Posted tagged ‘sinfulness’

The Innate Sin within Us

December 29, 2018


I find something incredibly refreshing in the stories of gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ. Dr. Rosario Butterfield, David Bennett, Sam Alberry and others have had truly inspirational journeys in their Christian faith. I find unique comfort and encouragement in their stories.

With that said, I’m going to be unusually candid in this piece: I’m a heterosexual male. But that is not the candid part. I have struggled all my Christian life with heterosexual lust. That’s the candid part.

By the time I became a believer and committed myself to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in my very late teens and early twenties, I was very much a product of a society that objectifies sex, obsesses about sex and worships sex.

But, to be honest, I am not just a product of my environment. Attraction to women is innate in me. All of my life, as far back as I can remember, I have been attracted to girls. My first crushes are some of my earliest memories going back to even to preschool and kindergarten.

When I became a Christian, I began to recognize that the extent of the attraction, and the extent to which I fed the attraction, was unhealthy. In fact, it was sinful at the core. Jesus says if we even look at a woman lustfully, we have sinned.

The sin of sexual lust was ingrained deep within me. I can’t wholly blame the environment in which I grew up for the sinful lust that grew within me, though it was provoked and fed by that environment. The root of that sin grew deeply and innately from the core of my being.

I can only imagine a similar experience with same sex attraction. I understand Lady Gaga’s song, Born This Way, though I didn’t always understand it. While my heterosexual attraction is accepted and even celebrated in the world in which I grew up, my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have had to labor under a general societal distaste and disdain for their same sex attraction.

When I first heard the assertion that people are born with same sex attraction, I didn’t believe it. It defied biology. It didn’t make common sense to me. I figured it is a deviation from the way things are supposed to be. It’s nuts and bolts.

I have come to realize that maybe people really are “born that way” – like me having an innate attraction to girls as far back as I can remember. I didn’t choose it. It is the way it is.

The thing is that any unhealthy attraction that is over-indulged and idolized is sin. Any inner urging that invites me to think and act contrary to conscience and what I know and understand to be God’s desire for me, if I indulge it or act on it, is sinful. I fight the struggle every day.

(more…)

Conflating God with People

February 7, 2017

ed-sheeran-concert


I have an old friend who is “disgusted” that many Christians supported Donald Trump and were a significant factor in Trump winning the election. She, like many women (and men), cannot get past the infamous words that Trump spoke how about a woman reporter. I won’t repeat them here. They are too vulgar for polite company.

My friend has been so turned off of Christians and “the” Church by the fact that many Christians voted for Trump and were a factor in electing him, that she no longer goes to church at all after decades of being a church-goer.

I don’t want to get into politics here. That isn’t the issue I’m focused on.

I have family and friends who say that they can’t believe in God, or can’t believe in the Christian God, because Christians are hypocrites. This is what leads me to write this piece.

(more…)

The Importance of How We View God and Ourselves

January 27, 2017
depositphotos Image ID:31614317 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

depositphotos Image ID: 31614317 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

The story of the sinful woman who wipes Jesus’ fee with her tears and anoints them with oil is a tender but rather uncomfortable story. [i] A Pharisee had invited Jesus to eat with him at his house. While reclining at the Pharisee’s table, a woman, a known sinner, came up behind him.

Where did she come from? How did she get into the Pharisee’s house? Was she, perhaps, a daughter of the Pharisee, one of whom he was not very proud? was there something else going on? We don’t know.

When she came up behind Jesus, she was weeping, and she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair, kissed his feet and anointed them with oil. A greater display of open, unabashed affection is hard to imagine. Thinking of the vulnerability and openness of her affection is even uncomfortable.

The Pharisee was taken aback, as we would be, mumbling to himself that surely Jesus must know who this woman is. Her reputation was well known, at least to the Pharisee.

(more…)

How Can God Judge Good People: Examining the Problem In More Detail

February 22, 2016
https://www.flickr.com/photos/daynoir/2180510779/in/photolist-4jFFTr-4jKHMd-jWQJXK-odioQr-ocsW2d-odinbH-ocxZSt-g4hBCg-ocE5s6-9bjxyt-8NZVci-8RHoRH-8P41aG-oeUc8U-8NZVcZ-owufDH-ocAr9z-8kEjNt-odx8YU-chcGb-owxMQc-jWQpsn-oe1m1N-8LFfce-ouzTQs-jWR4Hi-osKV4U-jWSQS5-hrLbx1-6utpwj-apBGdk-owEuZp-em3Gxk-oeQ9Rf-9bjxxF-8Vkhtj-8VhsPF-ovviDV-8RHoSc-ou8Fd6-odpLFj-6hLRVK-QKB3p-nzWLGM-osEBRN-DBdANc-ouGvh8-oegftL-oyffAa-hvLNE6

Dayna Mason on Flickr

In a previous blog post, I explained how God is the standard of goodness, and we all fall short of that standard. We have a false view of goodness when we measure ourselves against other people. When we measure ourselves against God, we do not measure up.

And, this is the problem: if God is perfectly good, and there is no bad in Him, we would corrupt Heaven if we entered there. Even the comparatively little bit of bad in the best person would pollute the perfect goodness of God. Just as the physical characteristics of people are virtually indistinguishable 110 stories atop the John Hancock Building, our relative goodness is indistinguishable from the perspective of the perfect goodness of God.

It is not that God would refuse us because of our imperfection; our own corruption (sin) is the problem. As Ezra pined, “Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.” (Ezra 9:15) Our own sin keeps us from God; our sin separates us from God. The problem is us, not God.

We can not enter Heaven in our present state, the “place” where God dwells, because whatever “bad” we have in us would prevent us from entering. Like an invisible force field, we could not enter in. Our sin would catch us short.

A discussion of goodness and badness, however, really misses the point altogether. As I have said, “goodness” is defined by God, and only God is God. We are not. That may seem elementary, and it is – in the sense that it is essential to understanding our problem. To understand more completely, we have to go back to the beginning. (more…)

Born This Way

January 3, 2015

IMG_6922~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I took the phrase for this article from an interview with Dr. Rosario Butterfield. The context is homosexuality. For years, the gay community has been telling the world that they are born with same sex desire. People refuted that in the beginning. I think it is more or less accepted as factual now. I realize that I may lose some Christian friends at this point, but I hope you stick around.

I realize that what I am about to say might turn away my non-Christian friends, and even some of my Christian friends. I hope you will look past my next statement and keep reading too. The Bible is pretty clear that acts of same gender sex are sin (along with sexual lust, sexual exploitation, sex with multiple partners, sex outside of marriage, adultery, etc.)

It only seems right, now, that I offend everyone. I say that only somewhat tongue in cheek. But here goes – We are all sinners.

Before I lose everyone, think about it: do you not at times of brutal, personal honesty feel as though you are just not quite right? I suppose the brutal honesty comes in the form of thinking that those around you are just not quite right. (That is an easier conclusion to reach for most of us.) Something is just off.

Things are not the way any of us think they ought to be.

Most of us have come to accept that “this” is just the way it is. “This” is normal, and, indeed it is normal! What we know, what we all know, is the normal state of man – this not-quite-rightness.

Depending on how we view the world, we focus on certain aspects of not-quite-rightness. Some focus on homosexuality, the “attack” on the family and abortion. Others focus on threats against the right to bear arms, business and the erosion of capitalism. Others focus on the damage we do to the environment, cruelty to animals and economic disparities. Many focus on the cruelty of war, the barbarism of torture and over-aggression of police forces. Racism, greedy capitalism, domestic abuse, child abuse, adulterous affairs that ruin marriages, child neglect, the over-sexualization of women, oppression of women, human tracking, pornography, dams on our rivers, phosphates in our waters, dark clouds of pollution spewing into the air, dictators oppressing entire nations, drunk drivers, flaws in the legal system that leave people without justice – something is not quite right with the world.

We tend to feel of ourselves that we are better, or at least not as bad, as many, if not most, people. We have primarily good intentions. We do not generally wish people harm. We try not to hurt people, but sometimes we do. Sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, we are unkind, say things we should not say and do things we should not do.

If you stop and really think about it, there are all sorts of things we should do, but don’t. If all the people in the world did things we should be doing, we would eliminate poverty and war and all kinds of troubles. We tend to think that we are not part of the problems in the world, and we probably are not, directly. When we look at the “World”, we tend to compare pretty well. If we look only at ourselves very long, we see there are places that we fall short, even in spite of those feelings of good intentions.

Why is that?

We were born into this not-quite-rightness, and we are part of the not-quite-rightness. We are each not-quite-right ourselves.

Be honest now. Do you do all the things you know you should do? Do you never do things you know you should not do? Even if you do not subscribe to a “Christian” moral code, do you keep your own moral code? Does the world live up to it? If you have read this far, you must admit that the world is not quite right.

I am not quite right, and I have never been quite right. I have never succeeded at being the person I thought I was and thought I should be. I am just being honest.

I know I am not alone in that (though I might have once thought so). I figured out somewhere along the way that others are not quite right as well – whether they see it or admit it. (Think “plank in my eye” analogy here.)

We are “born this way.” I was born with a very strong will, a strong infatuation for girls, a strong competitive instinct and a strong desire for comfort. In my life I have had to face that I am selfish, lustful, jealous, unkind, quick to anger and just plain lazy. I am not being hard on myself; I am just being honest.

I was born that way.

But there is hope! The story of Dr. Rosario Butterfield brings me to tears, because it is my story; and I am grateful.

That same hope took hold of me many years ago, and I just want the world to know that there is glorious, beautiful, life-changing hope in the person of Jesus Christ who was God shedding his position of power and detachment to become one of us. He showed that He cares and that He understands in being willing to suffer and die for us. He showed that there is hope for us in rising again  to conquer sin and death.

God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…. that we might live.

You can find the living reality of that love and the hope He gives in the story and life of Dr. Rosario Butterfield:


Smart Christian.net

Christianity as a Worldview, not just religion.

Malcolm Guite

Blog for poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite

Christ Centered Teaching

Our Lord and God is Christ, Our Message is His Gospel, and Our Context is God's Love.

God Still Speaks

To share the Word of God with all people

Reading Acts

Some Thoughts on the Book of Acts and Pauline Theology

CrapPile

A blog about writing, society, and life itself

Help Me Believe

Strengthen the believer. Answer the critic.

Hotrodhell's Blog

Just basic thoughts on faith and life.com weblog

Running The Race

Hebrews 12:1

%d bloggers like this: