Archive for Christianity

DN=: Part 15–Homophobic

Phil Robertson

 

Homo-  Greek prefix meaning “same”

-phobia  from the Greek ?????, meaning “morbid fear or dread”
(A phobia is defined as)  a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.  In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities. Edmund J. Bourne—The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook

       

So taken literally, to be homophobic should mean to be irrationally and  constantly in fear of being the same, to the point of avoiding conformity even when there is no direct threat to your individualism, and if that conformity proves unavoidable, submitting to it would reduce you to a quivering lump of Jell-O.

 

The word “homophobic” was invented by psychologist and gay activist George Weinberg in the 1960’s, first appearing in print in 1972, when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.

 

An actual phobia, on the other hand, IS a mental illness—a form of anxiety disorder that frequently requires psychiatric intervention to overcome.

 

Now if a person were to freak out being in a room full of homosexuals, perhaps due to a fear that gayness is contagious, and was unable to function for the rest of the day as a result of that trauma, then yes, THAT would be a phobia, specifically, a form of xenophobia.

 

I don’t know any Truthseekers who behave that way.

 

Therefore, I call B.S.

 

CHRISTIAN DN= HOMOPHOBIC

 

 

Since a Truthseeker’s habit is to constantly push the boundaries of his or her comfort zone, fear has no opportunity to enter the equation.

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB)

 

 Because fearfulness and sound judgment cannot occupy the same mind at the same time, a Truthseeker could not conceivably hope to correct the behavior of a homosexual from a position of fear.  This makes the suggestion of a Truthseeker being homophobic, even if that were an actual word, a logical impossibility.

 

The irony here is that the correction that is inspired by God’s love, which drives out fear, is the very thing that the “=” community regards as being homophobic.

 

Because of this, some may ask, “What gives you the right to go around ‘correcting’ people anyway?”  Actually, it isn’t a right so much as it is an obligation:

 

 “Do not hate your brother in your heart.  Correct your neighbor boldly when he does something wrong.  Then you will not share his guilt.

“Do not try to get even.  Do not hold anything against one of your people.  Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself.  I am the Lord. 

(Leviticus 19: 17-18 NIrV)

 

Notice that “Do not hate” is followed immediately with “Correct your neighbor boldly.”  Hatred and correction, then, are clearly opposites.

 

Therefore, it follows that the absence of correction where it is needed would indicate the presence of hatred.  It does not matter whether one actually FEELS hateful or not; it is the actions, or lack thereof, that make the difference.

 

For this reason, correcting the behavior a homosexual, or that of any other sinner, is an act of love based upon sound judgment, not of hate stemming from bigotry and judgmental criticism.

 

Nevertheless, there is still one more hurdle to overcome.  It is the nature of all humans, not just homosexuals, to reject correction.

 

Our pride makes us become defensive when our belief systems are challenged.  Frequently the first method of defense that we use is to deflect the correction back at the corrector, in essence sweeping our own faults under the rug while attempting to drag our neighbor’s faults out from under the same rug.

 

When Truthseekers are on the receiving end of this defense mechanism, they usually find it accompanied with another H-word.

 

(Which we will explore when this series is FINALLY concluded with Part 16–Hypocrisy)

 

DN=: Part 14–Equal Opportunity

potential

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .

(Declaration of Independence)

 

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. 

(George Orwell—Animal Farm)

 

“Equal opportunity” is another way of saying that everyone has the same chance to succeed or fail.

 

However, instead of designating an equal chance at success or failure, “equal opportunity” has become synonymous in our culture with entitlement.  Success is now assumed, and if a person does not succeed, well then that person has been denied “equal opportunity.”

 

But if equal opportunity in the true sense means the same as fair play and justice, then it would make sense that everyone already HAS equal opportunity.  If justice is universal, then so is opportunity.

 

Oh, but wait a minute.  Justice also means getting what we deserve.  So we have equal opportunity to make our own choices, but we also have equal responsibility to own the consequences of those choices.  Sometimes, those consequences are not favorable.

 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY DN= EQUAL RESULTS

 

 

So it should be plain by now that the “=”movement is not really about equal opportunity at all.  What the “=” community is really after is a life and a world that is free from consequences.

 

The irony is that if the “=” community actually got what it wanted, then it would be UN-equal, since having freedom from consequences would set it apart from the justice that everyone else would receive from making the wrong choice.

 

“=” DN= EQUAL

 

Let me pause for a moment here, because I know a lot of you are wondering: “Why does he keep saying ‘the “=” community,’ when he’s obviously talking about the LGBT community?”

 

The answer is that gay marriage isn’t the real issue here.  Sure, the media and our politicians would like to make it the issue, but in the big picture, it all comes back to a problem that plagues everyone, gay or straight—self-righteousness.

 

Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Romans that homosexuality is not the disease, but merely one of many symptoms:

 

What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.  They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.

Worse followed.  Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men.  Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love.  And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.

Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose.  And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing.  They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating.  Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers.  Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags!  They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives.  They ditch their parents when they get in the way.  Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded.  And it’s not as if they don’t know better.  They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face.  And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!  (Romans 1:21-22, 26-32 The Message)

 

Now that sounds awfully harsh, particularly in the Message paraphrase, but can you deny the reality of that in 21st-century America?

 

One of the saddest things that I have yet seen is when churches water down or discard this message.  It is not a church’s job to provide a safe place for sinners of any kind to come together and “be who they are.”  A church’s function is to bring people together to find out who they are in Christ.

 

Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.  (Galatians 3:28 CEV)

 

That’s right.  The Truth is that we all have an equal opportunity to be equal in Christ.  We have always had it and always will.

 

Sounds simple enough, but ah, there’s that pride thing getting in the way again.  The problem with this simple solution is that it involves surrendering your will, and it is not in our nature to want to do that.

 

So what is left then for those whose pride prevents them from humbling themselves before God and admitting their failure?

 

They find someone else to attack.

 

Christians.

 

Since there is no Truth or common sense in their argument, based as it is upon their own self-righteousness, then the only avenue left to them is to tear down Truthseekers in order to maintain their perception of superiority.

 

And since PC code words are their forte, they have come up with the ultimate man-made nonsense word.

 

(And for that, you’ll have to come back for Part 15)

 

DN=: Part 13–Fair Play

chick-fil-A justice

 

“It’s not fair!”

 

Every child ever

 

 

Justice, as you’ll recall, is when we get what we deserve.  It’s interesting, though, to note how abruptly our stance on justice and fair play adjusts depending upon which side of the justice we find ourselves.

 

We sure don’t mind dispensing justice; however, receiving it is a different story.

 

As in so many other situations, our pride is the problem.  If we exalt ourselves to think that we are above justice, and that “the rules” don’t apply to us, then it would follow that we wouldn’t expect to partake in the natural consequences of breaking those rules either.

 

JUSTICE DN= GETTING YOUR WAY

 

So although in truth justice is always fair, it only FEELS fair if we have a clear understanding of what it is that we truly deserve:

 

Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die.  (Romans 5:12 CEV)

 

However. . .

 

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
 God won’t always play the judge;
he won’t be angry forever.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
     because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
 As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
 Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.
(Psalm 103: 8-13 CEB)

 

Did you catch the key phrase there?  David repeated it to make sure that you would.  Justice is universal, but God reserves grace for those who honor him.

 

Without this grace, the only thing left for us is justice.  The universal natural consequence of our universal sinful nature is death.  This is the ultimate Truth of our lives, and complete reliance on Jesus for our salvation is the only way out of it.

 

Obviously, many reject this Truth.  Equally obvious is the fact that we all have a choice to accept it or reject it.

 

Nevertheless, for some reason the prevailing mentality in this country has become that one can do whatever one wishes, up to and including a complete rejection of universal Truth, and suffer no consequences whatsoever.

 

We all have desires.  However, a person who is ruled by pride will view the fulfillment of his or her desires as the primary goal.  Those that are successful in fulfilling a few of these desires may quickly begin to regard this fulfillment as an entitlement.

 

Then, in their own minds, they will conceive a bogus sense of fair play, in which they “deserve” to get whatever they want whenever they want, and anyone or anything that would deny them that is guilty of an injustice.

 

However:

 

Many people vie for special treatment from a ruler,
yet genuine justice proceeds from the Eternal.  (Proverbs 29:26 VOICE)

 

Because God alone is righteous, and because God alone determines Truth, it is only by God’s authority that true justice can be dispensed.

 

The eternal, indisputable and universal justice that applies to all humanity is not only manifest in our rights, but also in our consequences.

 

A majority of humans may get laws changed.  A government skilled in social engineering may even be able to get the attitude of a nation changed.  But NOTHING a government or its advocates can do will ever be able to change the natural consequences of a choice.

 

A government can grant or deny privileges.  A government can mandate civil responsibilities.  A government has the authority to set its own civil penalties for breaking its own rules and laws.

 

But a government will NEVER be capable of conferring rights upon any subset of the human race.

 

Yes, this even includes homosexuals.

 

(Yeah, I went there.  Wait till you see where I go next in Part 14–Equal Opportunity)

 

DN=: Part 12–Civil Liberties

consequences

 

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV)

 I’m free to choose who I see any old time
I’m free to bring who I choose any old time
Love me hold me love me hold me
I’m free any old time to get what I want
“I’m Free” Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

 

One of the main functions of a father is to establish and enforce boundaries for his children.  The intent of setting these boundaries is to protect his children, because he knows more than they do.

 

There is no condemnation in this, only a sense of love and protection.  The child picks up on this, and remains content within the security of the boundary.

 

Now if an earthly father can manage to set healthy boundaries in love, how much more effective and useful are our heavenly Father’s boundaries!  Would it not stand to reason that an omniscient God, who knows every possible outcome of every possible choice we could make, would know what’s good for us and what isn’t?

 

The most obvious example of this is the 10 Commandments.  A lot of people are put off by them because of the “Thou shalt not” tone that most of them have.  So why would a loving Father God put such restrictions on the freedom of His children?

 

One word—consequences.

 

LIBERTY DN= FREEDOM FROM CONSEQUENCES

 

Some consequences of violating God’s boundaries are obvious.  Take for example “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  If you break that commandment, the most obvious and immediate consequence is generally the breakup of a marriage.

 

Long-term and indirect consequences are difficult to predict, however.  We can’t know for certain how young children will be affected by the divorce—how they will cope with the sense of loss, how they will develop socially as they grow, what baggage they might carry into their future relationships and marriages.

 

God sees every potential negative consequence, and wants to protect us from them.  Nevertheless, our nature instinctively reacts to any kind of boundary to see it as a restriction on our freedom.  Christian or not, nobody likes being told what to do, or to have their “freedom of choice” taken away.

 

But when you stop to think about it, this is a ridiculous notion.  NOBODY can take away your freedom of choice, not even God.  He’s the one who gave it to you in the first place.

 

God doesn’t set boundaries to take away our choice.  He places them there to assist us in making the right choice, because he knows which choice will have good consequences and which will have bad consequences.

 

However, somewhere along the line our culture developed a callous disregard for sin, or crossing God’s boundary lines, and its consequences.  Our culture has been brainwashed to believe that God’s boundaries, as set forth in the Bible, are out of date and out of touch with progress.

 

Since the Bible is God’s Word, and therefore our most definitive written source of Truth, this Truth gets dismissed along with the Bible.  Inside this moral vacuum, people get the idea that they can create their own truth—a moving target that is relative to whatever suits their whims at any given moment—and anything contrary to that amorphous worldview then becomes a violation of their civil liberties.

 

Only here’s the problem.  Since Truth is universal, and it’s found in the same place where God’s “restrictive” boundaries are, then it would follow that the consequences of crossing those boundaries are also universal.

 

The consequence of mentally turning sin into civil liberties is that to do so, the concept of civil responsibility is totally abandoned.  You can’t be “free to do what you want any old time” and be your brother’s keeper at the same time.

 

Fortunately, God has a way of evening things out.

 

(To find out how, come back for Part 13–Fair Play)

 

DN=: Part 11–Backwards

forward

 

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana—The Life of Reason

 

All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.  C.S. Lewis

 

 

Back in the Empty Glass series, we talked about three ways of learning.  There is experience, or making your own mistakes and learning from them.  Then there is wisdom, which is learning from someone else’s mistakes so as not to repeat them.  And then there is common sense, which is collective wisdom that has taken root in a population.

 

Looking at this progression, it is easy to see that common sense is a product of people building upon what has gone before—the mistakes and the corrections of previous generations.  It would logically follow, then, that to employ common sense in one’s reasoning, one must look backwards to history.

 

Nevertheless, our culture inexplicably does not seem to value this type of reasoning anymore.  The so-called “progressive” ideology dictates that everything that exists must be changed, regardless of whether it was working well or not, in the name of moving “forward.”

 

But common sense declares that if you have made a wrong turn, forward is not your best option.  To get back on the road you want to be on, you’ll have to go backwards until you reach the spot where you made the wrong turn, THEN go forward.

 

Obviously, you can’t go forward and backwards at the same time.  For this reason, by completely ignoring (or worse yet, attempting to modify) history, having a “progressive” mentality completely precludes any potential for common sense to be employed, making failure a virtual certainty.

 

The primary reason that Truth Mission exists is to declare war on this intellectual futility.

 

Truthseekers proclaim God and His Word as the source of all Truth, which is unchanging and applies equally to all people in all situations.  Truth never fails, because God never fails.

 

Understanding this, it then becomes clear why Christians look to the Bible for answers when life poses difficult questions.  The Bible has an example for nearly any situation we can encounter in terms of which strategies work and which ones don’t.  Because the Bible is the ultimate source of correction, it will always improve our situation if we heed that correction.

 

More importantly, however, because God’s Word is eternal and unchanging, the lessons to be learned therein will always have value, regardless of the circumstances of the world or our individual situations.

 

ETERNAL DN= OUT OF DATE

 

As we have already noted, one cannot go backwards and forward at the same time.  Therefore, anyone obsessed with moving forward at all costs misses the opportunity for the course correction that only history and Truth can provide.

 

Since one with such a worldview only sees the Bible as a musty old book, and not God’s eternal Truth, the further “forward” they go, the smaller Truth becomes in their rearview mirror.  Since they consider everything behind them “out-of-date,” then the Truth and all who proclaim it become, in their minds, “backwards.”

 

So forward they go, until inevitably, they find a tree in their path, yielding the all-too-predictable result. Busted face notwithstanding, their pride remains intact, since that was what led them forward in the first place.

 

In the absence of the common sense that has been left behind, this pride initiates the blame game by rationalizing: “I am superior to the backwards thinkers, yet I have a busted face.  Those to whom I am superior do not have busted faces; therefore, it must be their fault that my face is busted.  Indeed, they are likely the ones who planted this tree to prevent me from going forward.  I should have the freedom to walk wherever I choose without having to worry about my face being busted!”

 

(So what’s the problem with freedom of choice?  Come back for Part 12–Civil Liberties)

 

DN=: Part 10–Affirmation

what I want to hear

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,  for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  (Luke 6:43-45 ESV)

 

If a person’s words are to be trusted, that person will have an established record of trustworthiness.  You are not going to be led down a successful path by someone who has never succeeded.

 

Likewise, a person who is known for encouraging and lifting others up is not likely to tell you something that will be a stumbling block to you, even if it’s something you didn’t expect, or didn’t WANT, to hear.

 

I think we all come to a day of reckoning in our lives where we realize that the direction we’re going isn’t the one in which we ought to be.  I can’t imagine anyone going through his or her entire lives without making at last one major course correction.  (If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet, don’t worry, you will.)

 

No matter who you are and what your situation is, that situation, and your destiny, will never change without you making some conscious decision to change your way of thinking and go a way you haven’t gone before, whether that means a slight change in direction, or a complete 180.

 

The churchy word for a change of mind, accompanied by a change of direction, is “repentance.”

 

The important thing to understand is that repentance cannot occur without new information entering the cranium.  You can’t change your mind or choose your direction without knowing that you have a choice to make.

 

The trouble is that the right choice is not always the easy one.  In fact, it usually isn’t.  The right choice usually results from your having received information that you needed, but not necessarily that you wanted.

 

Anybody can tell you what you want to hear.  If you want your current belief system to be affirmed, the internet is more than happy to oblige.  All you have to do is type what you already believe into your favorite search engine, and you will find thousands, maybe even millions of people, to affirm your point of view.

 

There’s just one problem with this.  Belief DN= Truth.  As such, a quest for affirmation will never lead to intellectual or spiritual growth.

 

AFFIRMATION DN= INFORMATION

 

 

Now don’t get me wrong; I am speaking of affirmation in the sense of affirming a point of view, not one’s own self-worth.  The latter is healthy affirmation, and I will tell you plainly that I crave that kind of affirmation nearly as much as I crave oxygen.

 

However, a quick perusal of the Truthseeker Manifesto will illuminate everything that is detrimental about a quest for affirmation of one’s worldview.

 

You can’t end an argument by attempting to bolster your own position.  You can’t establish common ground without leaving your own ground.  Seeking to affirm your beliefs does not afford you the opportunity to test them.  Also, it is very difficult to explain your own reasoning when all it consists of is quote mining from other people’s reasoning.

 

Essentially, the quest for affirmation is a rejection of Truthseeking.  The desire for affirmation is a symptom of insecurity.  Specifically, it is the fear of losing everything that is familiar to you on the off chance that whatever, or whoever, is challenging your belief pattern might have some information that you would have to accept.

 

The only way to overcome this fear is to have a burning desire to be informed, not just to believe, but to KNOW!  But knowledge only comes when you take the lid off the glass.

 

In a culture that values affirmation, however, this is easier said than done.  If we are serious about obtaining information that is worth knowing and passing on, we may have to look to history.

 

(For a different kind of history lesson, come back for Part 11—Backwards)

 

DN=: Part 9–Brainwashing

homeschool

Brainwashing (n.)

1: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

 (Merriam Webster dictionary)

 

 Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,
    bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
    I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
    counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
    we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
    the marvelous things he has done.

 He planted a witness in Jacob,
    set his Word firmly in Israel,
Then commanded our parents
    to teach it to their children
So the next generation would know,
    and all the generations to come—
Know the truth and tell the stories
    so their children can trust in God,
Never forget the works of God
    but keep his commands to the letter.
Heaven forbid they should be like their parents,
    bullheaded and bad,
A fickle and faithless bunch
    who never stayed true to God.

(Psalm 78: 1-8 The Message)

 

 

When you see a child who behaves well in public, what is it you always say?  “The public school system sure has made a great citizen out of that boy?”  Or, “Our governmental programs have certainly taught this young lady how to be a good American?”

 

No, you say, “Their parents must have taught them well.”  If the parents are present, you might thank them directly for being such good parents.  Lord knows if the kids AREN’T behaving, it’s the parents you’re going to blame, right?

 

So if it is this obvious that everything a child is and does is shaped by the examples set by his or her parents, then why does our culture get so bent about Christian parents setting a Christian example for their kids?

 

I don’t want to get to deeply into the issue of homeschooling here, because I have no personal experience with it, either as a student or as a parent.  I’m just talking about the natural education every child receives from daily observation.

 

Education, of course, is a good thing.  If we never learned anything, then we wouldn’t know anything (duh).  And common sense, that is, the collective wisdom of all the I told you so’s from all the parents ever, tells us that the primary source of any child’s education is at home.

 

Face it; we’re all home-schooled, no matter what our diplomas say.

 

Our parents have us from day one, when we are completely empty glasses.  From them we learn to walk, talk, eat, pee and poo where we’re supposed to.  Sometimes they even teach us to read, write and count before we start school.

 

Most importantly our parents, and specifically our fathers, are the primary shapers of our value system, our moral compasses, our sense of right and wrong.

 

So is this education or brainwashing?

 

EDUCATION DN= BRAINWASHING

 

Look back up to the top at the dictionary definition of brainwashing.  It’s not just indoctrination, or even FORCED indoctrination; it is forced indoctrination designed to replace one way of thinking with another. 

 

Parents are teachers, not indoctrinators.  They are filling empty glasses.  A child does not yet have a way of thinking or a value system to replace.

 

Therefore nothing, let me say that once more for emphasis, NOTHING that a parent teaches his or her own children can possibly constitute brainwashing.  This includes the passing on of Christian faith, the bedrock upon which the family has been established generation after generation.

 

So if giving your own children a Christian education is akin to pouring the Water of Life into their empty glasses, then by contrast, cultural brainwashing is coercing an educated person of any age to pour out their water, smash their glass, and take a deep drink from this brand new glass of fruit juice.

 

What do you mean it tastes like Kool-Aid?

 

(For an alternate beverage choice, come back for Part 10: Affirmation)

 

DN=: Part 8–Hate Speech

hate speech

 

 

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  (1 Peter 5:8 CEB)

 

All of humanity has a common enemy—Satan, the accuser.  The enemy’s primary goal has always been our destruction, but he has been busy developing some new tactics.

 

First to review, you’ll remember that in Part 3, we identified “righteousness” as being a right standing with God the Father, which is made possible only through a trusting relationship with His Son, Jesus.  Those with whom the enemy succeeds in denying this opportunity for righteousness will nevertheless still crave it.

 

However, since they have allowed themselves to be cut off from God’s saving grace, they are only able to manufacture a false perception of righteousness.  In their desperate attempt to elevate themselves in their own minds, they find themselves compelled to disparage others in order to make that possible.

 

The enemy facilitates this process by helping those under his influence categorize people into groups and label them.  Then he directs his unwitting followers to abuse the people in those groups by treating them unequally and criticizing them based on their differences.

 

Over time, these blanket condemnations become a habit, and hatred develops.  If left unchecked by correction, it is possible for this hatred to swell into an epidemic of ignorant bigotry.  This bigotry will then be projected toward the groups of people to whom they are trying to maintain their sense of superiority.

 

Combating this is a struggle we all share.  And it is indeed a daily struggle.  Seeing other people as individual human beings, instead of part of a labeled subset of humanity, requires a generous helping of both humility and critical thinking.

 

Knowing this, our enemy imparts his unwary abettors with a liberal dose of arrogance, which suppresses all traces of humility and artificially inflates their perception of their own intellect, eliminating the prospect of any critical thought taking place.

 

This is where the enemy plays to his greatest strength.  He advises his impressionable followers, “If you can’t convince ‘em, accuse ‘em!”

 

And this is how it plays out.

 

When one of these people attempts to engage a Truthseeker in debate, he quickly discovers the futility of this venture, since the primary objective for Truthseekers is to end arguments, not win them.  Since the arguer finds that he cannot claim the logical high ground, he will then attempt to lower the ground beneath his opponent by attacking his character.

 

But here is the twist!  Since unwarranted character assassination would make him guilty of judgmentalism, he must first deflect his own guilt by accusing the Truthseeker of being judgmental himself, thereby forcing him into a defensive position.  With any luck, the Truthseeker will take the bait, lower himself into the argument, and thus become that which he has already been accused of being.

 

On the other hand, a mature Truthseeker will not take the bait, but will simply hold fast to the Truth, and not change course.

 

When the arguer sees that his attempts at both logic and character assassination have failed, he plays the only card left in his deck by attacking Truth itself.

 

He does this by labeling the Truth “hate speech.”

 

DEFENSE OF TRUTH DN= HATE SPEECH

 

 

The irony of this concept of “hate speech” is that the people most commonly accused of hate speech are in actuality the ones most commonly on the receiving end of it.

 

For centuries upon centuries, Christians have put their trust in the eternal God, in his indisputable and unchanging Word in which He is revealed, and in His universal promises and plan for all of mankind.  In a world where people follow after every wind of change, no matter how ludicrous, we build our lives on the solid rock of eternal unchanging Truth, passing it down from generation to generation.

 

But instead of a fixed and eternal rock, our faith is now portrayed by our degenerate culture as an ignorant and hateful tradition.  We are even demonized for faithfully carrying out our most important responsibility as parents, the passing on of our faith to future generations, with the charge of “indoctrinating” our own children!

 

If parents should not be the ones most responsible for helping to frame the basic worldview and shaping the character of their own children, then who should?  The enemy has some ideas about that.

 

(And you’ll hear all about them if you come back for Part 9—Brainwashing.)

 

DN=: Part 7–Hatred

maze

 

I gain understanding from your instructions,
so I hate anything that leads people the wrong way.

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps,
a light that shows the path I should take.

Psalm 119: 104-105 ERV

  

In Part 5, we discussed the difference between exercising sound judgment and being judgmental.  But how does this play out in the course of our daily lives?  Maybe it would be best to illustrate with a story (ALLEGORY ALERT!!!)

 

THE MAZE

 

You feel the panic start to rise in your throat as the door closes behind you.  You hadn’t counted on the maze being pitch black.  Of course, you might have known that if you had actually read the book, the book you carried into the maze with you, now useless in the darkness.

 

You slow your breathing and try to recall the directions you were given just moments ago.  The shortcut.  In your mind’s eye, you focus on his penetrating, bloodshot stare and force his words to echo in your brain again, the words that were carried to you on breath that smelled of spoiled meat and rotten eggs.

 

“Don’t bother with the book; there’s a better way,” he had said.  He had appeared out of nowhere as you stood at the entrance, trembling with a mixture of nervousness and excitement.  Before you had recovered enough from your surprise, and momentary revulsion at the smell, he had continued.  “The shortcut.  Take you right to the middle.”  Where the prize waited.  The greatest prize ever won.

 

You don’t know exactly what the prize is, because again, you never found the time to read the book.  You had meant to, of course.  Ever since the day you received it from your parents, the maze had been on your mind.  The maze with the prize at the center.  But life always seemed to get in the way, and the days got away from you one by one.

 

And now here you are in the dark, with the sound of your blood rushing in your ears, trying to drown out that sound with the memory of the foul-smelling man’s directions.  “Fifty paces from the entrance, turn left.”  You take a deep breath, let it out slowly, then begin.

 

With your left hand on the wall to guide you, you walk 50 steps.  Sure enough, there is a corner.  You turn left and continue.  “150 paces, right, 75 paces, another right, and then another, then a left. . .”  You repeat the man’s directions aloud over and over, trying to focus on where you are, and trying not to think about the pits.  You weren’t sure if they actually existed, but you had heard stories.  You absently think to yourself that if you had actually opened the book you might know if they were real or not.  Doesn’t matter now, because. . .

 

Suddenly your left hand is grasping at air.  The wall has ended on your left.  You freeze.  After just a moment, you realize you must be in some sort of chamber rather than a corridor.  No problem, just keep walking straight ahead.  Another 10 paces, 20, 30, still no wall on the left.

 

The fear begins.  You wonder if you are still walking a straight line, or if you have drifted to the right.  Are you still where you need to be, or in a different corridor entirely?  In this darkness, you could be walking in a circle and not even know it.  You freeze again, trying fruitlessly to get your bearings.  Then a new horror dawns upon you—you have lost count of your steps.

 

The fear rapidly accelerates to blind panic.  You start groping in all directions with both hands, trying to find a wall.  Nothing.  You are hopelessly lost.  Now you can’t even remember if you were supposed to go 200 steps in this direction or 300.  And which direction was that even?  You have no idea which way you are facing in the darkness.  On instinct, you open the book to try to find something, anything that might help, even as the small voice of reason under the torrent of panic in your mind tells you that it is pointless to try to read anything in this blackness.

 

But then, something amazing and totally unexpected happens.

 

The floor in front of you lights up.  Just two steps in front of you, like a black, yawning mouth, you see the pit.  Trembling, you look down at the book and see something even more astonishing on the page where you opened it:

 

You shouldn’t have listened to that guy back at the entrance.  He’s never made it through the maze.  Now turn around.

 

How can this be happening?  You don’t have an answer for that, so instead, you turn to look behind you, and see that you are indeed in a large open space.  Off to your right, you see dim light coming from a corridor.  The floor is lit up there too.  You walk to that corridor and proceed down the lighted path.  After about 180 steps, it ends abruptly another dark chamber.  You stop.  From the glow of the light behind you, you look at the book again, only now it simply says:

 

Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to turn the page?

 

You turn the page, and immediately another corridor lights up to your right.  You look around and notice that there were many paths to choose leading off this chamber.  On the page, you see directions to walk down the lighted corridor to the T-intersection, and then turn right.

 

You begin down the corridor.  This is the longest one yet.  You can’t see the end, because the light on your path only extends about 100 feet in front of you.  As you begin to wonder just how long this corridor is, you come to another, smaller chamber.  From the dim glow of the path, you notice a sign on the wall.  It says:

 

PROCEED DOWN THIS CORRIDOR TO THE T-INTERSECTION, THEN TURN LEFT!

 

You stop and look at the book again, thinking you must have read it wrong.  But no, it definitely says to turn right at the T.  So which is it?  Left or right?

 

Now you have a decision to make.  “OK, let’s be logical about this,” you say to yourself aloud.  You reason that either way, you still have to go to the end of this corridor, so you take a deep breath, mutter, “Here goes nothing,” and step forward.

 

As soon as you have taken the first step, the entire corridor lights up, and you can see all the way down to the T at the end.  Relieved, you sprint all the way to the end.  But then you remember the problem—left or right?

 

You look to the right first—nothing but darkness.  Then you look to the left.  As soon as you do, bright overhead lights come on illuminating that entire passageway.  Down at the end, you can just make out a flashing green arrow pointing to the left underneath flashing red neon letters that say, “THIS WAY!”

 

You look back to the right.  Still just darkness.  Then you remember something the man back at the entrance of the maze had said:

 

That book is so out of date it’s completely useless.  It’ll have you wandering around in there lost until you starve to death.  The people who wrote it are the ones who built the maze to begin with!  Why would they want to share their prize with you?  They just want to lead you around like a sheep and keep you away from what you rightfully deserve!  People have been getting through the maze with my shortcut for years.  If that book worked, EVERYONE would use it!

 

You look back to the left.  Level ground, straight path, clear line of sight.  The choice seems obvious.  You decide to follow the sign and go to the left.

 

One step, then two, then three . . . nothing happens.  Ten more steps.  Still nothing.  You glance behind you.  Still dark going back that way.  You continue forward, more quickly and confidently this time.  Absolutely nothing changes.  Then you reach the end where the arrow points to the left.  You turn to face the direction where the arrow is pointing.  And your jaw drops.

 

Because just 50 yards in front of you, you can see a large, well-lit chamber.  And in the middle of that chamber is a pile of gold bricks as large as a haystack, shimmering in the light.

 

“I knew it!” you shout and tear off down this last corridor as fast as you can, the prize getting closer with every stride.  Twenty yards away, now ten, now five, then SMACK!!!

 

You hit the clear glass wall at top speed, knocking out your front teeth, shattering your nose and rendering you unconscious.

 

You wake up a few moments later, battered and bleeding, and you see the book lying next to you where it landed when you fell, upside down and fanned out to the last page.  You pick it up, and through a haze of throbbing pain, you read the words on the last page:

 

You should have turned right.

 

You feel the anger welling up inside you like a geyser, taking the place of the pain in your face.  As you picture the authors of the book smirking at you, the anger quickly morphs into hatred.

 

“How DARE these self-righteous dirtbags tell me what I did wrong!” you shout, spraying blood droplets all over the corridor.  In your rage, you throw the book against the wall, where it falls to the floor.

 

On the back cover, which you had never really looked at before, you see the publisher’s blurb in gold capital letters: “THROUGH THE MAZE, the newest masterpiece from the authors of BUILD A BETTER LIFE BY NOT WALKING INTO TREES!”

 

You remember that book, and all the people you thought needed a copy of it.  As you become aware again of the pain of your busted face, you sense the irony of the situation, and your hatred and anger quickly subsides.

 

After a few minutes, when your nose has stopped bleeding and your breathing has returned to normal, you remember something else.  When the book directed you down a dark path, it always lit up AFTER you took the first step.  You walk over, pick the book up off the floor, and turn again to the last page.  You start to wonder if maybe you should have turned right.

 

You walk back to the flashing sign with the arrow, turn right and look back the way you came to the T.  It’s still dark down there at the end as before, but you decide to do what you must do.

 

You backtrack to where you had made the wrong turn, and step into the darkness.  This time, you are not surprised when the floor in front of you lights up.  You are not even fazed when the well-lit corridor from which you have just emerged is plunged into darkness.

 

You look ahead, and see that the corridor ends just a short distance away at a door.  On the door is fastened a page written in the same lettering as the book you are carrying with you.  It reads:

 

To be counted among the wise, you must learn to accept helpful criticism.

If you refuse to be corrected, you are only hurting yourself.  Listen to criticism, and you will gain understanding.

Wisdom teaches you to respect the Lord. You must be humbled before you can be honored. (Proverbs 15:31-33 ERV)

 

And you finally realize that wisdom IS the prize.  You open the door, exit the maze and breathe the fresh air outside.  You hear a boisterous cheer and realize that a large crowd has gathered at the exit and are celebrating your victory.  A nurse appears, leads you a short distance away, and begins tending to your busted face.

 

From where you are seated, you can see the entrance to the maze.  You see two people talking near the entrance.  One appears to be giving directions to the other.  The second then walks toward the entrance with a mixture of fear and anticipation on his face.  Then the other turns toward you . . . and you see that it’s HIM!  The one who tried to sell you on the shortcut.  He recognizes you and grins evilly.

 

Immediately, in your mind, you hear his sneering voice and all the hateful words he said about the book and its authors.  Your anger starts to rise again, only this time instead of swelling into hatred, it solidifies into a sense of purpose.

 

You excuse yourself and run toward the other young man who is about to enter the maze.  You catch him by the elbow, startling him, and hand him the book.

 

“Here,” you say.  “You’ll need this.”

 

He scoffs in disgust and says, “I don’t need your stupid book!  I’ve been training for this for years!  I’ve been coached personally by the world’s leading experts on this maze!”

 

He’s pointing over your shoulder behind you, but you don’t even turn around, because you know at whom he is pointing.  But he’s not done yet.  With a deranged look in his eye and spittle flying from his lips, he goes on.

 

“Who do you people think you are walking around here trying to push your views down everybody’s throat?  What kind of an ignorant fool would write a book like this anyway?  And who in their right mind would publish it?  Sure, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but the people who wrote this is are clearly prejudiced idiots.  They’re just trying to pass off their hatred and bigotry as concern for people trying to find their own way through the maze.  That book is an embarrassment.  It makes me want to vomit!  It’s disgusting.  But you know what?  The writers have every right to expose themselves as total morons.  Out here in the light of day, everybody can see what they really are.  They have absolutely no regard for their fellow man!  I’m just glad they’re in the minority and most people don’t think like they do!”

 

Then he folds his arms and smirks at you.  You start to react, but then you catch yourself and remember, “You must be humbled before you can be honored.”  Your anger subsides, and is replaced with compassion.

 

You offer him the book again, saying, “Please take it.  This is what helped me get through the maze.  If you don’t. . .”

 

But he cuts you off with a left-hand wave.  Shaking his head condescendingly, he turns his back on you and walks again toward the entrance.  Then he looks back over his shoulder and offers this parting shot:

 

“You people would be hilarious if you weren’t so pathetic.  You trying to warn me with that book is about as scary as a kindergartner telling me I’m not getting any presents from Santa this year!”

 

Sadly, you realize that you have done all you can do, and you watch him enter the maze.

 

You return to where the nurse is waiting and say to her, “You might want to stick around.  I think you’ll be having another customer directly.”

 

The moral(s) of the story:

 

1.      WISDOM DN= PREJUDICE
2.      MAJORITY OPINIONS DN= TRUTH
3.      CORRECTION DN= HATRED

 

Don’t secretly hate any of your neighbors. But tell them openly what they have done wrong so that you will not be just as guilty of sin as they are.  Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.  (Leviticus 19:17-18 ERV)

 

(More on this in Part 8—Hate Speech)

 

DN=: Part 6–Judgment

 

Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.

 You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

 You’re not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it’s going to blaze hot and high, God’s fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what’s coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God’s side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire!

 If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

 If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.

Romans 2: 1-13 The Message

Sorry for the long quote there, but I wanted to point out two phrases in the very same passage: “Judgmental criticism” and “righteous judgment.”  Both phrases have forms of the word “judge” in them, but they are very different.

 

It should be clear from the context that righteous judgment belongs to God alone, for God alone is righteous by nature.  Because of His unattainable righteousness and holiness, He alone has the authority to judge in the sense of meting out justice for our sin.

 

As we have talked about in Part 3, righteous DN= self-righteous.  The only way that a person could attempt to judge another’s destiny would be from a position of self-righteousness.

 

But as we have also discussed, self-righteousness is unrighteousness.  How then can the unrighteous judge anyone?  Indeed, they have already been judged themselves, not only for the sins they themselves have committed, but by the greater sin of attempting to push God out of the Judgment Seat which is rightfully His.

 

This is the difference between judgment and being judgmental—it’s all about who is passing the judgment.  God is qualified and has the authority to judge sin.  We aren’t, and we don’t.

 

EXERCISING JUDGMENT DN= BEING JUDGMENTAL

 

Although self-righteous, judgmental criticism is a problem for all people, the distinction between God’s judgment and man’s judgmentalism is relatively clear.

 

What is not as clear as it needs to be, however, is the difference between judgmentalism and exercising sound judgment.

 

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion. Proverbs 3:21 NIV

 

One of the complications of the English language is words with multiple meanings.  “Judgment” is one of those.

 

God will sit in judgment of us all; therefore, we should not stand in judgment of one another.  Yet we are to preserve sound judgment?  How does that work?

 

It’s really not that difficult when you stop to think about it.  If your judgment is toward a person and stems from motives of criticism and self-righteousness, then you are being judgmental.  This is the bad one.

 

However, if your judgment is focused toward an action or situation, and is based upon wisdom, common sense or sound reasoning, then this is the good kind.

 

Where the problems arise, is when a spirit of offense prevents the person being judged from distinguishing between the two.

 

If someone attempts to shame you for your sin, make you feel like a bad person, tells you you’re going to Hell, calls you a name, places a group label on you, or blames you for something for which you are not directly responsible because of your association with that group, then that person is being judgmental, and your offense is justified.

 

If, however, the other person is attempting to help you correct your behavior respectfully, sharing from his or her own experience a bad result from their having done something similar, calling you by your own name, looking you in the eye, emphasizing the solution instead of the problem, but most importantly, is focusing on the behavior without attempting to analyze your motives or your character. . .then you need to work past the emotional reaction of offense and listen to what you are being told.

 

Chances are this person knows something you don’t.  And they are exercising sound judgment, without being judgmental, by telling you that.

 

(Coming up next, STORYTIME! Going to do something a little different for Part 7–Hatred.)