Archive for the ‘Evil’ Tag

Gloating   2 comments

One of the things that has been bothering me as I observe or increasingly divided communities is the way that every action and every comment seems to require a slew of equal and opposite reactions. The tragedy, as I see it, is this seems to be leaking (may be pouring) into the way in which we as followers of Jesus respond to things. The net result is a frightening outpouring of self-righteousness and , yes, I am sure that I am as guilty of this as anyone. I am increasingly challenged by the need to ask myself before I speak, tweet, message or communicate in any way does what I am about to say and how I am about to say it reflect the character of Christ? Is this the way Jesus would have spoken? Jesus was both relentlessly clear and relentlessly compassionate. Every word he said was crafted with His Father (John 12:49)

I am using Tim Kellers book ” The Songs of Jesus in my daily devotions this year and this mornings reading just underlined what I have been think so I though i would share it with you

Psalm 35: 19– 28. 19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. 20 They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. 21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.” 22 LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. 23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. 24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. 25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.” 26 May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. 27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” 28 My tongue will speak of your righteousness, your praises all day long.

GLOATING. One of the great spiritual dangers of persecution is that it can make you self-righteous. You feel noble and superior because of your unjust victimization. Here David asks God to prevent his enemies from gloating over him, yet he does not gloat in return. To be happy over bad things that happen to others is called schadenfreude. David commits himself to rejoicing in God’s justice and greatness (verse 28) rather than his own moral superiority. While many bemoan the incivility that technology has made easy and anonymous, the cause is really the human heart that wants to fire back a defensive attack. Don’t try to pay back but leave it to God, who alone knows what people deserve (verses 23– 24.) Let God be your vindicator; one day all will be known.

Keller, Timothy; Keller, Kathy (2015-11-10). The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms (p. 69). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Its Just Joking…   Leave a comment

…so my grandson explained to me about the scary decorations he had seen for
Halloween! Once again the question of how, as a Christian, I should approach the
second biggest commercial holiday. As a pastor, how should I answer those members of
my church family who receive a range of messages from, instructions to avoid the
celebrations at all cost to just enjoy an innocent time of fun for children. Realizing that I
grew up far closer to the scene of the origination of the festival, one that began literally
thousands of years ago, I can see that my perspective may be different than those of
my adopted home here in the USA. So I decided to do a little research to ensure that
when I offered my opinion, I was able to support my feelings with fact.

Two resources proved to be very helpful, the first an excellent article on the website and the second an blogpost from Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the
Family. Both seem to set out balanced and helpful information to help frame the
approach we should have as Christians.

My concluded  that both ends of the spectrum would benefit from some thoughtful
adjustment of their polemic. For those preaching a message of doom and destruction on
to participants, should note the unique evolution of the festival here in the United States
so helpfully set out in the historical article.

“By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-
centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment.
Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague
Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town
leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday
directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the
fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home,
where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the
centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a
relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration”.

To oppose with such vehemence what has become a community festival centered on
small children risks obstructing the Christian message of the value of community.
However it is undeniable that, albeit distant, the historical background of the festival
has clear links with evil and the practice of dark and demonic religion. It is clear that
although many children are dressed in cute and wonderful costumes, some appear as
characters such as witches and other representations of death and destruction. These
unavoidably point back to the dangerous aspects of the holidayʼs history and run the
risk of making an unhealthy connection between evil and fun. The scripture warns us
that the evil one is at his most dangerous when he “masquerades as an angel of
light” ( 2 Cor 11:14). For us to detract from the enormous danger of such things must
be avoided at all costs.

Jim Daly warns us, in addition, of the growing danger of the glorification of violence in
our culture.

Christian or not, it is high time to turn away from the dark, gory and horror-filled side of
the holiday. Itʼs always been time, but the confluence of culture and recent current
events raises this matter to a new level.

There is absolutely nothing entertaining or redeeming about hatchet wielding villains
parading in costume or front-lawn displays featuring blood spattered body parts.

My suggestion therefore that, along with everything we do as Christians, we take the
time to ask ourselves a couple of questions. Would I be happy for Jesus to accompany
us on our trick or treating expedition dressed the way we are ? If Jesus was to visit our
home tonight would I be happy for Him to encounter the decorations in my front yard?
The answer to those questions and others like them will help ensure that we have a
uniquely Christian approach to the holiday and one which will may give us the chance to
share truth with our friends.

Posted November 1, 2012 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

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