How does Jesus forgive? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I don’t really read devotional material a lot. Most if is rather shallow to me and doesn’t really move me in any way. The exception in the past has been G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis devotionals. Right now, every day I read the Daily Stoic and I’m going through the Old Testament Apocrypha. A few days ago, I was going through the Stoic, whose author has not admitted any religious faith of any kind, and the author talked about Jesus on the cross and how whatever your religious persuasion is, the words of Jesus offering forgiveness to His tormentors is stunning and gives a chill.
Which leaves me again wondering, “Why doesn’t it?” I suspect it is because, as I have said before, we have grown up so much with Jesus in the culture that we aren’t really surprised by Him. We don’t consider His life anymore.
Now I know there are some skeptics reading this who will say, “You need to make a historical case that that is what was said.” There is a place for that, but I honestly want to just focus on the story today. What we all can agree on is that the story exists. This is something Tom Gilson hits on in his book Too Good To Be False. Whatever we think about the story, we can all agree that it exists. (And if it doesn’t, what are we talking about?)
What we are looking at is the unique character of forgiveness done on the cross. What does this tell us about Jesus? Like Gilson, I contend this is the kind of figure that we just can’t create wholesale. Today, it might be more doable, but that’s because we actually have a Jesus to use as a basis.
Today, we can easily talk about the way that someone is treating us and denouncing it and say that we are being crucified by them. We realize we are using hyperbole, but that is what we do. While I normally have problems with the word “literally” in the case of Jesus, He “literally” was being crucified.
This isn’t anything mild. This is being nailed to a cross with the intent being to not only kill, but also shame. Jesus could very well have been completely naked up there being exposed to everyone who walked by. This was done in public for everyone around to see. Jesus was an object lesson. Not only that, his accusers were convinced they were doing a righteous act, but it was also being done largely out of envy, from the people that were supposed to reflect the God of Israel.
There was indeed evil behind what they were doing, but to some extent, ignorance. On that basis, Jesus seeks forgiveness for them. It’s really incredible this is said from the cross. If you or I were wronged in a horrid way, it would be more likely for us to think about the incident hours or maybe days or weeks or longer later and say, “I really do need to have an attitude of forgiveness to them.” Jesus says it while it is going on.
How many of us are willing to say we’re at that level?
Frankly also, what we go through today is the overwhelming majority of the time mild compared to crucifixion. This is one reason why when I meet people who are Christians struggling with forgiveness, I tell them to do this exercise. Picture that you are with the person you are struggling to forgive and you are in the presence of Jesus telling Jesus all that He did to you.
Except Jesus is on the cross at the time.
If it sounds silly by comparison, that’s the point.
That will also, hopefully, make forgiveness easier.
This doesn’t mean they’re clean and free forever. It really means that you are leaving them in the hands of God and letting Him judge them. Now if they repent and come to God, that doesn’t even mean there are no consequences. God can remove eternal consequences, but there can still be temporary ones. David was forgiven for his sin with Bathsheba, but his son still died.
It also doesn’t mean the wrong done to you doesn’t matter. It definitely does. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t wrong. It very well could have been. It means you are not holding this person accountable. That also doesn’t mean everything goes back. You can forgive someone for something, but it doesn’t mean they are trusted again.
Here’s the hard part for us Christians. This is not optional. This is commanded. Jesus tells us that if you do not forgive, your Father will not forgive your sins. Now having said that, I don’t think it’s good to go up to your offender and say “I forgive you.” I think you are robbing them of the gift of repentance and frankly, they may not think they did anything wrong so it could make matters worse. However, you are to have the attitude of forgiveness. In your own heart, you are to relinquish the right to seek justice for your own personal reasons. That doesn’t mean no justice. You can forgive someone for what they did to you, but still think the police need to know for various reasons, such as the person being a danger to themselves or the community.
However, I still want to emphasize how shocking Jesus is. We can read the story and think it’s a nice story, but if it’s true, how incredible is that? Jesus lived His example of forgiveness and love and mercy even to the cross. There are no cries for justice. There is only mercy and forgiveness.
Live like that.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Who is it that you are to forgive? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Forgiveness can be very hard. I remember several years ago when I was employed at Wal-Mart that a girl came up to me who worked there and said something along the lines of, “Nick. You seem like a really wise person. I’m struggling with forgiving someone. Can you tell me how to do it?” I immediately asked “What’s his name?”
“How did you know?”
“It’s always a guy.”
It was a safe bet that I made that turned out to be right. Forgiveness is hard, but it is really the way of Christ. We could say if it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not. It’s extremely difficult. However, if we withhold forgiveness from someone, we are not really hurting them as much as we are hurting ourselves. If someone wrongs you, that reveals something about them. If you refuse to forgive, that reveals a lot more about you.
Now that doesn’t mean as I said that it will be easy. Sometimes, it will take work to forgive and you might have to do it again and again and again. I also want to stress that I am not saying to go to the other person and say “I forgive you.” Of course, in some cases, such as if the person is dead or it could be harmful to you to encounter the person, this is impossible. If at all possible, let them come to you. However, you should be in a position where you are in an attitude of forgiveness and ready to forgive.
Years ago, I wrote a post about “Will your murderer be in Heaven?” There are several great stories of forgiveness in there. I urge you to go there and check it out as there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel here. People have forgiven those who have done great wrong to them.
Yet you could be thinking, “Yes, but this person intentionally did something to me incredibly hurtful. How do I forgive them?” We do that by looking at our example of Jesus. Look at what happens on the cross. You hear Jesus saying “Father. Forgive them. They know not what they do.”
Now we know that they didn’t understand that Jesus was God’s Messiah and actually YHWH with skin on. However, what is understood? Whatever their reasons for doing it, they were intentionally doing it. They weren’t doing it in the sense of saying “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” This wasn’t done accidentally. This was done intentionally and with forethought to it. This was an evil act of malice.
Holding to the deity of Christ also doesn’t mean that you think He knew everything about everything in His incarnation, but being omniscient isn’t necessary to see that this was an act of evil. Christ knew that, and yet what did He do? He sought their forgiveness. He did not forgive them from the cross since they had not repented and forgiveness requires that, but He sought their forgiveness.
When He died on the cross, He died as much for them as He did for anyone else. (I realize many Calvinist readers will disagree with me. I am not interested in that debate, but if you hold to the L in the Tulip, consider that any that were Elect He died for just as much as any others.) He doesn’t love you or I any more than He loves them. That’s a love that’s hard for us to comprehend.
That’s the first point to consider, but then realize what you have done. Whatever someone else has done to you, you have done worse to Jesus Christ. You have rejected Him who has done so much for you. Years ago, a friend said something in reply to the idea that if you were the only one to save, Jesus would have come for you. He replied that if that were the case, you would have killed Him also.
I often tell people to do an exercise. Think of the person who has wronged you. Then think about standing before Jesus and telling Him what this other person has done to you. Oh wait. It’s not just that. Think about standing before Jesus on the cross and telling Him as He is being crucified what this other person has done to you.
Does that make it seem ridiculous to complain about that then? This is not to downplay what you have gone through, but to show that what you have done to Jesus is actually worse than that. This is the King of the universe here and sin is saying “I want to take your place.” We have all knowingly or unknowingly made a claim to want to be God. We have all done directly ourselves the sin that took place in the Garden.
Again, this does not mean it will be easy, but it is possible and not only that, required. Jesus says if we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven, and as C.S. Lewis says, there’s no indication He doesn’t mean what He says. This could require a good therapist and/or pastor to work with you on this. That’s fine too. As long as you’re working on forgiving, I think Christ sees that.
There are evil people out there, and it’s easy to look at the evil in them. It’s far more beneficial to look at the evil in us. That’s the one evil that we can directly do something about.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Becket Cook’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Change can happen in strange ways.
One day, Becket Cook is sitting outside at a coffee shop when someone comes in with a Bible. Wow. Cook and his friend sit outside making fun of a group apparently sitting around and talking with this man. After the group left, one straggler is left behind. Cook and his friend decide to go up and start asking the guy question.
Here’s a real shock. The guy is ready for them. I don’t know the answers given, but they were enough to leave Cook wanting to engage. At the end of the questioning, Cook decided to drop the hammer. As a man who is primarily attracted to men he asked, what about homosexuality?
The man actually gave a listening and kind answer. Cook was then invited to his church and he thought, “Why not?” If anything, it could be a good social experiment. It wasn’t an easy decision though as it was done with much debate. Many of his friends would not like to see him in a church or hear he had been to one.
Cook was there Sunday. He had grown up in a conservative Christian home, but he was the prodigal son. He knew the story about Christianity. He knew why it was nonsense.
Or so he thought.
As the pastor begins talking about the gospel, Cook is caught off guard. He hadn’t heard it this way before. He realized he was actually agreeing with a lot of what the pastor said. As he tells it, Cook knew then the conviction that he had. Homosexuality wasn’t an issue anymore. He came forward to pray and before too long, he became a Christian.
This is ultimately how the first part of the book starts as the first part is basically Cook’s story. It is about how he came to embrace a lifestyle of homosexuality and what all led to that. He’s very clear to state that he doesn’t know what is the ultimate cause of anything. He also ponders on many ways God could have been working in His life up to that point.
The second part is answering questions. Cook finds it sad that most of them have to do with sex. According to him, he would much rather talk about the resurrection and how to know it’s real, but no. People want to ask him about sex. He understands that and he does answer the questions.
Cook acknowledges that he still wrestles with temptation and has a heart for those who do. He still tries to find his heart fulfilled most of all in God. It is a sacrifice to him, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice as in his mind, he gains something far greater than his other intimate relationships could have given him.
So the positives of the book.
Cook’s story is very exciting to read. It’s a difficult book to put down as you wonder what will happen to him next and Cook has led an exciting life. He is a gifted storyteller as he brings the past to life and goes step by step in what all his experiences were. At the same time, it’s actually family friendly to read for the most part. There is nothing explicit described.
Second, Cook writes with a heart as well. You can tell he has a great concern for the people that he writes to. He is concerned about how our culture is so focused on sexuality above all else. Sex has become our great idol in our culture as we think that it’s impossible for a homosexual to be happy unless he or she is having sex. Actually, we think the same thing about heterosexuals and any of the other 2,489 sexualities we have today.
There is one big negative I have in that I would like to have seen more said about why he is a Christian today. I think too many will read his book who are skeptics of Christianity and say “Yeah. He went to a church and got caught up in an altered state of consciousness and abandoned all his reason at that point over an emotional experience.” I don’t think that is what happened, but I can understand that some would think that.
Cook does talk once about how he’d like to be asked about the resurrection, but I would prefer he just tell us. I understand that might not fit in with the story entirely, so why not add in an appendix? He can talk about how after his conversion, he did check to make sure he hadn’t been tricked and found a whole lot of data to support what he believed now. I’m not saying that’s how it happened to him, but if it is, I would like to know about it.
After all, Cook’s experience is great, but he can’t share that experience with others in the same way. No one else can enter a Matrix kind of world where they will experience what he experienced. They can hear his story and perhaps with an appendix like this hear something that could give them pause.
People interested in this kind of area need to read Cook’s book. It is readable and not too long as well. I hope you enjoy the story like I did.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Matt and Laurie Krieg’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters.
Laurie and Matt have what they call an impossible marriage. It’s an unusual situation. Matt is like many red-blooded males and really likes to look at the ladies.
So is Laurie.
That’s right. Laurie is primarily attracted to women in their marriage. Because of that, they say their marriage is seen as impossible. They also agree, but you know who else has an impossible marriage?
Every single married couple out there.
All marriages involve two people who are very difficult trying to function as if they were one person. All require death to one’s self. All require sacrifice. All require putting another person before yourself. All require hard work.
So let’s go with the positives of this book first.
This is definitely a book that makes you think. Much of the book is talking about difficulties with sex. Laurie has gone through trauma and during this time looks at Matt as if he is a threat entirely. She is left wondering, “Why can’t we be friends without sex? Why should married couples need to have sex?”
Meanwhile, Matt is having a battle of his own. Can he love his wife even if she is not having sex with him? Some could say Matt was overplaying sex, but honestly I would say that’s not the case. Not because sex is the ultimate, it’s not. (Yes my fellow guys. I really mean that.) I say it because C.S. Lewis told us you can’t love something too much. You only love something else too little. Matt had to learn how to put God first.
This is something that led to a lot of thinking for me. I too had to think about what it is that makes sex in a marriage so important and this book does excellent at showing the gospel message that is meant from sexuality. This is a great book for husbands and wives to read together.
Second, this book has a habit of switching back and forth, though letting you know of who is speaking. You get to see Matt’s perspective on something and then you get to see Laurie’s perspective or vice-versa. This is good not only so husbands and wives can see what they relate to, but they can see inside the head of the other person.
Third, this book also is not something that really speaks out against homosexual practice, which I do disagree with. They state regularly they know that behavior is not acceptable for a Christian, but there is nothing here that shows any hatred towards someone who has same-sex desires. They invite such people to read this book to learn about their perspective.
Fourth, this book is a story. You will go along with their journey and wonder how it turns out. You want to see this couple work even when they are both convinced that they won’t, this despite both of them doing counseling to an extent, Matt even being a counselor, and both of them helping people with issues regarding sexuality.
Now let’s look at things I would change for another addition.
First, I like the story, but I think I was thrown into it. There was something on how Matt and Laurie met and married, but I would like to have known them first. How did they come to Jesus? My main wonder was with Laurie. Was she raised Christian and came to find she had same-sex desires and just decided to sacrifice them? I would have liked to have seen something such as in Rachel Gilson’s Born Again This Way. Not a whole book to be sure, but perhaps a single chapter with each of them introducing themselves first.
Second, some terms are vague. Matt says whenever he wants sex while Laurie is not able to, he is to turn that to God and say that he wants God. Okay. What does that mean? Do you want a feeling or what? How do you know when you get to the point where you can say you have Him? What are you supposed to experience? This term is unclear and I was left wondering about it.
Third, I do think too often subjective experiences were relied on. I am not saying such can’t happen, but when I see people going on more about what they think God is telling them, I do get cautious as many such claims exist. Also with some of these stories, they were often times very difficult to follow.
Fourth, while the book does say that we can make too much about sex, it does seem that the whole book is largely about the couple and the struggle that they have with sex. My conclusion is as much as we might want to downplay it, sex is far more important to a marriage than a lot of us realize.
I have an equal number of pros and cons, but ultimately, this is one of the most thought-provoking marriage books to read. Anyone wanting to marry or who is married should read it. It would also be great for small groups to study together. Either way, go get this book and read it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What would I speak on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Someone messaged me asking what I would preach on at a church if I had two months to preach on an apologetics topic not necessarily political, but it wouldn’t be race either. What would I preach on? I immediately answered sex and marriage. I was asked if there was anything else since this was two months. I stated that I think this is two years worth and I stand by it. Why?
Let’s start out with getting people into the church. Imagine if on the sign outside the church you had the announcement “Come join us these next two months as our pastor preaches on sex and marriage.” Would you get more people in to see what was said? Yes. That could even include people outside the church.
After all, ask which people if they had to choose one, which they would rather see a TV movie about? Would it be the Sermon on the Mount or would it be David and Bathsheba? I know a lot of Christians would choose the former, but most on the other side would choose the latter, and let’s face it, a lot of Christians could very well choose the latter.
Not only that, but one of the greatest problems we have today is men don’t want to go to church. Church has become way too feminine. I would like every pastor to read Why Men Hate Going To Church. Many of our songs about Jesus could be what a girl sings about her boyfriend and guys don’t care about that, but if you talk about what men are interested in, they will come. Not only that, but statistically, if the father/husband comes, he brings the rest of the family with him.
Next, this is a topic our whole culture is confused on. We want to treat sex like something that you just do for fun, but when one person sleeps with someone different, the idea is that cheating has taken place. Kissing someone other than your lover can be cheating, but this brings it to a whole new level.
We know there’s something different. If the couple kisses or goes on a date, that’s said to be nice, but the goal really comes when they sleep together. Then you know that they are a couple. I am not saying that I agree with that, but I am saying that’s the perception.
Another reason to talk about this is this is a great cause of people leaving the faith. If there is any moral reason people abandon Christianity, it’s because it interferes with their sex lives. People don’t really like the stance Christianity takes on sex, and many times, that includes those of us who are Christians.
This is especially so with young people who we’ve sold a false bill of goods to. Many of us have told them that if they have sex before they marry, they will feel guilty. They might. Some do. Some don’t. Those that don’t wonder what else the church has lied to them about.
Another problem with this is purity culture where we have told women especially that if they give themselves away before marriage, they are damaged goods. I certainly think women should save themselves, but they are not damaged goods. We also have this strange idea of purity until marriage. No. You should stay pure after marriage. Sex isn’t something dirty that taints you.
For many men, pornography is a huge issue. Sadly, many more women are starting to get into this as well. The understanding I have is that one in three men in the church struggle with pornography and it’s probably more than that. This is also destroying many marriages. Why is it so many men are struggling with pornography and we never talk about it from the pulpit?
Our young people especially need a worldview of sex. Why not sleep together if you’re in love? They need a whole worldview of sex, and so do so many of the adults as well. I got after the guys about pornography, but the women need a message to. Too many women are engaging in sexting, that is, sending intimate pictures of themselves on their phones. They can think it will go away, but it won’t. I say this especially to the women because let’s face it, a woman’s body at the intimate level is much more appealing to people than a man’s is.
If a young man and a young woman are on a date, they need more than a few verses in Paul to stop them from going too far. They need a whole worldview. This could not only teach them good thinking about sex, but good thinking about everything else. Good thinking carries over after all. If you learn to think well in one area, you can do so in others more likely.
Also, our marriages need enrichment. I realize that Shaunti Feldhahn has dealt with a lot of myths about Christian marriage, but too many are in trouble and need help. We need whole sermons on the topic. Having a seminar every now and then is good, but we need more.
This also does have political ramifications. Teach on sex and you touch most everything else. You wind up addressing abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism. You will get people learning what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.
We also have many failures recently in this area. How many pastors who are prominent have fallen because of sexual temptation? Do I need to mention Ravi Zacharias again? He used to be one of my heroes and today, the first aspect of him I think of is the scandal.
Scripture speaks about this constantly for a reason. We should listen. Our young people and the rest of the church get to hear the world’s message on this topic six days a week. We have one day a week and we don’t use it.
So again, without hesitation, this is what I would speak on. It covers a multitude of topics and it is not based on race. Actually, all races could benefit from this. Last I checked, we all reproduce the same way.
And maybe you’re not a guest pastor, but you’re the actual pastor. Could it be time to update that sign outside the church?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Can someone on the spectrum love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
What does it mean to love? Sadly, love is one of the most meaningless words we have in our society today. This is not to downgrade love, but love is something that everyone says and very few people bother to define. The other word that comes to mind like that is God, and I’m certainly not one who disbelieves in God so consider the parallel.
The problem is we have so many different ideas all contained in one word of love. We can say we love pizza, a TV show, a video game, a sports team, a neighbor, a spouse, and God, and we use the same word for all of them. I certainly hope that you don’t love your family the same way you love pizza.
Meanwhile, when two people have sex, we often say that they are “making love.” I find this terminology strange, but not totally false since for a married couple definitely, the marital act is to build up love. Unfortunately, in our society, we also think that sex equals love, a trap especially young girls fall into thinking if a boy has sex with them, it means he loves them. No. The boy could really just be wanting to have sex.
But today, we’re asking if someone on the spectrum is capable of love. The answer to this is an unequivocal yes. Those on the spectrum can love, but it might look different from other people.
For me, love can have emotional highs, but those are the exception. I have more of a reality in my mind about the importance of the person. For a spouse, it’s a covenant relationship with them. For friends, it’s my willingness to do what I can to help them when they are in need.
Sometimes, this is difficult still as being on the spectrum, to a degree that could be higher than for others, it is often difficult to step outside of myself and see things from the perspective of the other. I don’t think we’re alone in that, but I think the degree for us is far more intense.
However, for many of us, loyalty remains something very special. I often think I would fit in wonderfully in the biblical world with honor and shame as this is how I examine my relationships with others. If someone betrays me or wrongs me in a great way, it is hard for me to ever trust them again. By contrast, if someone treats me right, I always want to honor my personal debt to them and show loyalty to them.
To return to love, something to keep in mind is that love is not an emotion. It can result in strong emotions, but it is not that. Just because someone has strong emotions does not mean that they have strong love. Love is shown in the actions someone does. I think it was Lewis who said it is your reactions that will show who you are more than your actions.
Love is seeking the good of the other for the sake of the other and if you truly love someone, you have to ask yourself regularly if you are seeking their good or not. There are times that letting go can be for someone else’s good. If you base it on an emotion, the emotion by nature cannot last forever and it will fade.
If you are in a relationship with someone on the spectrum, be it family, friendship, or romantic, be assured that they can love. Someone on the spectrum can also be hurt so watch how you treat them as well. We may not respond the same way as you, but the ways that we are similar are greater than the ways that we are different.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What are wives required to do for husbands? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I heard yesterday about a video going viral. In it, a pastor was giving a sermon and sometime in the middle, he went on a tirade that is extremely derogatory towards women. If you want the highlights, here’s what someone posted about it.
As a husband to my wife and father to my daughter the things he brought out such as:
“Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere”
“men are going to look so be sure to keep your self attractive enough he only wants to look at you”
“My friend set a divorce weight for his wife”
“It’s really important for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm”
“Food never taste as good as skinny feels”
“Dress appropriately, dress your age, dress your body type…just look good”.
Now someone could look at this and say, “Well isn’t it true that a wife should care about her appearance?” Yes. It is. Unfortunately, the way this guy spoke will not encourage any wife and places the blame on her and some statements are just hideous.
Let’s start with don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere. If this was a playful challenge given as an encouragement, that could have been one thing. “Women! You’re already beautiful! Your husband is tempted to look at other women because he is a man, but be a feast for his eyes and he will always return to you.”
Instead, what the preacher said was, “If you lower your beauty, your husband will look elsewhere.” When you’re a Christian man and dating, you already know that a woman is beautiful. When you marry, you learn that she really is much more beautiful than you realize.
If you are a man and you look at a woman and don’t see something beautiful, it is not the woman that needs to change but you. This is especially so for your wife. Every woman is beautiful in some way. If you are not seeing beauty, then work on changing yourself.
I honestly cannot easily picture Christ referring to any woman physically as ugly. He might think that their behavior is awful, but He never rejected a woman who came to Him for help. Jesus was incredibly kind towards women.
That being said, it is true men are going to look. I remember a young Catholic priest telling me about how he can look too and he always says, “She is a beautiful gift, but she is not for you.” A man might notice a woman and have a momentary thought, but a good man just moves on then.
I don’t think a man is responsible for his momentary temptation that flies through his mind. Now if he stares or leers or something else, that is different, but it is a struggle for the majority of men out there. A wife should not take it personally. At the end of the day, he chose her.
The comment about a man setting a divorce weight for his wife is one of the worst. I don’t know of anything in Scripture that says, “If you start thinking your wife is putting on too much weight, you may leave her and trade her in for a less heavy model.” This pastor doesn’t need to be condemning the women. He needs to be condemning his friend instead.
Now it is true that a man likes to have a beautiful woman on his arm and whenever I have had to take Allie somewhere, I have been delighted to show her off to everyone. If anything, I always delighted in telling everyone the story about her winning a beauty pageant. When I went to my 20th year high school reunion, I remember being eager to show her off to everyone I went to school with. Yes. I did get married and I married a beautiful woman.
Women stink? I have no doubt that a woman could have a problem if she has just worked out or anything like that, but so do men. That’s part of the human condition. It doesn’t matter either. A woman is still beautiful.
The statement about nothing tastes as good as being thin feels is one often used in diet motivation. If a woman wants to lose weight for proper health reasons (Not Anorexia or Bulimia) and is motivated by this, good for her. By the way, that should be the best motivation for weight control and that is health.
Now there is certainly truth in the last part about dress appropriately, but many Christian wives don’t have this problem. They’re not going to show up to church in a bikini or something like that. This could be something said more for the teenage girls in the audience who are still wanting to get a man in their lives.
But in the end, the big problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to make herself beautiful for the man in her life. When Ruth approached Boaz to see if he would marry her, she was told to bathe and put on her best clothes. Yes. Men do respond to physical appearance.
The man also needs to work on being the best that he can. It’s meant to be a mutual self-giving. Also, normally if a woman wants to do this, her husband will likely have no problem with it. I remember when Allie got a new dress at Wal-Mart one time and when she came out, my jaw just dropped. I was stunned by how beautiful she looks. I even told her that for my birthday I could ask my parents and in-laws to give her dresses as well. That would be just as much a gift to me.
As far as I know, this pastor’s wife didn’t poison him in his sleep or anything like that during the night. Either way, this is a man who definitely needs to get into marriage counseling and get his attitude towards women taken care of. Also, until that changes, please don’t be in the pulpit. We don’t need this kind of attitude there.
And women, you’re already beautiful. If a man doesn’t find you beautiful just the way you are, then he’s not going to find you beautiful anyway. His idea of your beauty is conditional. Move on.
However, while you should want to take care of yourself, if you have a good man, he will find you beautiful no matter what changes you go through. It is because while he sees your body, he doesn’t see just your body. He sees you and when he sees you he sees beauty. It’s not conditional.
If you’re a man who makes your commitment to your wife conditional on what is fleeting and passing anyway, then you don’t really have a commitment to your wife. You have a commitment to a female body. Work on your eyes, and your heart.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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What do I think of Mona Charen’s book published by The Crown Forum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Feminism has failed women.
This is not to say that everything it has done has been a catastrophe. What it means is that the movement has done more harm than good. While it hailed itself as pro-woman, it has actually been anti-woman. The damage has been because it had an idea of what they would like women to be, but ignored what women really are, and the same for men as well.
The movement assumed that for many women, the dream is to be a career woman. It assumed that women should experience sex the same way that men do. It assumed that women must be able to have abortions in order to be on equal footing with men.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of women. Women tend to really want to feel security. Marriage is one of the great ways that women can have that security. Not only that, that also has a positive effect on the man as the marriage covenant usually domesticates a man.
It started with some good goals for women, but then it went on to other ones. Many of the earliest feminists would be appalled at what feminism is today. The first one to really change the way the movement was seen was Betty Friedan with the Feminine Mystique. Much of what she said was rooted in Communism as well.
From there, more and more feminists wanted to push the envelope further. Marriage was seen as a bondage for women. Women should pursue sex outside of marriage. Motherhood should not be a major goal for women. Abortion should be a right for women.
Unfortunately, all of this denies what women are. Women have a natural longing for the most part to be mothers. Many women would be willing to sacrifice a career to raise their children directly. Sex outside of marriage does not do women good but rather allows them to be used.
This is built on the idea that femininity is something artificial that can be bent to be whatever we want, but if women have a nature and we are fighting against that, then we are doing harm to women. The same is also done to men. We live in an age where we hear about toxic masculinity and complaining about the patriarchy, automatically assuming that masculinity is a bad thing and a man is a villain if he leads.
This has also led to women severing their bonds. In abortion, a woman severs the natural bond she has to be a mother to her children. Abortion is actually the most anti-feminine behavior I can think of. First off, many of the babies aborted are themselves women. Second, a woman is doing the exact opposite of the motherly instinct and learning to kill her own children for the sake of something else. It could be money or career or just wanting to have free sex. Either way, a woman does herself great harm as she has to find a way to justify abortion.
A woman also has to shut herself down during sex which can lead to the hook-up culture. Women are too easily used and many women have taught themselves to not feel anything during sex lest they form a connection that get severed. Many women will also say yes to sex when they don’t really want to because of fear of losing the guy or of being seen as a prude by society.
We’re also told men need to stop pressuring women to have sex. This is true, but at the same time, in reality, men also have far more testosterone in their bodies and think about sex a whole lot more than women. We are also far more aggressive. Andrew Sullivan is even cited with an example of how he was getting testosterone for something and at the start, he almost got into a fight with his neighbor because of it.
Do men need to control their strong desire for sex? Yes. Will you change male nature though? No. The more you do that, you will find yourself fighting against reality.
Let’s consider some ways we are doing that. Charen cites someone who complains about a tool that is used by women to help them see if a date rape drug has been put in a drink. A woman complains saying she doesn’t want to live in a world where she has to fear that her date has done something like that.
That’s a fine goal, but the reality is we do live in that world. We do live in a world where some men are scum and you might not know if that guy you just met in a bar is one of them or not. I remember hearing actress Bates say about the Weinstein situation that in her day, when a man invited you up to his hotel room, you knew what it was about.
Men, however, also can be natural protectors. If a man has a wife, for the most part, he will want to protect her and provide for her. I remember even when I worked at a movie theater as a young adult. We worked at a mall and often got out of work after midnight. I would always walk my female co-workers to their cars and told them the same thing. “If someone comes after us, you run. Don’t look back. Don’t worry about me. Just run.” After all, I’m a Christian. I knew where I was going. My goal was to keep the women safe.
This has also changed college culture. Date rape is on the rise and more and more control is being exerted. Many a woman can seduce a man or at least have sex where the man thinks it’s consensual and then months later he’s slapped with rape and abuse charges. The problem is usually when a couple is having sex there aren’t a lot of witnesses around.
And what about after that? The family is in crisis. It was long beforehand, but it has only gotten worse because of feminism and “sexual liberation.” We have let government take the role of parents and it just doesn’t work. The main loss is the loss of fathers. Children are best raised by their biological mothers and fathers in a committed relationship.
The breakdown of the family is a disaster for men and women both, but especially for the children afterward. We are fighting against reality by doing this. We need to go back and examine feminism and see what is really good for women, and not for men, and not just what we would like to see.
This is an excellent book that we definitely need to read and the data is far more than I can show in just a blog review. I would that more people would read a book like this. Our society is on a downhill track and we really need to change it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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What can we not do for ourselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My apologies for a week without blogs. I have had a whole lot going on in my personal life. I am sure it will come out eventually, but for now, I am fighting a private battle with the help of some friends and others and I appreciate your prayers and support in it. I also have some book reviews to do, but I wanted to write on something I was thinking about recently.
It started with my cat actually. I have noticed whenever I am around him, my cat is constantly wanting my attention. I can hardly play a video game or a TV show without him being right up there with me wanting to get attention.
Now in some ways, we could say a cat could survive on their own. Many do in the wild. They can hunt their own food and they can go to the bathroom where they want. Many of them are solitary animals who hunt on their own from what I see.
So yes, I do feed my cat and change his litter box and he can’t do this on his own while domesticated, but even if in the wild, there is something he can’t do on his own. He can’t pet himself. If my cat wants to be petted, he depends on me, a human being.
As we grow up, one of the first blessings we can get in our lives when we step outside of our homes is friends. These are people who have no blood relation to us and come to like us and enjoy our company and are willing to sacrifice their time and sometimes money because they think we are worth the investment. I have plenty of friends who have been there whenever I have needed to make a phone call and it means a lot when someone calls just to check and see how I am doing.
Aristotle even said friends were something not necessary to live, but they were good to have and your life is lacking without them. Friendship has been a great mystery to us, but we are all thankful for it. Even in Plato’s Lysis, it is not known at the end what a friend is, but it is hopeful that we all leave as friends.
This is not to deny family, and it’s interesting that it takes multiple people really to have a family. The family begins with a man and a woman together. Communist societies had a war against the family constantly because the family doesn’t require the government or its justification to exist. Family is the first community we live in and it is a community often vastly different than we are. Our birth parents in reality are people we might not even choose as friends if we didn’t know them, but we have a great bond to them as family.
And now let’s combine those two. Friends and family are best combined in marriage. Again, I cannot give myself that kind of love. If we refer to sexual love, yes, regardless of your moral stance on the issue, masturbation exists, and yet most of us would prefer to be with a member of the opposite sex instead of alone by ourselves.
So sexual love requires someone else and marriage is not only a community, but is a making of a new community that is a reproducing community. If you have friends, you grow the circle from without by bringing in new people that are already there. With marriage, you bring in new people through the act of sexual intercourse. That comes from within.
If we look in Scripture, we find numerous passages in the New Testament in the epistles especially that are commands to do something to one another. The church is meant to be a community. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity in reality. With the Coronavirus, many of us have lost that community. It’s hard to have community when you are alone in your homes watching on a screen. While I have a different interpretation of the Lord’s Supper than my Catholic and Orthodox friends, we all agree it is an important aspect of community.
All of this community shows us how much we need one another. We are not meant to be alone. Even if a person wants to be single, they still need companions and friends. Even Jesus had them on His journeys as did Paul. All of this comes from God above.
And by the way, He is a Trinity. Just think about it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)