Thursday, May 21, 2009

Know what you're messing with.

A columnist I read wrote something worth repeating today. Miranda Devine, in the Sydney Morning Herald, commented: "In the end, men's drives are not all violent and predatory. Most have a deep, possibly hard-wired, desire to be noble and chivalrous. That's why in situations such as the Port Arthur Massacre, so many men died shielding their wives or women around them."
In crises, people of both genders (and all races) sometimes show their best and you can see how they are, after all, made in the image of God - even if that image gets distorted and blurred by the downside of their human nature.
Devine is replying to a litany of bitter critisism about mens' behaviour and their attitude to women. The background to this is a major news story getting ongoing coverage in Eastern Australia: another sex scandal, involving a major Rugby League club.
It seems that in 2002 the team, Cronulla Sharks, were in New Zealand to play and after the game two of them pursuaded a young woman to accompany them back to their hotel room for sex. Then, the story goes, other players came to the room and joined in. At the time, the woman agreed to it; and according to some of her workmates, she boasted about it to them the next day. Years afterwards she came forward to tell a journalist that the experience had left her feeling used and abused.
It's gross behaviour, rightly enough. The men involved simply used the woman and probably regarded her another notch to mark up in their list of 'conquests'.
But in all the commentary, some women have been honest enough to say that they too treat men like trophies. Some (not all,not even most, but some) women treat it as bagging a trophy to have an encounter of that kind with male celebrity.
Dare I say that this is a really bad idea? Or is that 'being judgemental' etc etc?
A human being is not an article to be toyed with, some sort of plaything. Collecting celebrity autographs might be a harmless hobby, but collecting more intimate souvenirs of other human beings becomes a gross misuse of what was made by God, for God's purposes and which should be respected because the Creator should be. You would not collect a piece of the Mona Lisa to show off, because that is a misuse of a famous work of art. You would damage it for your own bad satisfaction.
It is worse to help yourself to part of a human being in a way which demeans them.
Most people agree that it is wrong to kill. What they don't always realize is, it is just as bad to damage something by misusing it. And they don't seem to get that using someone in some sort of ego trip is damaging because it makes them into a target, or a trophy if you can get them. And it is not just men who do this.
Some men try blaming women for their own bad behaviour: 'she led me on', etc. To do that is to deny responsibility for your own actions. So many things that people regret afterwards would not happen if we all just 'got it'; a human being is not a plaything or something to use for your own pleasure.
So here's the irony. Some 'modern thinkers' say that we're all too 'hung up' about sex, and should be more 'liberated' about it. Then when some individuals act in a 'liberated' way - do just what they feel like on the spur of the moment - it can end in anger and tears.
I could be accused of trying to impose my views on others here, but the reply to that is: look what happens around you, and see if what I'm saying is wrong.
If you wrote a history of bad ideas in human history, they would all have one thing in common. They ignored the guidelines and advice given by God's Word about how to live. The way I heard it put once is this: the Bible is the owner's manual for how to run your life. God is not just a spoilsport or dictator, He knows what will and will not work in trying to make life good. If you reckon you know better, you might find He knows better than people realize. Trust me! I've had some bad ideas, and found out after the event just how bad they were!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Remember where your help comes from.

If anyone reads this, you'll soon see that it's not original, but it still might be important. If anyone out there is feeling frightened by the Swine Flu threat, and all the media hype about it,remember: things like this have happened before. And what was true then is still true.
Some utterly shocking and horrifying things can happen in this world - but human beings can be completley safe and protected from them.
God sees all and He cares. I can identify with people who are worried, because I'm a worrier myself. But there are answers, places to go for reassurance.
King David, who wrote the psalms, seems to have experienced the full range of human emotions, including fear. And he put his reassurance into words for others.
Psalm 91 says:
verse 2:"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God in Whom I trust.
verse 3: Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare,
and from the DEADLY PESTILENCE. (emphasis added).

Several times in the last few years, it's been said that the world is 'overdue' for another influenze pandemic, like the horror that swept through it in 1918-19.
Add this thought to the global recession, and the wars happening now, and it would be possible to lose all hope. That is what the evil one wants: loss of hope, loss of faith in God. Despair. And the evil one should be denied that satisfaction.

"A thousand might fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."
If you read more of the same psalm, you see it talks about the punishment of the wicked. It is not my place to howl at people about their sins being judged. It is just for me to be thankful that God cares and will uphold us.
We need not fear. We need only to watch. Whether the Lord comes soon or in many more years, He is not unaware or uncaring. Fearful things might happen in this world, but God has not forgotten or abandoned us.
For whatever it is worth, may I wish you all God's blessings. In all your ways trust Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It doesn't have to be this way.

It's not good to be judgemental. I could find myself pointing the finger at others and forgetting my own shortcomings. But it's impossible not to be disappointed at some of the things you see.
Why did Mel Gibson have to go and do what he did?
It's his life, I can't live it. He doesn't answer to me. But if we have concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, we can't help thinking BAD IDEA sometimes.
Mel Gibson had been married to the same lady for thirty years. That is a real contrast to some prominent entertainers who seem to change relationships like they change fashion clothes. Also, Mr Gibson had stayed with the wife of his youth, the lady who was there for him before he was famous. Some people don't. When they start 'moving up' in life, they obtain a bigger better house, a bigger flashier car and a more ostentatious partner, to go with their new image. As a Christian, I found it inspiring to see this person avoiding all that. They had seven children - showing faith and hope in life, not giving way to the cynicism which goes with avoiding children because you fear for the future. And there was "The Passion Of The Christ". It was harrowing to watch, but it looked to me like a magnificent representation of the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. It was said people actually became saved because the film made that much impression on them. So this seems like a human used of God to evangelise, share the Word and use his art to the glory of God instead of just his own vanity or profit.
There were problems. There was the time Mel was stopped for drunk driving and had a huge vent about Jewish people. NOT the right approach for a Christian. But we all have bad moments.
The latest thing is just tinny. Walking out of his marriage for a younger woman. Originality factor 0 our of 1000.
I don't judge this man. It just disappoints when someone who showed the world what a difference Christ could make, let it fall.
I'm in some position to comment. My marriage broke up - and we got it back together again. That was now 24 years ago. The relationship blew up and humanly speaking, we'd both had enough. There was no third party involved, except the evil one. Pressures beyond our control combined perniciously with our human shortcomings to wreck the relationship. What God led us to do is shown by Proverbs 3 vs 5-6:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
If the two of us had followed our feelings, we would have called it off. But we both felt we should do what the Lord's Word said. We did. And it worked. The credit belongs to God, not us. The point here is, a spiteful win for evil was taken from it and turned into a victory for God. Of our five children, three were born after we were brought back together. It's as if evil wanted to stop them coming into the world! This year the relationship has lasted 29 years. God grant it lasts all our lives. Now THAT is what God can do.
I can't make it my place to rebuke Mel Gibson. All I can say it, it need not have been that way. He apparently asked some bishops to pray for him. So he knows God is part of the equation. And it need not have ended the way it did. God invented marriage. He said we become one flesh. And what God has joined, no human should take apart. We become one flesh. That literally DOES happen when children are born. They literally do combine the physical identity of both parents, in one.
Tell me if you think I'm wrong. Tell me if you agree. I need the counsell and fellowship other Christians, be they male or female, young or old, whatever their race. We are all made in the image of God and He gave His Word to us all. We CAN avoid lapsing into the weak behaviour of the world. It may not be easy, but ALL things are possible with God.
The maker of a brilliant Christian film might have attracted the rage of satan. But he need not be beaten by it.