Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's Not a Question of Niceness

We're just wondering  how we can manage to hold to the rod and at the same time be an active part of this wicked world. It seems we receive mixed messages. Don't sit on the fence, stand firm for truth and righteousness, we're told. And simultaneously we're told to respect all opinions. It's confusing.

We are told to choose sides and then admonished to be respectful, even gracious, to those with contrary views or lifestyles. Respect is about honoring and esteeming someone or something. Well, anyone can see that many opinions aren't worthy of respect. Some are downright evil. Graciousness is a form of acceptance and embrace. We can't embrace evil. We're told to oppose it. How are we supposed to draw a line in the sand and then step right on over it?  It's like having one's cake and eating it. How is this possible?

It isn't, not if you're intellectually honest. What we have here are two ancient and opposing world views. In essence, one is Satan's and one is God's. The two worldviews cannot peacefully coexist in any permanent way, hence the war in heaven. Here and now, one worldview will be preferred by the people and the other will be harmed. In other words, one will dominate the other. In America God's way has dominated culturally and societally until relatively recently. Yes, even until one generation ago traditional values were strongly encouraged and sexual immorality strongly discouraged. Now we see unmistakeable evidence of a great shift, from God's ways to Satan's. There are lots of examples of this occurring, but let's take homosexuality.

The modern homosexualist who, because he is operating against God and is always motivated by self-interest, is saying some or all of the following: We've decided that this isn't sinful, it's actually who they are, they can't change, and everybody has to respect their self-determined identity, lusts and acts. We must even allow homosexuality to be modeled and taught to children in schools and churches. It must be protected in our laws. And those who dissent ought to be shamed and marginalized and punished.  More and more, homosexualists are getting their way. We see that it is sexual immorality that is now being preferred.  

When there are two opposing views on crucial issues such as sexual immorality, it's not a question of niceness. How we treat each other has nothing to do with the real problem. Mere kindness will never knit Satan and God together. Those ancient worldviews stand in total opposition to each other. The question is not about common courtesy or politeness, but which side will be preferred, encouraged, celebrated, and which side will be intimidated, discouraged, silenced, in our country, in our schools, in our churches, in our homes. Of course we know that if you give Satan an inch he'll take a mile. He doesn't stop, ever. He is about thumbing his nose at God and will win over many of God's children, just out of revenge, even though in the end he'll be beaten. So much for graciousness.

If we've decided to embrace homosexuality and/or other wickedness in any form, it's Satan's side we've chosen. As a result God's side will get squelched, bit by bit, more and more, until a formerly God-fearing people don't have have any interest in God at all.

Of course this doesn't have to happen to us as individuals. There are many ways to take God's side. In this world today when evil is preferred and good is harmed, any of those ways may take unimagined sacrifices. We'll be labeled unkind, no matter how ultimately loving we really are. We'll be perceived as lukewarm--to kooks--to apostate, and everything in between. We'll have to endure persecution. We'll lose a great deal. But of course it can be done. It just depends on the level of our courage and faith in the Lord.

There is a time for everything. Sometimes we speak up, sometimes we remain silent, sometimes we act, sometimes we exercise restraint. But one thing is for certain. This life is not just a sociological test to see how gracious we can be to people we disagree with. It's a test with some important absolutely wrong and absolutely right answers. Flannery O'Connor said, " . . .you have to cherish the world at the same time you struggle to endure it." Enduring implies something unpleasant or difficult or painful. In the case of being on the losing side, that is, standing against sin in a world that chooses not to recognize sin any longer, that calls evil good and good evil, it means sacrifice, persecution, loss, sorrow, courage, and faith. And that's a far cry from simply being nice. 

No comments: