Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Virginia Murders: A Perspective

If you saw or read yesterday's reports about the cold-blooded killing of two Virginia television reporters (the reporter and her cameraman), you may have been stunned, sickened, and likely angry. There is quite a bit about it that still sickens me. I think it is sick that the media concentrated their reporting time on this, largely ignoring the rest of the nation and world. How many of you were aware that yet another Louisiana patrolman was murdered yesterday? A largely unreported story about Boko Haram crossed some news wires 3 days ago; how many of you heard about that one? What's my point? My point is that when it was a journalist who died, it was suddenly "breaking news."

Here's a news flash: all lives matter! The nearly 60 million aborted lives matter. The black on black, white on white--whatever the racial background or combination thereof--murders should alarm us. But it seems to me that they don't matter until the media tell us they matter. It's almost as though they get to do the thinking for us.

The fact that too many want to escalate this issue and create unrest through it also matters. Prejudice is a multi-lane highway, folks. It runs several different ways. And it is repugnant in its many forms.

At the same time, under-reporting and misreporting the facts behind the heinous crime that took place matters. Did political correctness drive some of the declarations and stories? Without a doubt! After all, the media get to do our thinking for us...; and the agenda of many of them is not kind to conservatives. So when I linked a story from a largely conservative site that revealed the background story of the murderer, I took a little heat from it. Oh, well; that's the price for thinking for myself, I guess.

Now that I have ranted about the junk surrounding this despicable act of violence, one that broke my heart to hear and see on video reports, let me get to the bottom line. The bottom line is this: we witnessed the tragedy of a life darkened by sin. The sun set on this man's thinking. He was given over to a mind filled with all kinds of horrid and unspeakable thoughts. When a nation forgets God, this is what happens. Unless we Christ-followers repent and unless God Almighty sends revival to the church, I fear we will see even more of the same. After all, we are the salt and light of the world. Unsavory salt is worthless. Stained and dirty lamp shades don't let out much light. And the nation won't seek God until the church leads the way.

That's my perspective, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lessons from Ashley

There are a lot of newsworthy stories out there, so much so that writing about something like this seems to be very unnecessary and insignificant. In some ways, that would be true. I want to help us focus, however, on the truth that we can learn from the dreadful (to many) Ashley Madison Scandal. If you live in a vacuum, or are just coming back from a coma, or maybe lived in the jungles of a remote part of the world, follow the link above; they will summarize what happened for you.

Millions of men and women are cowering in a corner right now. They tremble with fear that they will be found out by their significant other. Or maybe they are single and looking for a man or woman out for a "cheat" thrill; but now they tremble as well.

Who is on the list? In short, people from virtually every walk of life. I can't find it now, but one Imam (a Muslim leader) insisted he never put his name out there. I'm not saying he did; I am only demonstrating they are from every walk of life.

What can we learn from this, as we read and hear about this person and that person being outed? What can we learn when place by place, country, state, and city, names are splashed all over the internet for others to see? One place will tell you not to look at the list; let it be. Another tells you to go ahead and take a look; you may find that special loved one's fidelity is in words only. What to do with all that conflicting counsel?

Here is the lesson I draw from Ashley:

As men and women, married and single cringe in fear that their secret is out of the bag, their greater fear is yet to come--unless they repent and believe the gospel. Rev. 20:11, 12 reveal a day when all the earth will try to hide from the Lord God, who will judge all men.  Verse 15 in the same book promises that those whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire; eternally separated from God. Eternally punished for their sins, both public and secret.

Second, I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-5. Instead of a direct quote, let me paraphrase it for you. There were millions whose identities were divulged from a website designed for adulterers, and whose lives were ruined by their foolish choice. Do you think you are more righteous than they? I tell you, no; unless you also repent you will perish, too. 

Finally, I am reminded that forgiveness is available to all who will turn to Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that Jesus paid for my sin; not just mine, but the sins of the whole world. Anyone who will come to Jesus will find him ready to pardon and cleanse from the pollution, stench, and stain of sin. I suspect a lot of men and women are scrambling to find a good lawyer. Let me recommend the best lawyer of all. His name is Jesus. Come to him and let him plead your case before the Father in heaven.

And that is what I can take away from Ashley Madison.