Tonight I am broken and hurting. Earlier, while scrolling through my Facebook feed I came upon a status talking about a refugee that drowned along with his Mother and Brother while trying to escape Syria. Their Father is the only one that survived. When I clicked on the link to the article I saw a picture of this drowned toddler laying face down, on the shore, in little boy clothes. He looked like Adam (my son) and I literally thought I was going to throw up. Do yourself a favor and don’t look at that picture. But also, do yourself a favor and don’t ignore the reality of this tragedy and don’t ignore the other dark realities of our time. When we come face to face with tragedy, injustice and perversion it demands a response. Our response often determines if we will become a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Here are the three most conman responses I have personally seen:
1. We ignore it and try to distract ourselves from the seriousness, basically sticking our heads in the sand.
2. We think we are above it all. “I could never be capable of such evil.”
3. We look at it through Gospel lenses.
We tend to make light of sin. “A white lie never hurt anyone.” But this attitude and belief–it is a lie unto itself! A most dangerous lie. Sin promises a reprieve, to fulfill or to lend happiness, but the pleasure therein is temporary and ultimately enslaving. It never fulfills and only whets the appetite for more of something destructive that can never truly deliver.Do you think that most child molesters thought that they would ever do such a thing the first time they viewed a naked woman on a screen? Most would tell you that they believed themselves to be incapable of such perversion. Many a repeat offender has grieved and felt remorse only to go down that same path again because they initially gave sin that foothold and are looking to their own power to stop. Without Christ, we are powerless to overcome…but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Reality is, sin is no small matter. We are sticking our head in the sand to believe that sin will not take ten thousand times over what we give. Apart from a repentant heart and intervention from God, sin will only always lead souls down a path away from their Maker and thus straight into the pits of darkness and death. If we trivialize it than we are much more likely to end up on the headlines ourselves someday.We were made for more than anything this temporary life has to offer. We must look towards eternity and ultimately to Jesus–the only one that can truly satisfy. He is our hope and only he can truly deliver.
“Jesus said to her,“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:13-14
Thinking We Are Above It All
It is easy for us to feel shocked and judgmental upon hearing the news of Josh Dugger and other Christians struggling with sexual sin. Maybe you feel you do not have any areas of sin in your life. Maybe you feel that you could never stoop so low. But scripture is clear: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12) And again, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)” Jesus referred to the Pharisees as “Whitewashed” tombs. (Matthew 23:27)” They looked great on the outside, but inside, the unmistakable stench of death loomed. Don’t look at your own morality and behavior assuming all is well within your soul. We can do things perfectly by the book, all the while our hearts can be black as mold. We can modify our behavior all day long, living spotless lives but if we are doing this in our own power, the Bible says that these “good works” are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). It is only by the redeeming work of Christ that we stand and it is only by his work that we can continue to grow and walk down his narrow path that leads us unto light and life.
Beating your child, making an Ashley Madison account, or murdering your spouse are things that we would like to think we would never do, but they are all things we are capable of. Most of us would not get there in a day, but sin, allowed to fester and grow will eventually pervert our mind and actions. Do yourself a favor and when you look at the people behind these tragedies and transgressions, know that without the grace of God and saving mercies of Jesus Christ, that they could be you, that they could be me! Repent of your sin as soon as it occurs! And don’t further give sin a foothold by having a lofty view of yourself. Without Christ we are nothing. The only righteousness we can boast in and claim, is the righteousness given to us by Jesus himself. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)” Which brings me to the third response…
Looking Through Gospel Lenses
Instead of ignoring these atrocities, downplaying them, or using them to have more confidence in our own flimsy morality, we would take heed to see them for what they are–the result of sin. We can let them drive us to be a part of the problem or we can let them drive us to the foot of the cross, recognizing that we are nothing without Him. Coming face to face with the darker realities of this world is an opportunity to recognize the true nature of mankind and the true nature of ourselves apart from God. It is a reminder to take our sin seriously, doing inventory to see if there are any areas wherin we need to repent. We can let it drive us to his throne, to his word, and to a time of prayer. May we never look at the sins of others and find reassurance in our own goodness but instead recognize that we are frail and wholly dependent on the person and saving grace of our Lord Jesus. Both for Salvation and for daily living.