What! Pluck Out Your Eye?

big eyes, tarsier

Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

Did Jesus really mean for us to gouge out our eye? Marco Polo writes of one who did just that. The man was a shoemaker and struggled with thoughts of lust after seeing a young woman’s ankle (he goes on to tell a story of the man praying for a mountain to move, but that’s a story for another time). I’ve read of another man who plucked out his eye, only to be dismayed that he could still lust.

Jesus is making the point that your eternal salvation is extremely valuable. He is telling us to do whatever it takes to secure your future. Jesus is radical sometimes and if we need to get radical to follow him, so bit it. Sometimes we need to get radical to fight our sin. This often is the case with porn. If we need to download a program to block it such as Content Protect, then we do it. If we need to set up an accountability partner to check our web browsing, like X3 by XXXchurch, then we do it. If we need to rid ourselves of the internet and smartphone completely, then we do it. They are not worth our soul.

God has brought me victory through other avenues. I’ve mentioned them in my advise to ones caught in Ashley Madison. I’ll be posting more about them soon. But I urge you, now, Get desperate to rid yourself of lust or anything else coming between you and your God. Pray for his direction. Pray to experience him through the temptations. And commit to do whatever he tells you to do.

How Should We React To Ashley Madison?

Ashley

How Should We React To Ashley Madison?

August 29, 2015 I just read “My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List”, Ed Stetzers most recent response in Christianity Today to news that has the Christian world reeling. According to the article, likely hundreds of Pastors and Ministers will be resigning this week after being outed on the list of customers for a spousal cheating website. Ed does not mention other church leaders or members but the numbers are likely to be staggering. I suspect very large numbers of churches will be reeling from the scandal tomorrow. I would like to address the church first and then the ones involved. These posts will be longer than most, so I pray you will hang with me.

First of all, church, realize this is not just a failure of a bunch of individuals. It is a failure of us all. Have we really done everything we can to “see to it that no one is sexually immoral” (Heb. 12:15-16)? The wording here is in the strongest form of command, to all of the readers, It is the duty of every Christian. Admit we have failed our brothers and sisters caught here in sin.

Secondly, realize we are all guilty. Maybe not of adultery, but of gossip, lust, wrath, lying, complaint, pride or one (likely more) of a host of other sins. Remember Jesus’ words “Let the one without sin throw the first stone.” But also remember his last words to the adulterer after telling her he did not condemn her, “Go and sin no more”. It is our responsibility to help them to find victory over their sin. Take note of Gal. 6:1,2, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill tthe law of Christ.” Restoration is bringing them to a good state before God and the local body of Christ and it is our burden.

Next, build in some accountability for them. I met with an elder weekly after my affair and greatly appreciated his help and encouragement. If pornography is involved (highly likely) offer to have someone knowledgeable enough go through their computer and printed material with them and get rid of it. Suggest they Install covenant eyes or similar program on their computer and make their spouse and someone spiritual as accountability partners. Also work out the circumstances they are allowed back in the pulpit. But with how you go about these, keep in mind this: “Will I really want to pray the Lord’s prayer with it’s “forgive me as I forgive others” after this?

Lastly, realize, undoubtedly the enemy of our souls has been at work here. The world will point and say “See, I knew those Christians were a bunch of hypocrites.” But they may take notice if our response is filled with love, understanding and real help. Use the last component of the armor of God in Ephesians 6, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” This must be one of the greater times for this need. Kent

Man Of Steel, part 2

image

Before going to see Man Of Steel, I saw the trailer which begins with a scene from Krypton. Superman’s Mother, Lana says “He will be an outcast, they will kill him.” His father, Jor el (played by Russell Crowe) says “How? To them, he will be a god!”

Upon seeing this trailer I was offended. I was under the impression that the originators of the superman comic had patterned him after Jesus Christ. This impression came from some unknown source in the past and was reinforced by picking up and taking a cursory look at The Gospel According to the World’s Greatest Superhero By Stephen Skelton. Preparing for this blog , I looked a little closer. Skelton points out that the first originators of the comic book were Jewish. But he also found there are many contributors to the Superman story and discovered “that some of the storytellers in the Superman canon have deliberately worked to infuse the narrative with their religious, even Christic, intentions”. You can read more excerpts from the book here: https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/inspirationalteaching/superman_messianic.aspx

In spite of the offending line, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It displays copious amounts of courage, self-sacrifice, tenacity and deep care for others. It easily passed my analyzing whether some thing is worthwhile of my attention (more about this next time), Kent

Man of Steel

image

I decided to let you take a break from introducing myself from my book and look at something current.

Like many boys from my generation, I was enthralled with comic books. Visits to the barber shop were much more tolerable upon finding a table laden with comics there. I even spent some of my hard earned allowance on my own comics. I appreciated visits to my cousin, Kenny, who owned hundreds. Favorites were Superman, Spiderman, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four. These had a profound effect on me, instilling a desire to be more than who I felt I was, to be the hero myself. There also was an important lesson that one person can make a difference. They encouraged me to enjoy reading and added to my vocabulary. Doubt I would have ever learned such words as nemesis, impervious, and invulnerable without them.

Superman seemed to be the most virtuous comic book character. He always did right, never shirked his duty and put others before himself.  I, for one, am glad he is back in the limelight. How about you? Who were your favorites?