant to say that the person verbally assaulted is secure enough to see themselves as they are, rather than as the hurtful words spoken against them. In this new enlightened age words are judged to be just as violent as the actions taken to cause actual physical harm against another. Say what you will. Those that feel the need to belittle someone else in order to make themselves feel superior does not bother the vast majority of their targets in the least. Unfortunately, those few that are actually offended and especially those that take umbrage for other “protected” classes, drive society’s attitudes. The word police are out in force as more and more words are added to the list of “hate speech” as society creates more and more protected classes. With all the “haters” that are branded by our evermore intolerant culture, it is a wonder that humanity can coexist at all. But, it is even more telling as to who, and why someone can become labeled as a “hater”. Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show family, really stuck his foot in his mouth, according to those more enlightened than I.

Seems that stating a personal conviction, based upon his Christian faith, upholding the authority of Scripture by quoting the Apostle Paul, was beyond the pale of acceptable behavior and speech today. As our society accepts an ever expanding list of what was previously unacceptable and aberrant conduct, it casts its’ aspersions in an unrelenting wave of skepticism against those they view as naive and gullible enough to profess faith in the Risen Christ. Those enlightened in our society look at Christians as judgmental, homophobic, exclusionary, hypocritical and hateful as they stand in judgment of those who dare to hold an opinion contrary to their own. While, we as Christians, stand convicted, we have a Savior who took our sins upon His shoulders, endured our punishment upon that cross, and now sits upon the throne, advocating for us to our Father. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

So, in this day and age where truth is confused and the selfish cravings of a sinful humanity overtake our society, how does a Christian maintain sanity in this upside down world? Do we simply turn the other cheek and let those who would do us harm, slap us down, again and again? Especially troubling are the supposed leaders of God’s churches that look to ingratiate themselves with the world by minimizing or disregarding His will for us. Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA continually support the terrorist regime, Hamas, and Palestine, while casting stones at Israel? Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA support a women’s choice to end her pregnancy, or what is in reality, complicity in the murder of her unborn child? Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA lift up the homosexual lifestyle while chiding those that support the sanctity of marriage and call for the protection of a family with one man as the father and one woman as the mother?

The secular world looks down upon Christians as backward dim-witted rubes, easily duped by a religion they believe is simply meant to control them, while their own religion, that is all about pleasing oneself, is acclaimed as ideal. By invoking doctrine meant to affirm the selfish nature of humanity, it would appear that the leaders of the ELCA would have their members embrace the same ideals as secular society. In Robertson’s incident, reason prevails and “Duck Dynasty” is made whole again. This all has been played out before. The ending to this story has already been written. Evil does not win. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is victorious over the forces of the evil one and will ultimately usher in a new beginning for all believers. We needn’t be concerned with the small victories that the evil one wins here on earth because he will not win the war. Proclaim the power of the Gospel throughout the world. Let the love of Christ pour out of your heart. Let everyone see Him in your actions. Let everyone hear Him when you speak. Pray long and hard for our brothers and sisters in Christ to be delivered from the clutches of the ELCA and other misguided churches. Matthew 16, 24-29, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Stand strong for the Lord and when He comes, you will receive the ultimate reward, eternal life with Him.

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