Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On Loving Sin

In the Christian world, we are taught to hate sin because God hates sin. Our faith demands that we turn away from it and toward Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. But how does all that work from a spiritual standpoint?

I know that there are sins that I hate. I do not practice them and I abhor them in others, but what about those other sins; the ones I commit fairly often? Do I really hate them as I am supposed to? Do I really regret the things in my life that I have done that were contrary to God's will? Am I truly sorry?

My thought is that, far from hating sin, we all love it, even those of us that try to live by faith. There are things I have done in my life that were sinful, but they were also enjoyable. Nothing negative happened to me because I did them. I never received consequences. In the end they were harmless to me and in some respects, even good experience for life in the real world.

So how do we counterbalance our love of sin with what we believers see in the Bible? What has to happen to overpower our love of things that are contrary to God's will?

Some will say that we just have to 'man up' and stop doing whatever it is. God will give us the power to overcome our desires. We simply have to resist our desires and the will of the evil one; be strong. Stand firm.

Let me suggest that this will not work. You will not be able to overcome your own sin habits with will power, spirit power or intense prayer and self deprivation. Let me further suggest that these things may actually make everything worse because eventually you will fail at whatever it is you are trying so hard to prevent, you will fall into despair and depression and you may even lose your faith for a time.

Instead, let me ask you this. How much do you love Jesus?

What I find is that I am able to avoid sin because I love Him. If we can get to the point where we love Him more than we love our own desires, it becomes easier to say no. Sometimes it does not even come to mind because His love is so satisfying.

Even so, sin is like that old boyfriend that comes around once in awhile. There is still some love there. You remember the fun, but not what a jerk he could be and it goes on from there.

In those times, remember how much better loving Jesus is. If you still fail, then go to Him. He is faithful to forgive. He knows you better than you know yourself.

It all just becomes easier when you finally love Jesus more than yourself.


I have been silent about this, waiting for more facts to emerge in regard to the shooter and I find myself puzzled by many things.

Initially we heard and read that Omar Mateen was an Islamic extremist and terrorist for ISIS that he had been investigated by the FBI in the past. As more facts came out, we learned that he had been going to this particular bar (Pulse) for quite awhile. An ex-wife has said he was gay. His current wife said he had homosexual tendencies. Some of the regular bar patrons said Omar had been patronizing Pulse for a long time, maybe as much as 3 years, that he would drink to excess and that he could be found on gay dating and hook up apps. And this is what confuses at first, but really explains it all in the end.

What kind of Muslim does these things? A bad Muslim. This guy was gay and he liked to drink. He kept a wife and family as a "beard" and trolled for boyfriends by night. His entire life was a contradiction to what he was supposed to be by faith.

It is a testimony to what an extreme religion can do to a man living in the closet that is unable to process who he is with what his faith demands.

I find myself wondering if this man was ever introduced to Christ, if he would have done any of these things. Christianity has been described by some as extreme. Christ followers have been called haters. I ask you, has a Christian of any stripe ever done anything like this in our society?

There has been much vitriol in the gay community and the Church over the morality of alternative sexualities, but there has not been any bloodshed like this. I hope and pray that it never happens. We need dialogue and we need to understand that if people reject Jesus, it is their choice. Ultimately God will judge us all. It is not for anyone to take justice into their own hands and punish. As God says, "vengeance is Mine. I shall repay". I know some of us just want to be about our Father's business. We need to remember, it's His business and not ours.

What Omar did was the result of a very confused mind. The contradictions between his faith and his desire were more than he could handle and apparently the ISIS leadership took advantage of this and offered him a one way ticket to paradise if he would do this thing.

Jesus could have given Omar that and a way to balance the apparent contradictions between who he was and what faith in the One True God demands. The way of love, grace and peace could have made Omar a true child of God. No suicide mission with death and mayhem of the many would have been required.

The whole thing is an unfortunate mess and I do not try to diminish the enormity of his crimes by saying he was confused, but all he really needed was Jesus. It would have fixed everything.

Gun control would not have stopped this.
Banning homosexual behavior would not have stopped this.
Banning Islam would not have stopped this.

Submitting to Jesus would have changed everything for Omar and saved all the lives lost at Pulse.

Islamic immigrants and LGBT people need the opportunity to hear about Jesus free of judgement, in the way of love and grace.

Is anyone really doing this? Please tell me. I want to know.