Flip the Genders to Test the Expectations

Starting Point

Hmm had a post over at Dalrock’s blog recently that raised an interesting point.

It would be an interesting experiment to ask a class of college students what the duties of men are in society, then ask what the duties of women are. You might have to ask different classes or at different times to avoid too much cognitive dissonance.

An alternative experiment: solicit the duties of men and what to call men who avoid them, then reverse the sexes: “A woman who won’t fight for her country is a ______.”

Most churches today completely miss that men and women are different and have different roles to play in life.  Some play lip service to it, but they do little to enforce it in reality.  Even the more conservative ones can fall prey to this, while thinking they are keeping a proper Biblical balance.

The Biblical Position

[Deu 22:5 NKJV] 5 “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so [are] an abomination to the LORD your God.

This is under The Law, but the principle is still consistent with the rest of the Scriptures.  That would make it worth considering today, even though Christians are clearly not under The Law.  Considering what it means for both sexes is a worthwhile exercise.

A Man Dressing Like a Woman

This can be easy to figure out in many cases.  A man in a dress is obviously dressing like a woman, except if it is a kilt, though those are both rare in most areas and look very different from a normal skirt or dress.  Other ways this may push the edge is wearing frilly clothing that intentionally looks quite feminine, but such things are normally limited to those following their same sex attraction.

A Woman Dressing Like a Man

This is far from clear in most of our society.  Any expectation for specific female clothes has almost completely gone out the window.  Women can wear just about anything today with no special denigration or even notice today.  Anything from stretch pants to jeans has become the norm for most women.

It Goes Beyond Wearing Dresses and Pants

I have mentioned this issue to some church leaders and the the response I got only thought I was trying to push the “women must wear dresses not pants” message.  They had walked so far down the modern path that they couldn’t even consider the deeper issue.

I would strongly argue that women look far more feminine in most dresses than pants.  This doesn’t mean a woman could never wear jeans (in my view at least), but how many women wear dresses today?  Look around the next church service you are in.  Count how many women are in dresses, especially ones that look feminine.  Then count how many look like men, at least except for any breasts, though even these can be almost invisible at times for at least some women.

Feminine and Masculine Looks

How often do men dress in a masculine way these days?  That does not mean wearing a suit or unbuttoning a shirt down to the navel.  The first is just formal business wear, not necessarily masculine clothes.  The latter is just a failed fashion style of the past that is fortunately not very popular anymore.  I am sure you can think of many other caricatures that are comical, as well.

In the same way most women today do not dress in ways to properly highlight femininity.  This implies very sexually suggestive clothing in today’s world, but that is not really what this term really means.  Feminine is not slutty, though you would not know that watching the entertainment industry coverage.  This could be a reason some women avoid any attempt at looking feminine, but that is not the only reason.

A Biblical Masculine and Feminine Standard

Avoiding thinking on this issue is another wimpy approach of modern churches.  We can and should focus on looking appropriate and clearly showing the differences God created.

Keep in modesty, but don’t try to make women just “men with boobs” and therefore eliminate the incredible difference God has put into place!

Made to Need a Helper

The Original Plan

Man was made to need a helpmeet.

[Gen 2:18 NKJV] 18 And the LORD God said, “[It is] not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Man was in the perfect state he was created in, but it was still not good that he was alone.  God then proclaimed the intent to make a helper that was appropriate for the first man.

[Gen 2:19-20 NKJV] 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought [them] to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that [was] its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

God first showed all that had been created to demonstrate no proper match currently existed.  We don’t know specifically how long this took, but it was long enough to prove that nothing else created would fill the need in man’s life.

[Gen 2:21-22 NKJV] 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

God then took part of man and made a woman.  This woman came from man himself, not just from the dust of the earth or something else.  She was truly unique and she was created from the man and for the man.

Man Acknowledged What Was Done

[Gen 2:23 NKJV] 23 And Adam said: “This [is] now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

Note that the man came first and had to give up something, his rib, for the woman’s creation.  She was made perfect as well and was made to be a proper helper to Him.  Adam realized this and greatly appreciated the connection.

Seeing the Future Plan

[Gen 2:24 NKJV] 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Adam and Eve did not have any family to leave, but Adam saw what would happen for all men in the future.  A few foolish women today take this to mean only the man leaves his family, but that is missing the fact that the woman was made to literally be his.  Her existence was made to be a fulfillment of his life.  She was already considered his, Adam just wanted to point out that the man also needed to leave his family to start a new family.

Things Get Messed Up

The Fall really messed things up here.  The woman who had been created for the man now had the curse of seeking her own will first.  Note the curse on Eve after The Fall:

[Gen 3:16 NKJV] 16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire [shall be] for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

The woman would have, from that point forward, the desire to rule over the man.  The same words used for desire here are used later when God told Cain that sin desired to rule over him.  This means that a woman now had a strong pull to not be the helpmeet for the man, but to rather be his lord.  We see that a lot today, including in many supposedly Christian marriages.

Tough Choices for the Modern Christian Man

The modern Christian man faces a very tough choice in this area.  He was made with the need for a woman to be an active supporter, but very few women want or are encouraged to fulfill that role today.  Most modern churches have completely turned this on its head, focusing instead on how a husband must serve and complement his wife instead of taking what is Written in the Scriptures seriously.

This means that many men are pulled with the desire to connect to a woman and have that godly marriage, but so many things work against it that Paul’s admonition to remain single is very relevant today.

[1Co 7:8 NKJV] 8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;

This is helpful for keeping a focus on godly things, but the fact that women can and do nuke their marriages on a whim today, with the complete support of both the State and the Church means that this can has even greater value.

Some things can be done to check out a wife ahead of time, but nothing can guarantee that she will stay faithful her entire life, however much she proclaims such an intention at the start of the marriage.  Even churches will quickly turn against a man on a wife’s claims of abuse or other  unhappiness.

A Very Tough Struggle

This hit me very strongly recently when I considered my own future.  I see great merit in remaining single, yet I still have strong desires for a godly wife.  I do not expect my ex-wife to ever be repentant enough for reunification with her, so my only option is someone else.  Many women seem attractive, but walking the minefield with only the hope of making it through alive makes pursuing the God-given desire for a helpmeet wife something that is not easy to reconcile.

I am sure I will write more, but I thought the tension between God-given desires and the train wreck that is modern marriage is worth consideration.  God definitely doesn’t promise us an easy path.  This is definitely one of the more difficult ones.  Walking out life between them is not easy for anyone today.

Churches and pastors really need to repent for being a part of this problem and making it worse, instead of being the true supports of godliness they claim to be.  It is no wonder many men are turning their back on formal churches.  It is tough to go someplace that gets in the way of fulfilling what God created.

A Study of Ephesians

Plans for This Blog

One of my plans for this blog is to work through different books of the Bible.  While I plan to continue topical posts, I also want to also have a more linear approach at times and Ephesians is a good book to cover first.  It has some very good guidance for the modern church, some of which is often forgotten or misunderstood.

Taking My Time

I plan to take my time and write about as much as I can.  I want to dig deeply into what I cover.  I will note that I am sure I will not dig out every treasure, as that is impossible, but I want to draw out what is worthwhile.

[Psa 119:9, 11 NKJV] 9 BETH. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. … 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

I have found that the Scriptures have far more than we could ever dig out in a lifetime.  Some things seem to come forth easily, but studying the same passage repeatedly usually brings out more and more treasure.  It takes work and meditation (thinking and pondering what is written) to really dig into what is written.  You can only hide the Word in your heart that you know and understand,  That takes focus and effort.

The Value of Meditation

[Mat 6:7 NKJV] 7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Many people have rejected the idea of meditation since it is misused in other religions.  It often involves just muttering the same phrases over and over, something that is very fruitless.  Considering what is Written has great value however.  Repeating it over and over, out loud or in our head, can make it really come alive and can be productive.

It can also be useful to mentally put yourself in the situations being described.  This approach is especially good for the Gospels.  Seeing yourself in a situation Jesus walked in and being able to see him in your own mind can bring the scene to life, at least in your own mind.  We definitely have to watch that we don’t add anything to the Scriptures when we do this, but developing a mental picture of the scene can make it far more real to you than just words on a page..

An Ongoing Process

I expect this to be a learning experience and to take a long time, but hopefully I can help you dig out your own insights from the inexhaustible supply God has provided for us:  His Word!

The Responsibilities of a Church

Spiritual Growth

Church services are the backbone of most churches today.  A Sunday morning service is the normal minimum and many churches also have either a Sunday evening or Mid-Week service, sometimes both.  This is usually has music and singing of some form of  teaching from the pastor or another teacher.  The teaching part can have a wide range from droll plodding sermon to a much more interactive flow with activities that can make some uncomfortable.

Relationships

[Act 2:46 NKJV] 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

The Early Christian Church set the standard for something that is often missing from modern churches.  A few people make connections through regular church services, but few end up making the regular connections noted in this Scripture.

The ones in this Early Church were starting out something new, but the principle still applies today.  Few churches have anything that comes even close to this.  A part of the service may include greeting others in the service, but that doesn’t really make connections that last beyond that brief time.  A single handshake or “holy hug” doesn’t make connections on its own.

A fellowship time of some sort, where smaller groups get together also may happen, but these are often only once or twice a month.  These often feature a token teaching of some type, but usually lack time for full connect for those participating.

Supporting Others

Most churches have some outreach to the unfortunate, both in the church and outside the church.  This often takes the form of a food pantry or some form of financial assistance for specific emergencies.  Some of them may be others in the church, but such efforts are also unlikely to make connections.

It is quite ironic in light of this that most churches will generally do little to help those struggling in emotional and sometimes spiritual areas.  They may refer people to a counselor, but they will rarely do much beyond church services.  They seem to expect those in the congregation to get better all on their own.

Some people make work through their problems alone, with help from the Scriptures and God, of course, but God put us into groups so we could support each others, not so we could be a group of singles.

Getting and Giving Support

Pastors and others in churches need to really work in this area.

[Jhn 10:11 NKJV] 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

The Good Shepherd cares for the sheep.  Pastors should definitely do the same.

[Jhn 10:12-13 NKJV] 12 “But a hireling, [he who is] not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 “The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

Far too many pastors act like a hireling, because they limit what they do to to services and perhaps some limited interaction during office hours at the church.  This has some merit, since a pastor or other church leader can easily be pulled in many different directions if he is not careful, but using that excuse to justify ignoring the need for strong emotional and spiritual healing in the congregation.

Keep in mind that the pastor or church leaders don’t have to personally head up the effort to help those in need.  They do have to do all the work themselves, they just need to provide the framework for such interaction.  Telling those involved to go to an outside counselor or just ignoring them outside of services is not sufficient or even appropriate to their leadership role.

Setting a good support framework up can make providing this kind of support much easier and meet the needs much more effectively.  Forming a group of godly and spiritual men to help men going through troubled times.  A similar group of godly and spiritual women should be prepared to help women going through similar struggles.  Both groups could use solid training to properly respond to the situations they are likely to face, but they can do much good even being available to spend time and listen to those going through such tough times.

Taking a Personal Role

You may just be a member or participant at a local church, but you can be helpful in this area even if you are not in a leadership role.  Reach out to those facing such challenges.  Be willing to listen to them or even invite them out to eat after a Sunday morning service.  Sending texts every few days to see how they are doing can also be very helpful.  I am sure God can give anyone willing to help out some good ideas for other ways to really help those in need.

The church should actively enable such efforts, but don’t wait for the church to do what it should be doing.  Do what you can and maybe the church will see it and put something more formal in place.  Either way the personal efforts will help out at least some people who need it and therefore have great value.

 

Getting a Handle on Fitness

Getting in Shape

[1Ti 4:8 NKJV] 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

Many Christians today must take this Scripture  too literally, based on the amount they are overweight.  I have unfortunately been one of those myself, since I was carrying at least 100 extra pounds at one point.  It was definitely noticeable, but I have a large frame and I don’t appear as heavy as I am.

Getting the news I was gong to be single soon started me on a path to drop about 20 of these pounds.  I have already cut many unhealthy things out, but I am getting much more radical now since I have decided to take better care of the body God gave me.

Eating Better

I have lost significant amounts of weight on the Atkins Diet (low carb) in the past and I am returning to that again, though with more of a Paleo approach.  I won’t ban anything, but I will stay away from many things, including most breads and deserts.  I do think good fresh fruits (or sometimes frozen) can be health, especially if I get back on having a daily smoothy with other health stuff mixed in.

I never drank sugar sodas much and quit diet sodas for the final time a while back, so I don’t have that.  I drink minimal alcohol, so I don’t have that adding to my weight pressure.  I do like cream in coffee, when I have it, but that will have to go since it is loaded with sugar.  Going almost pure water, with some straight coffee and teas is a reasonable target.  I have a SodaStream so I can get my fizzy fix without the calories.

Exercise

My goal is to get into solid weight lifting, likely following the principles of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.  I inherited my father’s build and I still have strong muscles even though I have not done much with them.  I figure I will look and feel much better developing these to a reasonable state.  I have no desire to be in any competitions or such, but using and developing the muscles I have is a good target.

I am also going to restart my active longer walks, perhaps going out for even longer times.  I have plenty of audio I can listen to if I get bored and doing that will at least get me out of the house so I don’t just sit around and play Destiny for hours.

It is a Journey

I expect this to be a journey, not a short sprint.  I am going to do things I can handle and not try and reach too far past that.  Keeping up motivation is the most important, so having some built-in motivation first and then consider expanding out is a good approach.

Honor God by Getting Healthy

I would encourage anyone reading this to evaluate your own health and do the things necessary to get yourself into a God-honoring state.  Many Christians are woefully overweight and need to realize that they are causing a lot of the sickness problems they face with their own diet and exercise choices.  Focus on changing that, even if only a bit at a time.  The effort will be worthwhile!

Keeping Your Focus

If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Meringue Pie

The saying normally says to make lemonade, but that is too plain.  I want to aim at something more interesting.  The pie would actually be outside my diet for some time, perhaps for the rest of my life, but it makes the point.

Keep Negativity in Check

One tough thing I have found is that it is hard to keep your mind on the right things.  It is very easy to get focused on the bad situation you are in.  Past or even ongoing wrongs by others can easily take over your mind if you aren’t watchful.  The mind is the most important component we must master.

[Rom 12:1-2 NKJV] 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We do not belong to ourselves.  We do not have the right to get stuck in any negative mindset.  We must serve our Lord, which may mean doing things we did not plan or choose.

[Rom 12:1-2 NKJV] 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We must let our minds be conformed into His image.  I expect to write more about that in the future.

I Get by With a Little Help from My Friends

[Ecc 4:12 NKJV] 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Do not insist on isolating yourself.  This can be the toughest part however.  Many you expect to help you may not do much of to make things easier.  Churches are often bad about supporting those under serious attack, especially when some involved think you caused the problem.

You will need to find a group that can help.  This may not be a single person, so don’t get fixated on that.  I have found a great deal of support at Dalrcok’s site and I highly recommend that site.  Those participating there are almost all supportive, but the arguments in the discussion below each post can be a bit rough, but even the discussions usually have great value when taken as a whole.

I wish finding those to support you was easier, but it is something that must be worked out.  No single path will fit everyone, but ultimately God will supply a way for those who seek Him.

Get God’s Wisdom

[Jas 1:5 NKJV] 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

God has promised to give you wisdom when you ask, so take advantage of that.  He is unlikely to tell you why everything happened the way it did, at least not in this life, but He will give you the Wisdom to find a successful path through it.

You are Not Alone, Whatever It Seems Like!

[1Co 10:13 NKJV] 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].

God will provide a way for you, however tough the path or length of the journey.  Know that He is there and seek the wisdom mentioned above.  This is an ongoing process, not a one time event.  You may never get beyond the journey until you move into the next life.

God has personally sent me many different support people in my own journey, which remains ongoing.  These usually came after a really tough time, so it wasn’t always pleasant waiting for this help, but it always came when I needed it the most.

I want to encourage you that you can make it!  He will provide the path as you seek Him!

 

If Momma Ain’t Happy, No One Ain’t Happy!

A Commonly Used Phrase

It is quite common for many preachers and others to use the phrase, “If momma ain’t happy, no one ain’t happy,” or some close variant.  The idea is that a happy family requires a happy mother.  The implication is that an unhappy momma will make for a very unhappy family, whether that woman is truly a mother or not.

This is True, to a Point

Of course any family with an unhappy momma is going to have a high level of unhappiness.  This will impact the entire household.

[Pro 21:9 NKJV] 9 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

[Pro 25:24 NKJV] 24 [It is] better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

Proverbs talks about other cases as well, and all clearly note that it is better to be alone than in a home with an unhappy woman.  This means that the statement can be reasonable on its own, but that is not usually the full point being made.

The Wrong Point

The problem with using this phrase is the implication that stands behind it.  The statement is often used to note that it is the responsibility of the others in the family, normally the husband, to make the wife happy.  The statement is usually part of telling husbands they need to do more to make sure their wife is happy.  A husband needs to do enough, the theory goes, to make sure his wife is happy at all times.  That will then make everything in the family go smoother.

An Impossible Goal

The underlying flaw in this idea is that no one can make anyone else happy all the time.  Each of us are responsible for our own state of mind, including our own happiness.  No one can ever do all the right things to make every last part of our lives happy, or sad for that matter.  This is why some people come out of life with a very cheerful attitude, while others going through the same things end up being extremely bitter and remain unhappy the rest of their lives.  These different results can happen whether the experiences were good or bad.

Happiness is Not the Main Point

[Neh 8:10 NKJV] 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for [this] day [is] holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength, not happiness in any form.  Life is much nicer with happiness, but no Scripture promises us a happy life or that we will always be happy.  Many Scriptures indicate that things in life will instead push against that happiness.   The ultimate point is that we must master our own emotions.

Women Must Master Their Own Feelings

Thus any woman must choose to control her own feelings, not expect someone else, not even her husband, to cater to her every whim and to keep her in a perfectly happy state.  She is the one who ultimately controls her response to what comes up, no one else.

The Monthly Cycle has a Huge Impact

Keep in mind as well that most woman spend a large chunk of their life going through the monthly fertility cycle, and their emotions will rise and fall during that time whatever happens.

Something that could make them happy on one day may be incredibly annoying on another.  Anyone trying to always provide the proper input for ongoing happiness will not even have a consistent target to aim at.  Thus he will often not be able to hit the happiness goal no matter what he does.  Expecting otherwise is setting everyone up for failure.

Focus on the Right Things!

It is very important that we watch our focus in this area and even correct those who are misleading others with this foolish phrase.  While it is true that momma’s happiness can impact the family, we must bring the focus back to momma’s role in that, not expect anyone else to make it easier to do what momma should be doing herself:  Mastering her own emotions.

I challenge you to think about it whenever this phrase comes to mind and to challenge others when they misuse it to excuse bad behavior.  We all must master our emotions, with God’s help, and bring them into conformity with the Scriptures.  Don’t expect an outside part to do what each individual should do themselves!

 

 

Help a Man Through A Lonely Time

The Time Between the Stages

Men who are frivorced (frivolous divorce) face a very lonely time in most churches in the time between the divorce is filed on them and the time the divorce is final.  This can easily take 5 months or more and can leave the man alone since he is no longer married, but is also not fully single.

No Longer Married

He is no longer married, since his wife has rejected that.  He cannot attend things aimed at married couples, since he is no longer part of a couple.  Some married couples, especially some other married men may seek to avoid him to make sure their own marriage doesn’t get the same infection.

Time he would have spent with his wife must now be filled with nothing. Motivation to do other activities, including some that need to be done or that would be enjoyable can be harder to generate.  Coming to terms with his new situation will take time and being completely alone makes it much harder than it should be.

Not Single Yet

Most singles activities will not be open to him either, since he is not truly single, at least not in the eyes of the State.  It will not matter if reconciliation is impossible, many leaders of churches and singles ministries will insist he must not participate because the government has not issued its decree yet.

This might be fair if churches had other ways to support such people, but others in the church are most likely already busy in their own activities and do not have any time to spare for his man, since their own plate is quite full with things to do.

Many churches end up rendering to Caesar what is God’s in this situation, which is truly tragic.

Blaming the Victim

We hear a lot today about not blaming the victim, but this often happens to the man in this situation as well.  Many wives will have shared their unhappiness and discontent before filing for divorce, leading many to blame the man for causing the circumstances that led to the divorce.  They may say the wife is guilty because she filed without cause, but they will still harbor thoughts that the man caused that by failing his marriage in an active or passive manner.

This can be very hard to address, since the deck is stacked against men in so many areas of modern life, including in the church.  People use foolish catch phrases that blame the man for not having a happy wife, for example.  This attitude can also be present in churches, even those that should know better.

Stop Being Idle and Reach Out – Getting By with a Little Help from His Friends

I would strongly challenge all those who read this, especially those in church leadership, to actively work to help resolve this problem and not just ignore it.  Invite such men into and activity you are already doing when possible.  Carve out an evening every so often. (Weekly or monthly can be good, especially if others are reaching out as well.)  Just sitting and listening to the man share his story, concerns and desires can be helpful.  A therapist can do some of this, but that is not the same as a friend in the same church taking time to personally reach out.

Do you know of anyone who has faced this?  What have you personally done to reach out and help them through this especially lonely time?  Some readers need to repent of their past lack of action and start actively looking for this situation in the future.  Don’t leave it to someone else or it will likely never get done!  Take action yourself.

[Jas 2:16 NKJV] 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what [does it] profit?

[Gal 6:10 NKJV] 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Be profitable to others, especially those in your own church!  Quit making excuses and be the Body, instead of just pretending!

What Does Forgiveness Require?

One of the common messages in many churches today is that we should forgive others, as is noted in the Scriptures.

What is Covered?

This is usually taken to note forgiving anything and everything, but I have questions about that as note in a previous post.

One thing that keeps coming to my mind as I have been studying the issue more is exactly what it means to forgive.

The Parable on Forgiveness

[Mat 18:23-27 KJV] 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

The forgiveness here noted complete elimination of the debt, not just more time to pay, something that was almost certainly impossible.

The servant then went out and didn’t follow the same pattern.

[Mat 18:28-30 KJV] 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

This servant could not apply the same forgiveness principle to another, even though the debt was much smaller and the one who owed it asked for the same leniency the original servant had just sought.

[Mat 18:31-35 KJV] 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

The real charge against the original servant was that he had not applied the same principle to the one who owed him money that he received.  His unwillingness to do that appears to have undone his former forgiveness, something that is worth considering.

Jesus leaves us with a command

[Mat 18:35 KJV] 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

This must be taken in the context of the parable however.  Both servants were repentant, but the original servant did not continue the forgiveness and cost himself.

What was Gained and Then Lost

The original servant gained complete deliverance from his massive debt at first.  The result of his forgiveness was that he didn’t owe something he could not pay.  He did not get a time extension or a payment plan, the consequences of his debt were completely removed, at least until his later action of not allowing the same forgiveness to others.

We are not clearly told whether the original servant would have been fine if he had allowed the other servant time to pay, though the implication was that even that would not have been appropriate based on the master’s response.  The almost certain expectation was that he would also remove the consequences of the 2nd servant’s debt as part of the process.

What Forgiveness Means

Forgiveness in this case meant removing the consequences of the sin that got both servants where they were.  Neither could immediately resolve the situation.  We do not know exactly what the servant in the latter case could do, we do not have enough information to know whether his debt was payable or not.  It seems like an amount that was reachable in that day, but we cannot be completely certain on that.  Either way, the idea is that the master expected the 1st servant to forgive the same way he was forgiven, which would involve removing any obligation for the debt.

So Who Must We Completely Remit?

The implications of what forgiveness means are deeper than many realize at first.  Saying we always need to forgive even the non-repentant would mean we need to also allow them to continue in their sinful actions, including those that work directly against us.  This may still be good in some cases, but can be dangerous in many areas of life.  Applying blanket forgiveness without any repentance and can create a very harmful society.  This is because those we forgive will normally go on and do the same to others, causing great harm.

That is why it is important to decide the exact results of forgiveness.  Let us not follow a favorite concept and ignore the whole of the Scriptures and its impact on the life of our society.  We must be very cautious.  We do not want to carry bitterness and unforgiveness around in ourselves, but neither do we want to remove others from the consequences of their sinful actions.  Sometimes letting someone reap the consequences of their sin is the best outcome for all involved.

Keep in mind that I am talking about the unrepentant here, not those who seek our forgiveness.  We need to be cautious even then.  I may forgive someone who harmed me or my family, but I will likely not spend time with them until I am fully convinced that aspect of their character has completely changed.  That would be the topic of another post however.

 

A Comment on New President Trump

I am not expecting to get into a great deal of politics here, except as it intersects the Word of God, but I wanted to make a short post nothing how impressed I am with the new US President Trump.

I am old enough to have voted in Reagan’s first election and even Saint Reagan did not do the number of things I have already seen Trump do.  Things also point to a very good outcome if he continues down what looks to be a very successful path.

How many Republican politicians mouthed words about being pro-life, but never did a thing to back those words up?  That used to an almost single issue vote driver for me, but it never made any serious change.

I decided this election that having a country left, which meant stopping the massive invasion of so many who were not Americans and who continue to drive us away from the foundation the founders of the country laid.  We have been going far from that for many years (something I may write about later), but we have been accelerating off the cliff very fast in the last few years.  I have argued that hitting the wall would be hard, whether it is at 80 MPH or 60 MPH, but the prospect of doing that is still not great.

I do not think even the best result of a Trump presidency can completely change some directions that are in place.  The idea of the melting pot I grew up being force fed is turning out to be completely untrue and we will definitely see more an more fissures in American society as everyone acts out on their own identity politics.  Everyone but whites have been doing it in recent history, and many whites are realizing they must stick together or hang separately.

Those who decry the bluntness of Trump really need to get in touch with reality.  He is the only one who has done anything in recent history and we would probably be terminal if his opponent had won and shoved her utopia down our throats.

I look forward to what his entire first term can do for our country.  I suspect he will have no trouble being reelected, especially since his opponents are acting like complete idiots in so many ways.