Category Archives: Sin

My Judas Lament

I fell into a dark chasm that year.
Decades ago you watched but didn’t know…

Where I was
Why I was there
What I needed

I shouted in the deep and dazzling darkness,
But I was lying and denying the truth.

The flames exploded from my lips
Into your broken, frozen heart.
As I traded deception and reality,
I sold you out,
Thinking I was buying you safety from destruction.

How great is the damage I’ve done!
What have I cost you, my friend?
How can I repay this staggering debt?

Have I destroyed your chance at eternity?
Have I devoured the calling on your heart?
Have I stolen soul upon soul from salvation and shepherding?
Have I killed the grand babies your mamma want,
All blue-eyed, sweet, and innocent?

Your friend became the Enemy that night,
And you turned from our true Master
Whom I never really served well.

Forgive me.
Come home.
Make it right.

I can’t, you can’t, we can’t, they can’t.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up;
We’ve fallen, and the King hasn’t helped put us back together again.

Maybe letting go then was wrong.
And holding on now is wrong.
It’s all wrong.

Prayer of an Angry Sinner

I’m weary and frustrated. I’m tired of faux connection via electronics.

I’m bruised and battered in my heart: invisible without 50 social media accounts and 3 devices; unheard whether I curse, swear, and speak vulgarly or bless, hedge my bets, and whisper wholesomely; untouched in a deafening silence devoid of real voices.

I’m tired of indifference masquerading as intolerance and freedom of expression if it pleases the masses.

The fiery red consumes me, and I long to push the button, the great button that releases a cleansing atomic cloud.

Saccharin civility can’t sweeten the bland, dour sourness of a PC chorus.

But I must remember:

  • Vengeance isn’t mine to take
  • My anger won’t bring back the righteousness of generations gone by
  • Blowing away the nation won’t cure silicon stagnation
  • Kicking sorry hides won’t destroy evil masks of false facades

You, oh Lord, hold vengeance and justice. You, oh Lord, give pardon and peace. You, oh Lord, restore mercy and grace. You forgive the inexcusable.

So…

Wash my mind in your True Word. Bathe my heart in the cleansing flow from Your Side. Speed my feet back to paths of righteousness. Burn the angry insults from my lips. Cleanse my hands from hidden sins.

I forgive them. You forgive me. We are never even or equal. Your ways are higher; Your thoughts are higher; Your love is perfect.

Impure in His Presence?

I’ve written in the past about how I love worship and how God inhabits the praises of His people. I also love worship because I always believed that nothing impure could stand in the presence of God and if I could just get over my shame and guilt I’d be a little cleaner because of time with Him.

While it’s true that time with Him in His Word and prayer does improve righteousness, attitude, and wisdom, I was trying to find the Scriptural basis for the notion that nothing impure could stand in the presence of God.

After a few searches, I started feeling queasy. In Job, we see Satan goes right up to the throne of God (Job 1:6, Job 2:1) with the other angels (presumably those still following God).

Satan also approaches Jesus, who never sinned, while Jesus was fasting in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11 contains all the details. In effect, Satan was permitted to test Jesus three times over food, power, and proper targets for worship. Jesus of course passed.

Impure spirits were regularly in the presence of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. In Mark 1:25, an impure spirit challenges Jesus and tries to reveal His identity before the proper time. In Mark 3:11, the impure spirits are constantly bowing and trying to identify Jesus before the proper time.

Mark 5:1-20 describes another time impure spirits were before Jesus. A seriously disturbed man lived in a graveyard. When Jesus was passing by, he began to yell… or the demon began to yell. It tried to identify Jesus and accuse Him of coming too soon to torture him and his evil buddies. They knew His power–they begged Him first not to send them away and then to send them into some pigs. He obliged. They killed the pigs, irritating the farmer and related merchants.

Now Isaiah and Revelation do have some interesting passages. They do talk about the impure not being fit to follow the Lord and be in the presence of the Lord.

Isaiah 35:8 (NIV) — And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.

Revelation 21:27 (NIV) — Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

As much as it would make life easier if these verses were immediately true in our here and now, both Isaiah and Revelation are prophetic books about a future that has not yet come to pass.

So, what I said is true in the future, but it’s not really true in the here and now. In the here and now, the impure can be in the Presence of Holy God. They are either infinitely rebellious or quivering, shaking, and uncomfortable.

And maybe sometimes they’re a lot like me, or am I a lot like them? The difference is that I can and have chosen Christ and I have His righteousness covering me. At some point, I will not be rebellious, quivering, uncomfortable. I will be perfected and changed in the twinkling of an eye, forever whole and praising the One I love.

Irritated Flesh

…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  — Saul of Tarsus, Second letter to Christians in Corinth

There are thorns in my life–
Tangled complexities of sin and pain–
That tie me down, trip me up, and bind my hands.

I’ve wrestled and tangled.
I’ve chopped and torn and shredded.
Yet I’m crumpled in a tangled mess just the same.

I’ve begged the Master
To vaporize the thorns and burrs
And set me on my feet.

He just smiled and sighed,
And with a slight tear in His eyes, replied,
No, little one, I will not.

“Become as a child.
See the wonder in the knots
So you can be in my kingdom.

“Become as a silent stone.
See that the thorns silence you
So you always hear My voice.

“Become as a chick.
Be soft and gentle to others
So that they feel the warmth of My wings.

“Become still in My presence.
Let the vines bind you
So you only move if I lead.”

Let Your grace be sufficient in this moment.
Let Your strength support me in my weakness.
Be God because I am not.

A Weird Turn of Thought

Again, it’s one of those days where two seemingly disparate thoughts become intertwined in my mind. They give rise to a third idea for exploration.

Thought 1

Hospice is a powerful tool. It helps the terminal die with dignity, not by suicide or assisted suicide or homicide, but by letting the diseased body shut down naturally with some palliative support for pain. It helps those who love the terminal come to peace with the impending separation and move through the stages of grief in a healthy way.

Thought 2

Some Christians are at times unkind to those they perceive as sinners, even to those they perceive as completely spiritually dead. While rightfully so they want to guard their hearts and minds, they forget that absenting from the spiritually terminal truly ends all hope.

Synthesis

What if Christians, even only a handful, started to look at those who were really deep in sin as not yet dead, but in need of spiritual hospice? In this case, to preserve the will to live  and keep a connection with believers until it truly is too late. Is that sacrilegious?

If some Christians would commit to simply loving the sinner or those that are perceived as spiritually dead, would it make a difference?

By love, I don’t meaning telling the person that sin isn’t sin or that wrong is right. What I mean is to hang out with them and do something they enjoy that doesn’t violate the conscience of the Christian. Keep in touch, even when other Christians disappear.

Temporarily, stop measuring their worth by the actions that look Christian-like, and begin to see them as the unique creatures they really are. Find that one attribute that is radical and wild and different and praise God for the uniqueness in creation of that individual.

No, in my past I haven’t live up to this. And yes, periodically, the enemy does a most excellent job of rubbing my face in my failures.

But what if just a handful of us committed to loving just one person that was considered unworthy of love by everyone else, selected by God’s decision not the will of other frustrated Christians?

If there is hope as long as there is life and breath, could we live the kind of life that reflected Jesus so another would choose Jesus?

Our God is the God of the miraculous and the impossible. With Him all things are possible.

So, just for tonight, I will hope that the answer is, “Yes.”

Recipe for Rotten Fruit Salad

Ingredients

  • One part of a wild life and free sex
  • Touch of impurity
  • Equal parts witchcraft and manipulation of others’ feelings and decisions
  • Slice of idolatry
  • Three parts hatred and trouble-making
  • Seed of anger
  • Sprinkle of selfishness
  • Hint of division and giving and taking offense
  • Another part drunkeness and wild parties
  • A wallop of waste
  • Two parts envy

Instructions

  1. Take a heart not filled with God’s Spirit
  2. Place human outside of sound teaching that won’t tickle the ears
  3. Fill with all ingredients above
  4. Allow to ferment for a season in the absence of true surrender

Yield

One tutti-frutti lukewarm life outside God’s faithful flock with a soul in danger of losing eternity

Recipe for (Spiritual) Indigestion

Ingredients

  • Two parts impatience and mean-spiritedness
  • One part jealousy
  • One part braggadocio
  • A heap of pride
  • Two parts each impoliteness, selfishness, and rapid anger
  • A complete history of every mistake
  • Pleasure in doing and seeing wrong
  • A pinch more impatience
  • A handful of lies and half-truths
  • A root of rejection
  • Sprinkles of mistrust, despair, and caving

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into old wineskin of an unrenewed mind
  2. Set the human heart to lukewarm
  3. Surround the human with hellfire and brimstone (alternatively, you may use comfort and pleasant circumstances)
  4. Wait until the human no longer hears the voice of the Holy Spirit

Yield

Seared conscience is served lukewarm!