Archives For evil

In speaking to hypocritical religious leaders who were accusing Jesus of doing his miracles by the power of Satan, Jesus says:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37 (emphasis added)

A person can’t be divided from what they say and what they do.  In Jesus’s case, his actions were good, and they were coming from a good heart.  He was consistent.  The religious leaders on the other hand were branded a “brood of vipers” due to their ability to say “good things” while being evil people.  With the opposite also being true, saying evil things, while claiming to be good.

This is a very relevant message for today.  No one wants to be called “evil,” but does that mean evil people don’t exist?  When a person says evil things (over and over again), what is the logical conclusion?  Continue Reading…

orlando

Police investigate the back of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12. At least 49 people were killed there by Omar Mateen, who was shot and killed by Orlando police. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Photo credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack | AP

49 people were gunned down and killed in an Orlando gay bar early Sunday morning, with another 53 wounded.  You can read more about the gut-wrenching story here (CNN).  The Orlando Sentinel is compiling a page where you can read a short tribute about each of the victims.

There are lots of heavy elements to this story:  the shooter’s ISIS allegiance, a hate crime against the LGBT community, guns, an act of domestic terrorism, the pain the LGBT community is feeling, the pain the Latino community is feeling, and even the confusion some Evangelical Christians might feel about their (our) view that acts of homosexuality are sinful.

Well one of those heavy elements can be cleared up here and now:  there need be no confusion whatsoever about how Evangelical Christians are to react to the Orlando massacre.  Our reaction is to be an outpouring of love, mourning, prayer and solidarity.  Period.  Can we get over the fact that people are sinful and remember that people are people?  Every person on the planet is sinful, yours truly leading the charge.  The people in that nightclub were no more or less sinful than me or you.  While most don’t want to hear it, the same goes for the shooter.  Sin is sin and we all desperately need Jesus and thank God our (my) sexual sins don’t define us (me).  Sin doesn’t negate the fact that we are all image bearers of our Creator (Genesis 1:27).  We are all people who hold incredible dignity and value.  Every person in that nightclub who was gunned down was an image bearer of God and God mourns with those who mourn.  We are to do the same, Romans 12:14-18 makes this clear as day:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

My emotions went from gut-wrenched to infuriated when I saw what was trending on Facebook Sunday afternoon: Westboro Baptist Church says “God Sent the Shooter,” celebrates the Orlando shooting.

For those unfamiliar with Westboro Baptist, they are a “church” made up of a handful of people in Topeka, Kansas, almost all of whom are related to one another.  They are most known for picketing at funerals and their “God Hates Fags” signs that they hold up seemingly everywhere.  If you follow their activities, their message is pretty much that “God Hates Everyone and Everything.”  Somehow this small family of rag tag hateful lunatics get more press coverage than the New York Yankees, and often as representatives of Christianity!  I really don’t want to write much more about them.

The only group of people it is difficult for me to apply Romans 12:14-18 to is Westboro and their ilk.  Not the LGBT community; not ISIS; Westboro.  They take my Jesus and prostitute him for their gain.  They lie about my Jesus.  They paint my Jesus as a fraud, and people then associate my Jesus with the fraud they’ve painted.

Pray for my heart that I will love Westboro and not repay their evil with evil of my own.

Let’s all come together and bless and not curse, mourn with those who mourn, live in harmony with one another, not be proud or conceited, not repay anyone evil for evil and as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone.

I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

13435519_535546629092_2952130055917864825_n

 

We’ve been doing church in a bar, buying a free drink for first timers.  Here’s an unsolicited blog comment I received this week following our 2nd time doing The Upper Room.  Check out ChurchAtTheLoft.com if you’d like to come join us on a Tuesday night.  This post was written by an agnostic who came to The Upper Room with her husband who is a druid.  She was replying to this post about flak I’ve received from Christians from doing church in a bar:   Continue Reading…

A non-Christian friend of mine was recently struggling with the amount of evil he saw in the world.  He doesn’t believe in

Michael E Wittmer

God, but he seemed to see evil everywhere and admitted to believing Satan was behind it.  I asked him to consider the implications of believing in Satan, but not in a God who can save us from him.

Another friend is into witchcraft and sorcery, where you can see some pretty freaky things.  I told him (taken from the
Screwtape Letters
by C.S. Lewis) that Satan often tips his hand.  Satan doesn’t want us to know about him personally because if there’s personal force behind evil, there’s bound to be a personal force behind good (or at least there had better be!).

If you believe in evil, but not in good–in Satan, but not in God–you are in an unenviable spot!  I’m currently reading the book Despite Doubt by Michael E. Wittmer and he hits a home run on this subject.  This is taken from pages 57-59 of Despite Doubt; a book I highly highly highly recommend you read: (underlining mine)

Continue Reading…

A friend’s grandmother just died.

Another friend just lost custody of their child.

Another lost their job.

Another’s son won’t speak to them, and they’ve yet to meet their grandchildren as a result.

The brokenness of our world is heavy.  This list could go on and on, these are simply some of the most recent conversations I’ve had.  How many prayers do we pray that go unanswered? Continue Reading…