Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Let Me Fall!

I grew up on a dirt road for most of my childhood before the county paved it. Each house in our area was required to have at least an acre of land to avoid crowding and becoming like a subdivision neighborhood. Our road dead ended into our neighbors’ driveway, so there was not much traffic down this road. We could get out and play cork ball or wiffle ball without fear of many cars. That little stretch of dirt road carries some fond memories. Sometimes, my brothers and I would have to get out and push my dad’s truck up and down the road so he could pop the clutch to get it started. Those were the good old days.

One of my favorite memories on that road was learning to ride a bike. Maybe it is one of my favorites because once you learn the skill it is yours for life. Like any beginner on a bicycle, we started of with tricycles at a very early age then moved up to the bike with training wheels. There comes a time though when the training wheels have to come off. There comes a point in everybody’s life when something that was helping you is now a hindrance to making you better. When a baby gets old and big enough, you have to remove the crib and allow him/her to sleep in a bed or else the poor thing will soon be jammed in there head to toe and sleep will be hindered. When sleep is hindered in children’s lives, growth will be stunted and you have literally retarded the natural growth process that God put in place. Keeping the training wheels of life on your child will not help, in fact, it will destroy.

As I learned to ride around on that bike and got very comfortable doing so, I wanted those training wheels to come off. When they did come off, mom or dad held on to the back of the seat and a handle bar to get me started. At some point though, they let go. I cannot remember how far down that old road they let go of my seat, but I did not realize it until it was time to turn around at the dead end. I did not know how to stop! I do remember thinking or yelling, “You let me go?!” I crashed. Oddly enough, I do not remember my parents ever having to help with the bike again. They got me to where I needed to be and had the love to let go. Thank you Mom and Dad and happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Tribute to Mark Adams

When I saw this picture I immediately thought of Mark and the "Friday Smiles" he posts on his blog.  I hope this is worthy Mark!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Putting Degrees on Sin

Why do Christians put degrees on sin when there is absolutely no ground for this in the Bible? Maybe it is because everybody wants to think their lifestyle is okay as long as it does not get as bad as…fill in the blank. Putting degrees on sin really comes down to trying to justify the sin that is in your own life. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect, wrote, "Self-righteousness can deceive you more than any other sin." I think that is a fair statement.

In order to “fulfill the royal law,” James wrote, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (2:8). James quoting from Leviticus 19:18 knew this was a pillar of the Jewish nation. This law that Moses gave to the Israelites was also reiterated by Jesus when asked by the rich young man, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16, 19). Also, when a Pharisee tried to test Jesus, he asked, “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matt. 22:36-40). If Jesus “goes all-in” with these two commandments, we had better pay some special attention to them.

When James brings up loving your neighbor as yourself, he does so in the context of showing partiality concerning sin. He wrote, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (2:10). When we put degrees on sin, we are acting as the Scribes and Pharisees acted. We are hypocrites just as they were when we point fingers at the sin in others’ lives without facing the sin that is in our own life! I am not suggesting that sinful behavior be left unhandled, but I am suggesting that putting degrees on sin by saying one sin is worse than another is wrong. We might not even realize we do it because we do not express it in words. Why then do we look down on the pregnant teenager or the homosexual? We unconsciously put degrees on sin. Stop it! Sin is sin and God hates it.