Thursday, October 14, 2010

To sever or Not sever a Spinal Cord - That is the question.

In Saudia Arabia right now there is a debate on whether to sever a man's spinal cord - paralysing him - because he fought with a man and in beating him so prefusely he paralysed that man. So now the courts are trying to decide whether they can medically paralyse this man on trial.  Previously, a dentist removed teeth from a man that broke another man's teeth (no anesthetics of course!) and blind people who blind other people. Basically an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - LITERALLY! Reading about this scares the heck out of me! But seeing these countries and their strict laws gives us a glimpse of Biblical times. I mean, it's in our Bible what to do with rowdy drunkards, unruly children, slutty adulterers, witches, slaves, thieves, even gay people. :o) Morality is something that you either get or you get it beat into you. Can you imagine a man in the US getting a bit tipsy then getting into a fight with another guy and he accidentally knocks his teeth while the other guy retaliates and breaks the tipsy guys hand? Then after they have healed they go to court and here comes a dentist with some pliers and a man with a hammer. The dentis pulls the tipsy guys teeth and the other guy gets his hand broken with a hammer. I wonder if they would learn their lesson? Hmmmm.
There is a moral police in these Arab countries. To watch for immorality or misbehavior. But what about here? In the US, where morality is slowly deteriorating. In our efforts to avoid pain and our sheer terror of anything resembling Sharia (Muslim) law; we have become immoral. Why is fear of pain attached to immorality? Because we believe that as long we don't hurt anyone physically we can do whatever we want. Pornography is okay as long as it doesn't hurt a child. Homosexuality is okay as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Even if you torture, rape, and then kill a child we as Americans will make sure the execution is as painless as falling asleep. That is only IF you aren't insane. As a married woman in the US, I can dress how I want, commit adultery all I want, say what I want and never set foot in jail, unless I hit my husband. So why care about morality, or about God's rules.
Man's sense of morality takes into account the pain caused to the physical body or to money (theft, fraud, etc) Things that are tangible. Basically what we can't take to Heaven. God's sense of morality takes into account the spiritual body and our character.
Do I think that we should implement an eye for an eye? No. We are no longer under that law, but our sense of morality MUST come from His Word. No matter how unpopular it is.
A teen once told me that you should be able to marry anyone you want as long as you loved them. She was defending gay rights. I told her, "Well what if I love a 12 year old boy and he loves me. Can I marry him?" She said, "Eww gross! That would be wrong!" and I said "According to whom." She said "Well that's different." No its not! Man will always slime his way through muck to get away with more disgusting things. He will sink more and more into a decay until he can reach complete immorality. It's in God's Word that were we find our moral standard no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may be. No matter whose feelings we hurt, no matter if it causes pain. Anything less leads us to a path towards Sodom and Gomorrah. Anything more leads us to Saudia Arabia and it's courts.

 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. ~ Psalm 19:7-8

I Have a Gift - It's Death

I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer almost 5 years ago. I remember seeing him in his bed and remembering his groans of pain at night when he had to use the restroom and his cries for the pain to go away. It was so saddening and all I could do was just watch. I read him Scripture while he lied there and he constantly asked me if he was going to Heaven. I would pat his head and said that he was as long as Jesus was inside. I remember watching him sleep and praying, "God! Please take him already! Please!" He was in so much pain and turmoil and I couldn't bare it anymore. I wanted death to come. I wanted sweet death to take him! It did a couple of days later. All of us sighed a sigh of relief. I even felt a little guilty for praying for his death. I felt guilty for having a sense of happiness that he wasn't hurting anymore.
When we see a love one in chronic pain we sometimes may wish for death to come. If you have ever had a moment when life was at its darkest and all was hopeless, how many of us prayed for death to come and take us. (Thankfully God didn't answer THAT prayer!) When pain, hopelessness, trials or tribulations overtake us, we see death as a savior. A savior that will transport us from this world to the next. But last night as I read two different books. Two things stood out to me.
First, in Song of Solomon, Shulamith says: "for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave". Those are pretty intense words from her. Death will happen to us all, but does love? The grave takes everyone into her shawdowy arms and embraces and never lets go.
The second thing that I read was from a book written by Ken Ham called "The Lie - Evolution" in it, he calls death a gift from God. At first I thought he was going to talk about death freeing us from pain, but he added upon that. With physical death, God provided a way for us to go back  to Him.
 How many movies have we seen were the immortal vampire speak of their immortality as a burden, because of having to say goodbye to all their loved ones and having to see so many wars, death and the inhumanities done by man. In the new Clash of the Titans, Perseus' guide Io says she was "cursed with immortality". Perseus scoffs at her a bit and she reminds him of the pain he felt after losing his family. He gets her point.
Ken Ham does exceptionally well in saying that God in his eternal love for us didn't want us to be separated from Him eternally. Sin and God cannot coexist. That is why our flesh will not make it to Heaven, so God gave us the gift of death so we can one day leave this broken world and be reunited with our Lord, perfect and without blemish. And we will see those we love up there. Another gift that God has given us.
Only with death do we learn to love life. Only with death do we have a hope that all will be made better. Only with death, was Jesus able to provide salvation. Only with death, will we see our Creator face to face.
With Christians, death is not a taker, but a giver of so much more that we will either be dumbfounded or will not help ourselves but to praise Him incessantly. The primitive church saw death as the happiest occasion for a Christian. Thus their funerals were filled with cries of joy and even a bit of envy that their fellow Christian was now with the Lord. Can you imagine a pep-rally at a funeral?
At the end "death" will be conquered forever by our Lord Jesus Christ but until then, it is all we have as a catalyst to leave this world and enter the arms of our Savior. Now that's an embrace I don't mind!

The Ugliness of Forgiveness

Forgiving isn't fair. It hurts, it's hard and leaves you vulnerable. Usually after I forgive, I feel like the loser, like the quitter, like the one who got the bad end of a deal. It's just not fair. Someone hurt ME, violated MY feelings, hurt MY body, MY mind, MY emotions, MY spirit. Why should I forgive? I have heard so many say that forgiveness sets you free, but I don't feel that way. It feels more like I traded in a thorn in the flesh for a rusty nail. I don't feel liberated or a sense of relief. On the contrary, I feel ensnared and a sense of fear (will they hurt me again now that I've forgiven them?) At least with my grudge I felt I had a sense of control. But God is clear, forgive or I won't forgive you.And forgiving ourselves is equally as hard.  But I believe in our human way of trying to make everything less painful or even advantageous we have tried to make forgiveness the same way. In other words, we try to get something out of it for OUR benefit. We try to get a good feeling out of something that wasnt made to make you feel good in the first place. When Jesus forgave his tormentors (us included), He was naked, drenched in blood, sweat and tears; hammered to a piece of wood. That ability to grant us forgiveness was the ugliest thing ever recorded by man. The innocent Son of God entered this earth bloody and crying and died the same way. He was tortured, stripped and nailed to a cross for all to see his shame and through that wretched body, because of his blood we are forgiven. Through the violent sacrifice of a human being we can now receive forgiveness. We are forgiven, but what about the forgiver? What did it cost Him? What do we expect it to cost us? How did it feel for Him? How do we expect it to feel for us? Forgiving isn't fair and neither was the cross. Forgiving hurts and so did the cross. We don't want to forgive, but neither did Jesus want to take up the cross that enabled us to receive that forgivenes. "It's not fair, it's going to hurt, theyre the ones that did Us wrong, they're the ones that hurt Us, and they will do it again." Can you hear the tempting thoughts circulating in Jesus' head that night in Gethsemane. For hours He prayed and asked a very human question: "Is there another way?" No. "Then not My will, but Yours." He did it because God said so. Jesus was the loser that Friday. He got the bad end of the deal. But Sunday came. Jesus forever broke the chains of death, but those same chains can encoil us slowly when we refuse to forgive a wrong done to us or others. They harm no other more than ourselves and seperate us from God. Is forgiving not fair? It usually is. Will I get hurt again? Probably. Am I going to feel like a loser? Oh yeah. Is forgiving going to hurt? Most likely,  but it also did for Jesus. And like Jesus, forgiving will make you feel naked, exposed and even vulnerable, but only in nakedness is God's covering needed the most. Only through the pain of a cross could we receive forgiveness. Only through the pain of forgiveness could we receive salvation. And only through forgiving others are we most like Jesus. There is no other way but to grit one's teeth and say "not my will, but Yours.