It’s been a while since I have written here. As some readers may know, my husband and I were scheduled to move this month. The weeks leading up to the actual move were extremely stressful; the move itself was even more stressful. It is behind us now, although it seems like the real work is just beginning. Boxes, which are scattered throughout the entire dwelling, need to be unpacked. Before unpacking, though, I feel as though I need to have an idea for the placement of the stuff that was put into said boxes. In the hope of just ridding the house of some of the boxes, I did do some unpacking. I have found, though, that I have had to rearrange items several times, and I am still not happy with the placement of things–especially in the kitchen. My kitchen is one space where I spend a great deal of time; it is important to me to have things placed smartly and conveniently. All this has definitely taken a toll on my already struggling health. It has been frustrating to not be able to accomplish as much as I feel I need/want to each day. One thing I am learning, though, is when dealing with a chronic illness like mine, it is not an option to skip breaks. Even though feelings of guilt stab as I sit and watch a Food Network show or read a book, it is something I need to do to prevent complete emotional and physical breakdown. Even with those breaks, yesterday was one of those days that it seemed everything caught up to me and flooded me with feelings of despair, exhaustion, depression and hopelessness. Some days, I guess, are just destined to be like that as long as I live in this broken and fallen world.
Speaking of a broken and fallen world, I am currently reading a book written about our culture in America and how Christians have and should respond to the events happening around us. I have found this book to be an honest, in-your-face look at the apathy and cherry picking that characterizes Christians today. I plan to review the entire book when I finish it so I am not going to give its title or author at this point, but I will say that this is not the first book by this author that has rocked my world and shaken up the way I perceive the new cultural norms in America. I have only finished the first few chapters of this book but have found myself nodding in agreement with what is printed on the pages. I’m sure there will be some who will be offended by what I write. That actually just proves the point the author is trying to make–many who call themselves Christians do not hold true to the teachings of the Bible. Instead, they pick and choose what they agree and do not agree with and present their own beliefs as that of all Christians. Some even go so far as to insist that if Jesus were walking the earth today, their beliefs are what He would preach to His followers. To those I would have to say, go back and read your Bible…really read it and study exactly what it says about so many of the modern day issues about which “Christians” get on their soapbox.
A sneak peek into what I am saying…
Ask just about anyone about their feelings on the subject of human trafficking. This is usually presented as a group of young girls taken from their families–often with the consent of the parents–and eventually sold to men who will use them as sex slaves for thousands of men. The author actually visited a village where the majority of the girls between the ages of eight and sixteen were gone. Their parents willingly allowed them to leave based on promises from these horrible monsters that they could give them a better life. Most likely the parents do not realize the actual intent of these men and, since they are most likely feeling guilty that they cannot provide a better life for their daughters, they jump at the chance to have one provided by someone else. Most people, Christian or not, would agree that this is a tragic occurrence that happens all too frequently and something should be done to make it stop.
Another example could be in the area of poverty. Again, the author traveled to countries where living conditions were so bad that he became sick just walking through some of them. One man he met had an infection in his eye. With no access to medical care, the infection spread. By the time the author was introduced to him, his eyeball had fallen out of its socket and there was a gaping hole allowing one to peer into the man’s skull. It would be just a matter of time before the infection would spread to the man’s brain eventually taking his life. We in America may be outraged to think that this man, and millions like him, will die simply because no medical care exists for him. In addition to that fact, the majority of people who live in conditions described above also have no access to clean water. We often take for granted the shiny faucets found in nearly every home in America out of which flow clean water. Perhaps we don’t care for the taste of the water straight from the tap so we spend money to install something to filter out a few impurities. Maybe we skip the faucet water altogether and buy plastic bottles filled with pure spring water in order to enjoy the refreshment we crave and the substance our bodies need.
These are just two examples of subjects that many Christians, especially those of the younger generation, rally around and fight to do something about. It is called social justice in many circles and the modern church has taken up its cause with cries of human rights. And, it should. We should care about the young girls (and boys in many cases) sold into slavery and sex trafficking. We should be outraged that there are men, women, and children dying because they have no access to medical care of clean water. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The problem is, the modern-day Christians–especially those of the younger generation– have taken this concept and twisted it to make it say something Jesus never said. Yes, we are to love others–skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc.– should not be the basis for who we love or do not love.
Jesus also spoke the truth according to what God had ordained as right and wrong. No one could go to their Bible and find a place that Jesus instructed us to lie or steal or kill. Those things are wrong. Again, regardless of religious beliefs, most people know that it is wrong to kill someone because they have something you want. Most people know it is wrong to go into a store and take something without paying for it. God designed us in His image; therefore, we instinctively know right from wrong. The problem, though, is religion has tainted some areas of right and wrong. Even though in the very beginning of the Bible God, in creation, designed and defined male and female and pronounced them to be good, many today have taken up the cause of re-defining those roles. “Who are you to say that even though I was born a female that really I’m a male and I have the right to become that if I desire?” is something that can be heard often in today’s society–even within “Christian” circles. Or, “Who are you to say that if a man finds that he is attracted to other men that they shouldn’t be allowed to marry?” “Who are you to say that if a woman wants to take the life of the baby growing in her womb that it is a sin?” I am nobody to say those things. I don’t have to take the credit (or blame depending on how you look at it) for those statements. God defined all those things, and everything else, when HE created the world. HE defined man. HE defined woman. HE defined murder. HE defined life. The problem is, too many people, saying they represent Jesus, are stating things that go directly against what Jesus taught! Jesus never taught that murder is right; He never taught that men should marry men or women marry women. He DID teach that we are to love those people. Love, though, doesn’t mean condoning behavior. Let me say that again:
LOVE DOESN’T MEAN CONDONING BEHAVIOR.
If my child buys a gun, goes to a gas station, steals the money from the cash register and shoots the man behind the counter, I don’t applaud his actions. I also don’t stop loving him or her. My heart would be broken; I would be appalled at their actions, but my love for them would still be there.
Let’s stop picking and choosing the things we stand up for as Christians. If you are a true believer and follower of Jesus, then you do not have the authority to say that sex trafficking is wrong but gay marriage is okay. You do not have the authority to say that the murder of a man because he is black is wrong but taking the life of an unborn baby is okay. It doesn’t work that way. Either you are all in, or you are not in at all. Jesus himself warned that “On that day, many will say to me, “Lord, Lord…” and I will say ‘Get away from me for I never knew you.”
How tragic to spend your life championing the cause of one injustice while supporting the cause of another and find when you get to Heaven that you hear the words, “Get away from me for I never knew you.”