Sadly, in Britain, it feels like we’re creating “no-go” areas where we’re no longer free to express moral disapproval – in sexual choices, or even religious matters. When Jesus says, “Judge not”, he’s not telling us to stop every kind of criticism, but to do it without a flame-thrower. Why? because, morally speaking, we’re all in the same boat.
I reckon the best-known verse in the Bible today is “Judge not”. It’s a nifty, two-word response to almost any moral criticism. Are you meant to be on a diet and your friend sees you tucking in to a big bag of crisps? “Judge not”, you say. The church minister preaches a sermon from the Bible about a common sin in society; at the door, on the way out, an upset listener collars him: “doesn’t the Bible say, ‘Judge not’? A politician is explaining the damage that extra marital affairs do to society: “Judge not” the newspaper columnists say. These two words serve as a convenient moral force-field, which shield us from anybody’s disapproval.
It is, of course, a rather silly mis-use of the verse. Try putting it on the lips of a war criminal. “You’ve just killed innocent Syrian civilians” says the judge. “Judge not!”, says the army officer!
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By Helen Louise Herndon — 7 months ago
Omitting verifiable facts from American history silently, but powerfully abets, contributes to, and supports calls for reparations. For that reason, and given the breadth of reparation proposals, they become nothing more than entitlements based on skin color alone.
Reparations to descendants of slaves is a complex issue and one burdened with pros and cons. Indeed, since slavery ended in 1865, many more cons than pros exist on the reparations ledger. Moreover, a Pew Research Center report finds that three-quarters or more of white adults oppose reparations, as do a majority of Latinos and Asian Americans. Nine Black leaders also oppose reparation payments. Nevertheless, approximately a dozen cities and several states have initiated reparation programs renewing hopes for a national policy of reparations for slavery.
The most irrational reparations plan (so far) is California’s. The California reparations panel just approved a payment of up to $1.2 million per black resident—without requiring proof showing slave ancestors. This is irrationality to the point of madness. California joined the union as a free state in 1850. California’s blacks were not slaves, and Asians, Jews, and Hispanics also experienced fierce discrimination.
California’s not the only “free” state supporting reparations. Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Rabb proposed statewide reparations involving multiple compensation tiers, with the greatest awards going to residents who can prove they descended from generations of black Pennsylvanians. The plan seemingly does not distinguish between actual slave descendants and descendants of free blacks or black slaveowners.
That last point—another con for reparations—reminds us that not all blacks were slaves. Basically, when the subject of reparations arises, it views the issue solely (and falsely) through a racial prism; i.e., blacks were slaves, and only whites were slave owners.
In fact, blacks practiced slave ownership, trading, and bounty hunting for escaped slaves. Thousands of blacks owned slaves, with some becoming very wealthy. Five Native American tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole) also owned black slaves. These facts are verified and addressed by several black historians and scholars, e.g., John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Larry Koger, Glenn Loury, and Carter G. Woodson.
By Brian Taylor — 1 year ago
Wisdom does declare to us certain important truth regarding marital intimacy. It declares to us that we must rejoice in our spouse alone, watch over our lives and remember our God. Yet, should you have failed to hearken to the voice of wisdom, hear now the good news of Christ’s redemption. Perhaps, you have fallen to the forbidden life. Perhaps as a believer you have allowed sexual perversion a foothold in some way. Perhaps, you are not a believer and are engulfed in sexual perversion. The good news of the gospel is that in Christ Jesus there is remedy for your sins, even sexual sins.
It was the winter of 1986 when I first laid eyes on my future wife. Now, when I first spotted this radiant beauty, great confusion followed. For it was like I was seeing double, because I was seeing double. My wife is an identical twin. A little counsel for any young fella considering dating a twin: make sure you know which twin you want to go out with before asking one of them out. Otherwise, you might end up asking both of them out, as I did. Trust me, your beautiful bride will never let you forget the “mistake” of going out with her twin sister, as long as you both shall live. Well, all that took place in 1987, the same year that lovely girl became my bride, the wife of my youth. Thirty-five years later, I can affirm that a man finds a good thing when he finds a wife and has obtained favor from the Lord. I can likewise affirm the wisdom of Proverbs 5:18-19:
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
Wisdom here instructs men to delight in the wife of their youth. Lest we misunderstand the meaning, the author is not speaking generically about the joys of marriage, but specifically about the delight one finds in marital intimacy. As one honors the marital bed (Heb. 13:4), one discovers the joy and delight of sacred union. So wisdom says to us to delight in the wife of our youth, and in her alone. So the ladies will not feel left out, wisdom declares the same message to you as well. Delight in that man of yours all the days of your life, and in him alone.
Indeed, we must keep utilizing that word “alone,” for vv. 18-19 are set in a broader context, which warns against adultery. The author in vv. 1-14 and 20-23 warns men about the “forbidden woman.” That is the woman willing to engage in an adulterous relationship, a seductress who desires to use her sexuality, not as a gift to delight a husband, but as a tool to trap a victim. The author acknowledges the allurement of her seduction, but also warns against such an illicit relationship:
“Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray” (Proverbs 5:20–23).
By admin — 2 years ago
We can face the disappointments of life with hope because we know that one day sin, sorrow, and disappointment will be no more. We can repent over our sin and feel freedom because we know Christ became sin for us. We can live without shame because we know God will never leave us or forsake us.
I don’t know about you, but my life hasn’t always turned out like I anticipated. I didn’t experience the bliss of motherhood that the baby shampoo commercials promised. My dream job wasn’t such a dream after all. The house that was supposed to be better than the last turned out to be just as imperfect and broken. And no matter how many how-to books I’ve read, I still struggle in relationships, in my role as a wife and mother, and in organizing my life.
The truth is, life is filled with failed expectations. We pursue dreams only to find that they weren’t what we thought they’d be. Relationships let us down. Our bodies let us down. We let ourselves down. That’s because life is not as it should be. We live in a broken and fallen world where life is disappointing. It often doesn’t “work” or go as planned. We sin and are sinned against.
When life is disappointing, I often ask myself, how should I respond? Do I make lemonade from my challenges and view life from Pollyanna-rimmed glasses, denying the harsh realities of life? Or do I fully taste the sourness of this fallen world and just accept it like it is? Do I demand life work my way, or do I lock myself in my house, fearful of the next disappointment and failure?
Or is there perhaps another way to view life altogether?
In many ways, our lives as Christians are like walking on a slackline.
Have you ever watched a tightrope walker? We once went on a vacation to the mountains of Northern California. While hiking in Yosemite, we came across a group of brave hikers. They hung a slackline across a deep crevasse and walked across it. One misstep and the hiker would fall thousands of feet to the ground below. I couldn’t even watch because just the thought of what they were doing made me nauseous.
Like someone walking across a rope, we live out a holy tension. We are called to live in the world without being of the world. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we are dead to the power of sin, yet not completely free from its presence. We are called to be both dependent on Christ (John 15:5) and to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
In fact, as long as we live on this earth and until Christ returns, we live in what theologians call the “already/not yet.” We are in an in-between time where life is not one-dimensional. It’s not as simple as making lemonade from the bitter experiences of life. Rather, life is an intertwined experience of joy and pain, tears and laughter, beauty and bitterness.