Thursday, April 12, 2018

5 Places We Search for Security

I once heard it said that “security is perhaps the greatest of all human longings.”[1] At first, I balked at this statement thinking that love was the greatest of all human longings. But having contemplated this topic more in depth, I’ve concluded that being loved brings us security, meaning that security is the underlying longing. Not only do I believe it is the underlying longing behind love, but I believe it is the underlying longing behind most, if not all, of what we do.

If you’ve read some of my articles, then you know that I’ve made the claim that the motivation behind everything we do is the achievement of happiness. You may be wondering how this claim meshes with my new claim that the longing for security is the underlying motivator behind everything we do. Here’s my answer: The drive for security and happiness are one in the same drive. When we feel secure, we feel happy; when we feel happy, we feel secure.

In a previous article titled The Biggest Hindrance to Your Happiness, I claimed that the greatest barrier to our happiness is settling for something temporary when we’ve been offered something eternal. One of the ways in which we settle for something temporary is when we put our trust in things which aren’t bulletproof. In other words, we settle for finding security in people and things which, given a certain set of circumstances, may come through for us, but given a different set of circumstances, they will fail us.

In this article, I’ll be sharing five of the places where Americans attempt to find security and then I’ll share the place where I’ve been attempting to find security based upon my successes and failures chasing these other five things.

1. Money

Since money is the biggest form of currency in this country, many Americans attempt to find security in stockpiling lots of money. Having lots of money can give us a feeling of security because we have hope that its purchasing power will enable us to meet our needs.

How much security does money really offer us? When the government is stable and the economy is going well, money offers us a pretty good amount of security. But what would happen if the government collapsed? Our pieces of paper that say $10 and $20 on them would be absolutely worthless. Even if all our currency was distributed in gold and silver coins, those coins are only worth something because someone ascribed valued to them. Think about it…gold, silver, bronze, copper, and platinum are nothing more than rocks someone pulled out the ground. They only have value because they are in high demand. If people no longer cared to obtain those rocks, then they’d no longer be valuable.

If money’s not the answer, then what is the answer? Is it to buy a bunch of stuff with all the money we have? Let’s take a look.

2. Material Possessions

A great way to diversify your portfolio is to trade some of your money, which is all one currency, for material possessions which are a diversity of currencies. If the government collapses and your money becomes worthless, then maybe some of your stuff might be worth something. Maybe it would bring you more security than your money.

The level of security your material possessions bring depends on its usefulness to you and other people. For example, if you have a vehicle which is powered by gasoline, but you can’t buy gasoline to run it, then it’s going to be completely useless. Or if you have a house with a leaky roof, then it’s going to be pretty useless. Once again, the only reason your stuff has any value is because you and other people have ascribed value to it. Things aren’t ascribed value simply because they’re valuable; they’re ascribed value because someone is willing to trade a certain amount of currency for them.

Under certain circumstances, material possessions can provide us with security. But when faced with a different set of circumstances, they will inevitably fail us.

3. Jobs

Another place many Americans find security is in their jobs. They wake up every morning with no concerns about whether they’re going to be able to work that day. And as a result, they continue to see and expect a consistent paycheck to hit their bank accounts every two weeks.

But what happens when we have a JC Penny or Sears episode on our hands? How secure do you think employees of these two retail stores are feeling right now? As long as everything is going well for the company you work for, you’ll find security in your job. But when the circumstances change and it appears you may not have a job tomorrow, you’re going to find much less security in your job.

4. Other People

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t care what other people think about them, at least to some degree. When our relationships are going well, we can find a lot of security in what other people think about us.

But what happens when even just one person out of your entire social network says something hurtful to you. Don’t you feel like everyone hates you? You may receive 1,000 compliments from other people, but those compliments only provide you security as long as you don’t receive any criticism. Even just one piece of criticism or one bad relationship can completely rock your world.[2]

Once again, this place of finding security is going to fail us because all humans are sinful and therefore will hurt us from time to time.

5. Personal Skill Sets

Many people, especially guys, are guilty of finding security in their abilities. It’s not always as overt as finding security in how much weight they can bench press, but that’s a great example of a place where people may find security. Some people find it in how much weight they can lift while others find it in their carpentry skills, project management skills, athletic skills, or knowledge retention skills.

Our skills don’t fail us as long as we remain young and healthy. But what happens as we get older and lose the ability to bench press hundreds of pounds? Or what happens if we get hurt? All of a sudden we lose the security we found in our skills because we either no longer have them or we can no longer utilize them in the same capacity.

Our skills may be working for us now, but inevitably, we’re going to lose the ability to do all the things we do. If we live long enough, we’re probably going to be pretty useless when it comes to doing much of anything.

Where I’m Learning to Find My Security

The problem we face with attempting to find security in all these things, as well as a host of other things in this world, is that they’re all going to fail us at one point or another. There’s no silver bullet answer for us…or is there?

I’ve been down the path of trying to find security in all five of the areas I mentioned above. As long as I had those things, I felt secure. But there have been times when I’ve lost those things. Where was I to put my trust at that point? Was I to put it in more of the same stuff?

Personally, I have found so much more security in God than I’ve found in any of the things he’s created. According to the Bible, which I believe to be God’s means of communicating with us, he reminds us that birds don’t sow, reap, or stockpile any food, yet he meets their needs every single day. After giving us this reminder, he then proceeds to ask: Are you not more valuable to him than them?[3]

Finding security in God is different than finding security in any of the stuff he has created because he will never fail us. Certainly there will be times where we don’t get what we want. We may lose all our money. We may lose all our stuff. We may lose our jobs. We may be rejected by other people. And we will get old one day. But that doesn’t mean God is failing us. Maybe in the midst of all the pain we experience in losing those things, God is trying to show us that those things can’t give us the security for which we long. But instead, when we place our trust in him, our longing, hungry souls will be satisfied.

I recognize it takes a lot of faith to put our trust in God, especially since we can’t even see him and don’t have sufficient evidence to claim with 100 percent confidence he exists. However, I’d argue that it takes just as much, if not more, faith to put our trust in all of his created stuff, since we know it will fail us, than it does to put our trust in him. I’d encourage you to stew on that thought for a little while.

Do you attempt to find security in any of the five things I’ve presented in this article? What other things do you or the people around you look to in an attempt to find security? Have you found any other bulletproof answers?

[1] John N. Oswalt, The Bible among the Myths (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), location 676, Kindle eBook.
[2] For a lengthier discussion on this topic, see Jon Acuff, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Do Work That Matters (Brentwood, TN: Lampo Press, 2013), 153.
[3] See Matthew 6:25-34.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

This Wasn't My Plan

Following a meeting I was a part of the other day with a few people I greatly respect, I engaged in a short conversation with one of the participants. He asked me what I was doing these days and I proceeded to tell him about the many hats I wear. In all seriousness, he then turned to me and said, "It’s really cool you’re getting to do what you want to do.”

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have made similar comments to me during the last five years. I’m appreciative of their excitement for me, but what they don’t realize and I rarely have the heart to tell them is that this wasn’t my plan. I never, in all my wildest dreams, would’ve made these plans for my life. I had a totally different set of plans for nearly everything in my life.

My Dreams

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for my career. After getting through the “I want to be a professional athlete” phase of my life, I landed on being an architect which then transitioned into wanting to become a civil engineer. I wanted to get my degree from the University of Cincinnati which boasts a great engineering program so that I could design and then manage the construction of skyscrapers and bridges. I wouldn’t have argued if I would’ve been promoted to be a CEO of a large construction company at some point in my career.

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for my marriage. I dreamed of one day marrying a hot blonde chick who stayed at home to take care of the house, kids, and make dinner for me. I hate to admit this, but I basically dreamed that she would exist to take care of me and meet my every last need.

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for having kids. I dreamed of having two or three kids starting around the age of 27 or 28 and having them separated by two or three years.

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for my finances. I dreamed of being a millionaire by the time I turned 30, retiring early, and being able to save enough money that I could solely live off the interest from my investments. I wanted to have so much money that I could buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it.

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for my home. I dreamed of living in the country on a large tract of land where I could go completely off the grid. I envisioned using ground water as my water supply, raising/growing my own food, and using a combination of wind and solar energy for my electricity. And I dreamed of having a pond out back where I could catch some monster fish. I would’ve been perfectly content to not be anywhere in the vicinity of another neighbor.

I grew up having a totally different set of plans for church. I dreamed of being a part of a normal church congregation where we attended the Sunday morning church service once a week, paid our dues, and continued on with life.

For those of you who know what I’m up to these days, you know this isn’t the way my life has turned out. My current circumstances don’t look anything like I planned.

How Have My Dreams Turned Out?

It wasn’t my plan to attend college at Ohio Northern University.

It wasn’t my plan to quit my job at Turner Construction after eighteen months.

It wasn’t my plan to work at and then leave Marathon Petroleum.

It wasn’t my plan to work at a church for a tenth of the salary I was making at Marathon.

It wasn’t my plan to preach every Sunday for eight months at that church.

It wasn’t my plan to quit my church job a year later and go to seminary.

It wasn’t my plan to become a stay-at-home husband who took care of the house and made dinner for Amy.

It wasn’t my plan to not have a formal job for a couple years and therefore only a single income.

It wasn’t my plan to work as the interim ReStore Manager at Habitat for Humanity or be on the construction management team for their new building in Findlay.

It wasn’t my plan to start a website design business.

It wasn’t my plan to start blogging.

It wasn’t my plan to marry Amy, a beautiful brunette who enjoys her supervisory position at Marathon and would go absolutely stir crazy at home all day.

It wasn’t my plan to not have kids by this point.

It wasn’t my plan to not be able to buy whatever I want to buy when I want to buy it.

It wasn’t my plan to live in a neighborhood, shop at a grocery store, and purchase electricity.

It wasn’t my plan to be a missionary every day of my life.

None of these things were in the plans I had for my life. That’s not to say nothing has gone the way I hoped it would. After all, I did plan on getting a degree in civil engineering, working for a large construction company like Turner, getting married, having a pond out back, being a Christian, and having good health. But for a perfectionist like me, it’s only acceptable if everything goes according to plan.

A New Perspective

When my dreams started not working out the way I originally planned, I reasoned that one or two setbacks weren’t going to really hurt much. But then when more and more of them weren’t getting fulfilled and all hope of them being fulfilled was gone, I became pretty frustrated. I argued with God about it for quite a while because I felt like he just kept taking more and more and more from me. I was bitter for a while. More than anything, I was bitter with God that he wasn’t letting me run my life the way I wanted to run it.

But then my perspective began to shift. What would’ve happened if everything had gone according to my plans?

I wouldn’t have met Amy, the best life-long spouse anyone could ask for.

I wouldn’t have met all my awesome friends.

I wouldn’t have gotten to meet all the great people I’ve worked with.

I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to play hockey.

I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to participate with Jesus in his plans.

I wouldn’t have had so many of my worthless idols destroyed.

And most importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to cultivate a relationship with the God of the universe.

Knowing what I know now, I’m pretty sure that if things would’ve gone according to my plans, I would’ve been a miserable person. Yeah, I would’ve had everything I wanted, but I would’ve continued wanting more and more because I still wouldn’t have been completely satisfied. Actually, studies show that once we reach a certain point, the more people have, the more dissatisfied they are. More of the same stuff doesn’t satisfy us. Although more money, bigger houses, nicer cars, hotter wives, and better sex can temporarily satisfy us, none of those things can completely satisfy our longing souls. We need to continue going back to those wells over and over and over again to be filled.

But Jesus said that the “water” he offers will make it so that we’re never thirsty again.[1] He is the only one who can satisfy us completely. If my plans had worked out the way I dreamed they would, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to experience the satisfaction and contentment I find every day in Jesus.

As bitter as I used to be about it, I’m not bitter anymore. How could I be? I gave up (at many times I came kicking and screaming) my plans in order to embrace Jesus’s set of plans which bring me such a greater level of satisfaction and contentment than my original plans ever could.

A Closing Story

In the same conversation with my highly-respected colleague, he made the comment that I seemed extremely calm and relaxed. He’s absolutely right; I am very calm and relaxed these days.

For those of you who’ve known me for a long time, you know that I used to be anything but calm and relaxed. I used to be pretty high-strung. I was regularly on edge and would get quite animated when I felt as though someone was trying to interrupt my plans.

But the contentment I’ve found in Jesus has caused me to be calm and relaxed. I’m not concerned anymore about trying control how my life turns out; that’s his problem now. I trust him to make better plans for my life than I ever could. And having had a chance to watch his plans be implemented instead of mine, I’d say he’s doing a fantastic job!

Now, I want to challenge you to think about your life. Think back to when you were younger. What big dreams did you have for your life? Have your dreams been fulfilled? If not, do you think your life has turned out better or worse than if your dreams would’ve been fulfilled? If it has turned out the way you planned, have you achieved your ultimate goal of being completely satisfied, or do you find you’re still longing for something more?

[1] See John 4:1-15.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Why I Love Easter

What’s that one holiday you love more than all the others? Is it Thanksgiving? Is it Christmas? Is it the 4th of July? For me, it’s Easter. Forget the furry bunnies, colored eggs, peeps, and jelly beans. I could care less about those. I love Easter for a completely different reason. I love it because its purpose is to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’ve probably realized that I spend a lot of time talking about Jesus. I don’t talk about him because I get paid to talk about him or because I think I’m going to earn special standing with him. I’ve made a whopping total of $0 from writing these articles and I certainly don’t earn any type of prestige for it. Instead, I talk about Jesus because of how much I love him. I can’t help it. So what holiday could possibly be better than one which celebrates his work?

What Did Jesus Do That’s Worth Celebrating?

In a few of the articles I’ve written, I’ve shared about my belief that I have an evil heart condition. That doesn’t mean I run around purposely trying to hurt people, but it does mean that I’m, by nature, a sinner who lives in rebellion to God. The wages I’ve earned as a result of my rebellious nature is not only spiritual and physical death, but also having the cup of God’s wrath poured out on me. None of this is unjust; I deserve every bit of it. I don’t believe this to only be my condition, but I also believe it to be the intrinsic condition of every human who has ever walked the face of the earth, all that is except Jesus.

According to the Bible, when humans were first created, they were not enmeshed in sin. Instead, they were perfect beings who were spiritually alive and not deserving of death. But they betrayed their creator, God, and became enmeshed in sin. This sin continued to carry over into their offspring and was passed down from generation to generation with no hope of ever being able to do anything to set themselves free from this condition.

But God, being a loving Father, chose to rescue some of their offspring from this inherited condition. He chose to set them free from their captivity so that they could be raised to life spiritually and experience eternal life with him. However, it didn’t come without a price because the price still had to be paid for their sin. It wasn’t like God could just sweep it under the rug and act like it never happened. So God chose to offer someone else who wasn’t a sinner and wasn’t deserving of death to die in their place. And the person he chose to be the substitute was himself.

Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent God the Son to earth as a human being known as Jesus. He lived a life just like all of us, only without sin. He was turned over to the governing authorities by people who thought he was a heretic and was killed by being hung for hours on a cross. During that time, he not only experienced the physical pain of being flogged and hung on the cross, but he also experienced the Father’s divine wrath being poured out on him.

Jesus didn’t deserve any of these punishments. He had done nothing wrong. Instead, I’m the one who deserved those punishments. Moreover, all of us deserved those punishments. But God, being loving, gracious, and merciful, chose to suffer his own punishment, a punishment he didn’t deserve, in our place. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? But it wouldn’t have nearly the same significance if the story ended here.

Oh Death, Where Is Your Sting?

After having passed away on the cross, Jesus was buried in a tomb. This tomb wasn’t like what we think of when we think of a tomb. No one dug a hole and buried him in the ground. Instead, his tomb was cut into the side of a rock. And a large stone was rolled over the entrance for obvious reasons.

Three days later, a few of his followers went to the tomb. Upon arrival, they observed that the stone had been rolled away and his body was gone. At first, they thought someone had come and stolen the body. But then he appeared to them and showed them the marks on his body from where he had been crucified three days earlier. Jesus accomplished something no one else had ever done: he resurrected from the dead! After showing himself to about five hundred people over the course of forty days, he ascended to heaven where he is currently dwelling with the Father.

Does that mean Jesus’s work is done on earth? Not at all. He continues to do his work on this earth every single day. He’s intimately involved in every single detail of everything that takes place in order to draw all of his people to him and transform them into his image. And ultimately, his goal in accomplishing these two things is to unite all his people not only to one another, but also to him for all of eternity.

What Did I Do to Receive God’s Gift?

Nothing. I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t confess my sins, pray a prayer, or walk an aisle. God did all of this for me before I was even born. Once he opened my spiritual eyes to understand that this is what took place and gave me the faith to not only believe, but life in accordance with it, I chose to follow him. But my following of him was merely a byproduct of his work; it wasn’t the cause of his work. There’s a big difference between the two.

My hope and prayer for all of you reading this article is that God has and will continue to show you the same love, mercy, and grace he’s shown me. I hope to one day be united together with you and Jesus as we collectively and joyfully worship him for all of eternity.

I love to celebrate Easter because I love to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would be like if he hadn’t risen from the dead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Responding to Fiery Trials

No one likes arrogant people.

You know the people I’m talking about. At some point during seemingly every conversation, they manage to find some way to toot their own horn. They think so highly of themselves that they believe it’s an honor for you to have the opportunity to know and spend time with them. Sometimes they try to hide their lofty opinion of themselves with modest comments, but you know they really don’t mean it. You can see right through their transparent façade.

My Struggle

I have a confession to make: I’m one of these people. I’ve struggled a lot with arrogance my entire life. I guess you could say that I was born with it. There are days when I wake up thinking I’m pretty awesome. Before I had a filter, I used to run around telling everyone how great I thought I was. Now that I’m a little older, I’ve adopted a filter and learned how to mask it pretty well, but deep down I still struggle with it a lot.

I don’t want to be arrogant. I don’t want to run around every day tooting my own horn. I don’t want to have this perception in my head that I’m better than everyone else and that when I show up, I’m gracing them with my presence.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Well, if you hate it so much, then do something about it brother.” Believe me, I’ve tried. Once I began to recognize that arrogance was not only culturally taboo but also sinful, I began taking steps to try to eliminate it from my life. I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t any better than anyone else. I tried to focus conversations away from talking about me. I tried to downplay peoples’ compliments to avoid sounding arrogant. But none of these strategic steps actually took away the problem; they did nothing more than mask it a little. It’s like any other sin: it’s not something I can wish away and then watch it magically disappear overnight. Nor can I pull up my bootstraps and “get ‘er done.” I’ve decided that it’s not something I nor anyone else has the power to fix.

My Fiery Trials

Four years ago, God decided it was time for him to begin chipping away at my arrogance. When I say chipping away, I mean chipping away. He didn’t take a shovel and scoop it all out at once; instead, he began chiseling away at it one small step at a time.

After the first year of chiseling, I began thinking I was in pretty good shape. I thought I was finally humble! But just when I got to thinking God was done, he picked up right where he left off and kept on chiseling away.

Another year went by and I once again noticed that more of my arrogance was gone. But I also once again made the mistake of thinking I had arrived, only to realize that God wasn’t done yet; he still had more work to do.

Three months ago, I found myself in a place where I recognized the need for him to continue chiseling away at my arrogance. So I did the worst thing, or the best thing depending on how you look at it, I could do. I prayed for him to humble me. Now you know what happens when you pray something like this, right? God’s going to challenge the biggest point of arrogance in your life. It was no different for me. The only difference was that I recognized what he was going to do before he did it; he was going to challenge the arrogance I exuded due to my hockey skills. I had just come off the best season of my life. I led the league in points for most of the season and my team, of which I was the captain, had just come away from having a near-perfect record. I certainly had something about which to be arrogant.

As it was becoming clear what was about to happen, I was tempted to tell God that hockey was off limits. But seeing as he’s on the throne of my heart, I quickly recognized that there’s no area off limits to him. And even if I tried to hold it back, it wasn’t going to do any good because he’s so good that he always gets his way. It was going to happen one way or another, so I could either jump on board or come kicking and screaming. As hard as I knew it was going to be, I chose to jump on board.

Over the last three months, God has been doing exactly what he said he was going to do: He challenged the objects of arrogance. First, our team lost our two best players, so we finished the season with a losing record. Second, I spent the first half of the season struggling to score. And third, I experienced a debilitating pinched sciatic nerve which prohibited me from skating to my full potential. To make matters worse, my nerve issues have caused me great pain in both my lower back and leg which make it extremely painful for me to function every day. (For those of you who may be concerned about my health, I have consulted with a doctor and have been following orders to get healed. It’s just taking way longer than I want it to take.)

I can’t even begin to explain how painful the past two months have been both physically and emotionally. Yet, I’m so excited about what the pain means for me! As one of the biblical writers once said:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.[1]
My goal in life isn’t to make it to the NHL or for that matter, play professional hockey in any capacity. But I do have a goal to be transformed into the image of Jesus. And since I see that the pain I’m experiencing is part of God’s work to make me more like Jesus, why would I be frustrated with the setbacks I’ve experienced in the last couple months? Instead, I rejoice in the setbacks because God has orchestrated them at exactly this time in order to further transform my heart to be like his heart and to grow my faith in him.

Once this round of chiseling is over, will I have finally arrived at my destination of being completely humble? Not at all. I still won’t be as humble as Jesus. Actually, I’ve realized I won’t be fully transformed into the image of Jesus in this life.[2] But because of the work he’s been doing in me recently, I’m one step closer to it than I was three months ago. This is great news both for me and for the people who have to put up with me!

Your Fiery Trials

Are you in the midst of a fiery trial? I’ve observed that the fiery trials going on in my life give me a glimpse into the work God is doing in my heart and I’ll bet the same is true in your life. For example, much of my arrogance comes from me deriving a sense of security from my own abilities. God has been removing the things from which I derive a sense of security because he’s calling me to rely on him for my sense of security. In the same way, God has probably orchestrated the fiery trial in your life to remove the things in which you’re trusting so that you can trust him more.

The question is: How are you going to respond to your fiery trial? Are you going to view it as a nuisance? Or are you going to view it as being orchestrated by God for the transformation of your heart and the deepening of your faith in him?

[1] James 1:2-4.
[2] See Philippians 3:12.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Can a Homosexual Be a Christian?

Homosexuality, and really all forms of sexuality, seems to be one of, if not the most culturally sensitive topic at the present moment. Some people deem homosexuality acceptable while others deem it unacceptable. I know people on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between.

This topic is also heavily debated within the Christian community. Entire church denominations are wrestling with the level of involvement of homosexuals in their congregations. I think the question at hand in the church is really this: Can a homosexual be a Christian?

Honestly, I’ve been very hesitant to write about this topic because no matter what I say, I’m sure I’ll offend almost everyone who reads this article; both Christians and non-Christians could be offended. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to write this article because I seem to have a different perspective on it than most people I know. As always, I’m going to be answering this question with the Bible. If you’re tempted to stop reading at this point thinking you already know what I’m going to say, I would encourage you to continue reading because you may actually be very surprised by my perspective.

First Things First

Rather than beat around the bush on the issue in order to be politically correct, I’m just going to go straight to the heart of the matter: God calls homosexuality a sin. If you disagree with this point, then feel free to take up the matter with God; he’s the one who said it. Here are three specific passages from the Bible which condemn the practice of homosexuality:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. – Leviticus 18:22
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. – Romans 1:26-27
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Whether we like it or not, the Bible is clear that homosexuality is sin.

Some passages of scripture, such as Old Testament laws about sacrifices, were written for people at a certain time in history. Do these passages fall into that category or do they still apply to us today? It is true that these passages of scripture were written to certain groups of people. However, the truth contained in these passages remains just as applicable today as it did many years ago. Homosexuality is still just as much sin today as it was back then.

How Severe of a Sin Is Homosexuality?

Sometimes you may hear Christians attempt categorize sins with some being more or less severe than others. When considering homosexuality, many Christians I’ve interacted with categorize it as a severe sin. Therefore, it is assumed that homosexuals cannot be Christians. This thought process is backed up with the verses I quoted above from 1 Corinthians which state that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But when I read the Bible, I don’t see any mention, let alone the condoning, of categorizing sin. It’s just not there. The biblical writers viewed all sin and its consequences in the same way. According to one biblical writer, “The wages of sin is death…”[1] The “severity” of the offense is inconsequential. The first humans to walk the earth ate a piece of fruit they were forbidden to eat, and the consequence of their sin was death. In the second generation, one human killed another, and the consequence of his sin was death. According to the Bible, a sin is a sin is a sin is a sin. All sin is offensive to God and all of it is deserving of death.

If we take a closer look at the verses I quoted from 1 Corinthians, we’ll see this point confirmed. The writer of these verses listed a host of sinners who would not inherit the kingdom of God. He listed homosexuals, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Do you know anyone who solely worships God? I don’t. Everyone I know, including myself, is an idolater. Do you know anyone who hasn’t looked at another person lustfully? I don’t. Everyone I know, including myself, is an adulterer. Do you know anyone who hasn’t been greedy? I don’t. Everyone I know, including myself, is greedy to one degree or another. Every single one of us is deserving of death because we are all sinners.

Why Do Christians Believe They Will Inherit the Kingdom of God?

If all people are sinners and therefore deserving of death, then why do Christians believe they will inherit the kingdom of God? Be prepared: My answer to this question is going to challenge both Christians and non-Christians alike.

Simply calling ourselves Christians doesn’t change what we deserve; we still deserve death. Simply calling ourselves Christians doesn’t change our sin; we still live in sin every single day. And there’s nothing we can do to stop sinning because there’s nothing we can do to change our heart condition; our hearts are still evil at the core. We’re not spiritually sick; we’re spiritually dead.[2] Last time I checked, dead people couldn’t do anything, let alone raise themselves from the dead.

The hope Christians have in inheriting the kingdom of God doesn’t come from anything they do or don’t do; it comes from the work of their Savior, Jesus Christ. As one biblical writer put it, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[3] We were enemies of God because of our sin. But God’s love is so great for his people that although we were his enemies and although we wanted nothing to do with him and although we were still enmeshed in wickedness and sin, he came to earth as a human being and suffered the punishment we deserved. Jesus, God in human form, lived a sinless earthly life and suffered his own divine wrath in our place. Christians will inherit the kingdom of God only because of what Jesus did; they have absolutely nothing to do with it.

If Jesus died in the place of idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers while they were still sinners, then can’t we also conclude that he died in the place of homosexuals while they were still sinners? If Jesus was waiting around for all his people to fix themselves before saving them from eternal death, then no one would inherit the kingdom of God.

Doesn’t God Want Our Sinful Lifestyles to Change?

A common argument for why homosexuals can’t be Christians is because homosexuality is a lifestyle rather than something which randomly happens from time to time. The problem with this argument is that it disqualifies everyone, not just homosexuals, from being Christians.

Do you know a single Christian who doesn’t struggle with habitual sin? I don’t. All of us, including me, your family and friends, and even every church pastor, struggle with habitual sin every single day. The worst part is that we are only occasionally aware of it.

Here’s where it gets really challenging. When I read the biblical stories of people who I know belong to God (because it says so), I don’t see God revealing all their sin to them while they are alive. One obvious example of this is with King David, a guy who is labeled “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet, David had a harem of wives. Having multiple wives was just as much a sin 3,000 years ago as it is today. But there is no record in scripture of God revealing this sin to David. He lived a lifestyle of sin. Does that mean he wasn’t one of God’s people? Not at all. The Bible makes it very clear that David belonged to God.

As followers of Jesus whose hearts are being transformed to be like his heart, we will grow to detest sin, and specifically the sin inside of us. It’s not all going to happen at once; it’s something which seems to gradually take place over time. For example, I struggle with habitual arrogance. Did I recognize my sin when I first began following Jesus? Not at all. But over time, he has been revealing how deep my sin goes. I’m now at the point where I absolutely detest my arrogance. But that doesn’t mean my struggle has ended. I still struggle with it. I still find myself regularly being arrogant. The only way for my arrogance to change is for God to transform my heart, a process which takes lots of time. Will God fully remove my arrogance while I’m living on this planet? I don’t know. I hope so.

That’s just way that sin has invaded my life. I’m absolutely certain there are other areas where sin is present of which I’m completely unaware. Does that make it any less sin? Not at all. It’s just that God hasn’t point it out to me yet. And similar to King David’s struggle with adultery, he may never point it out.

In the same way, homosexuality is a sin which God may or may not decide to point out to people who struggle with it. If he does point it out, things probably aren’t going to change overnight; it may take a lifetime for them to change. In the meantime, it’s going to continue to be a struggle. Hopefully God is gracious enough, like he has been with me, to transform their hearts during this life.

Some Final Thoughts

As Christians, we need to remember that God is in charge and not us. Even if he has given us a participatory role to play in shepherding some of his people, he’s still the ultimate shepherd. It’s not our job to play God for people. Sometimes he may call us to participate in convicting people of their sin and other times he may not. It’s not up to us to decide when we want to participate and when we don’t.

Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves whether we trust God? Do we trust him to be gracious enough to convict people of their sin? Do we trust him to transform their hearts in his timing? Do we trust him to save sinners like you and me?

Can a homosexual be a Christian? Let me ask it this way. Can an idolater be a Christian? Can a gossiper be a Christian? Can a liar be a Christian? Can an adulterer be a Christian? Can a thief be a Christian? Can a murderer be a Christian? Apparently they can because some of the big names in the Bible struggled with one or more of these habitual sins. Yet God saved them. If God can save idolaters, gossipers, liars, adulterers, thefts, and murders, then certainly he can save homosexuals too.

[1] Romans 6:23.
[2] See Ephesians 2:1-3. For more reading on this topic, see my articles titled “Mental Disorder or Evil Heart Condition” and “Are There Evil People in the World.”
[3] Romans 5:8.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What Else Is Going On?

I was playing hockey earlier this week in a recreational no-checking league and witnessed a player on the other team tackle one of the players on my team and try to beat the snot out of him. Considering the player on my team was wearing a full cage and refs were quick to break it up, he was fairly unsuccessful in his attempts, but observing this situation got me thinking. Why did an opposing player tackle one of my friends?

To give you a little background on this situation, I play in a recreational hockey league and the team I was playing on is in the lowest skill-level league. None of the guys on the ice have formal hockey training. We don’t get paid to play; we actually pay a lot of money to play. And everyone has to get up the next day and go to work. There’s no explanation good enough to excuse this type of behavior.

But observing this situation got me wondering if there’s something else going on in his life of which I’m completely unaware. Could he have come into the game already on edge and then something happened during the game to push him over the edge?

How Do We Respond?

Have you ever experienced a situation like this? Maybe you were driving and some random person you’ve never met had intense road rage for no apparent reason. Maybe you walked into a meeting with your boss and got chewed out for an insignificant mistake. Maybe you came home from work one day and your spouse gave you an earful about something you said a month ago.

When we encounter these situations, we often respond by getting defensive and things erupt quickly. What if, instead, we acknowledge that these people are going through something really challenging in their lives, something which has absolutely nothing to do with us? Maybe their marriage is on the rocks. Maybe they’re on the brink of getting fired. Maybe they’re struggling to make their house payments. Maybe one of their children is constantly in the hospital and the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. Maybe a close friend or family member is battling cancer. We just don’t know their situation.

How Did Jesus Respond?

As Jesus was going from town to town during his earthly ministry, crowds and crowds of people would travel to come see him. When Jesus looked at the crowds, he didn’t see a bunch of needy, self-centered sinners; he saw groups of people who were harassed and helpless[1] like sheep without a shepherd. He didn’t get upset with them; he had compassion on them.[2]

Is that the way we look at people? Do we look beyond their façades which portray that everything is great to see what’s really going on in their lives? That’s my challenge to you. The next time someone goes off on you, instead of responding by fighting back, consider the challenges that person is facing in his life. Strive to demonstrate the same type of compassion towards him as Jesus. You never know, he may open up to you about what’s going on and you may have the opportunity to walk alongside him as he works through it.

A Brief Clarification

As a clarification, I am not suggesting we excuse peoples’ behaviors simply because they have something going on in their lives. We all have something going on in our lives. As I’ve shared in previous articles, I believe the reason we lash out at other people is because of the condition of our hearts. I believe we have evil hearts which desperately need to be transformed into the image of Jesus. Jesus knew this when he saw all those people, yet he had compassion on them. But he also didn’t excuse them or withhold the consequences of their actions.

A Success Story

I play hockey with a guy who plays very aggressively. In a checking league, his aggression would be normal. But in a no-checking league, it’s over the top. My first few encounters with him were not very pleasant. One game, he cross-checked me in the chest and I went flying. In another game, he cross-checked me in the head and sent my GoPro flying. On another occasion, he checked me in the back and pinned me up against the boards. I didn’t like this guy at all.

After explaining my dislike for this guy to my dad, he encouraged me to get to know him. I wanted nothing to do with it. But one day, I was sitting next to him in the locker room and decided to strike up a conversation with him. I found out he grew up playing hockey, played minor league hockey for ten years, and is now a pastor. At that point, I started putting some of the pieces together. He’s aggressive because that’s the way he was trained to play in a checking league. But I can tell that he really does care about other people which is why he’s a pastor. He and I are now friends and he and I now play together on a team. He’s one of the most encouraging guys I’ve ever met, has an immense love for God, other people, and the game of hockey. And now he is rarely too aggressive with me when we’re on opposing teams.

[1] Another way of translating these words in the Bible is that the people were pinned down and molested. They were captive to the devil and that’s what he was doing to them.
[2] See Matthew 9:35-38.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Are You a Pharisee?

Christians commonly view the Pharisees as a group of evil people who were completely opposed to God. After all, they questioned Jesus constantly and played a big role in the plot to have him crucified. As a result, none of us who call ourselves Christians want to be associated with them.

But after studying the Pharisees more in depth, it’s hard to ignore the shocking similarities between the first-century Pharisees and some Christians today. In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at who the Pharisees were, sharing a little about my Pharisaical past, and sharing how Jesus has transformed my life.

Who Were the Pharisees?

I’m not quite sure how our understanding of the Pharisees was shaped, but somehow many of the people I’ve interacted with have a similar perspective of the Pharisees. Generally, we see them as a group of religious nuts who didn’t want anything to do with following God. They appear like nothing more than a washed up, pompous group of men who were Jesus’s arch nemeses throughout the three and a half years of his ministry.

However, this is a very lopsided, only minimally accurate picture of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were actually a very highly respected group of Jewish religious leaders who had a great amount of influence over the Jews[1] and who were known by their strict adherence to the Mosaic Law, the law which was given to the Jews by God.[2] The Pharisees knew the Old Testament like the back of their hands. Many of them had memorized the entirety of the first five books of the Bible. Additionally, they had memorized all the finite details of these laws which sought to further clarify its ambiguities (613 laws in total).

In addition to their vast knowledge of the scriptures, they made it a habitat to attend the temple or synagogue on a regular basis. They read the scriptures and prayed every day. They tithed (gave 10 percent) on all their income.[3] In accordance with the ritual purification process, they washed their hands before every meal.[4] Jesus even acknowledged their apparent mastery of self-righteous living.[5] The Pharisees did all these things because they thought that they would bring them closer to God; they thought the only way to be accepted by God was to obey every component of the law.

When Jesus came on the scene, he claimed to be God. Now, the Jews had experienced a long history of people claiming to be God, so the fact that Jesus claimed to be God wasn’t out of the ordinary. However, all the people who had come before Jesus weren’t actually God. So naturally, the Pharisees were very skeptical about whether Jesus was truly God. As highly respected Jewish leaders who saw it as their role to protect the people from heretics, they asked Jesus a lot of questions and observed his behaviors to determine whether he was a heretic or whether he was truly the Son of God. In the end, the majority of them concluded he was a heretic which led them to play a significant role in having him crucified.

Do We Have Pharisees in Our Midst Today?

Although Jesus and the other biblical writers were very clear that there’s nothing we can do to earn God’s acceptance, it doesn’t seem to have stopped us from trying. I encounter people all the time who are trying to earn God’s acceptance. They believe they have to fix this or that about themselves before God will listen to them or act on their behalf. Or even that they have to regularly perform a certain set of rituals in order to earn salvation (or keep it).

I’m very familiar with the Pharisaical mentality because I used to be one. No, I never ran around in a long black robe dragging sinners out to the street to be stoned, but I believed that active sinners couldn’t receive salvation until they stopped sinning (my uneducated understanding of repentance). I spent many years “obeying all the rules” in an attempt to earn God’s acceptance. I went to church every Sunday, even when I was out of town. I read my Bible every day. I gave 10 percent (and most of the time more) of my income to my local church. I led a small group, joined the praise band, became the Treasurer, and became an elder at my church. And I even quit my full-time “secular” job to be on staff at my church (which came with a huge pay-cut). But that’s not all. In my personal life, I never cussed, smoked, drank alcohol, had extra-marital sex, or viewed pornography. On the outside, I was nothing short of a superstar Christian.

If God’s acceptance was something that could be earned, then certainly I would’ve earned it. But as I finally learned, God’s acceptance isn’t something that can be earned. Thankfully, God graciously decided to show me that I was nothing more than a whitewashed tomb which looked beautiful on the outside, but on the inside was nothing more than lifeless bones.[6] Inside I was absolutely dead. And none of my good works or self-righteousness was worth anything; they were as worthless as a pile of poop.[7] What God showed me was that I couldn’t do anything to earn his acceptance. It was only by his grace, and not by my works, that he accepted me.

How Can We Be Zealous for Righteousness and Not Become a Pharisee?

I actually admire the passion Pharisees have for obeying the law.[8] All the commandments of the Bible give us practical examples of behaviors we will most likely exhibit when we are transformed into the image of Jesus. And Pharisees seek to attain perfection in living them out. But where they error is that instead of viewing Jesus as the means to get to God, they view the law as the means to get to him. It’s no wonder they have such motivation to live in obedience to the law.

Conversely, when we recognize that Jesus is the means to get to God, we are tempted to dispose of the law thinking it’s of no more use. After all, if we are saved by grace and not by works, then no matter what we do, our sins will be forgiven. Although it is true that Jesus paid for all our sins both past, present, and future, this mindset is not consistent with the mindset of the biblical writers. The biblical writers communicated their disgust with their sinfulness. They absolutely hated it. But they also recognized that they couldn’t do anything to fix it; they knew that God was the only one who could make that change in them.

This is the same mindset we are called to have. It is a mindset that is so in love with God and his ways that we want to be transformed into his image, but which recognizes that we’re not there yet and can’t do anything to get there. We’ve got to wait on God to do his work, and in the meantime, continue to hate the sin in us.

Although it may seem like this mindset isn’t much different from a Pharisaical mindset, it’s actually very different. The focus of the biblical mindset is on God and his work whereas the focus of the Pharisaical mindset is on us and our work. We don’t have to fix ourselves for God to accept us; God accepts us because he chooses to accept us and then does his work to fix us. Personally, this is very relieving, because I recognize that I can never fix myself enough to meet God’s standards.

Do you find yourself trying to earn God’s acceptance through self-righteousness? Do you think you have to do a bunch of “good works” in order for God to be glorified? Do you then try to impose all these same self-righteous standards on others? If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” then you’ve got Pharisaical tendencies much like I did. The good news is that you don’t have to continue living there. Jesus can break those tendencies in you much like he did with me. Feel free to drop me a note on social media or via email with your thoughts or if you’d like to discuss this topic some more.

[1] Spotlight Ministries, “In What Ways Does a Knowledge of Intertestamental History and Literature Shed Light on the New Testament Gospels, which a Knowledge of the Old Testament Books Alone Could Not?”, 2003, accessed June 24, 2015,
[2] See Matthew 15:1-20, 23:23-28, and Philippians 3:4-6.
[3] See Matthew 23:23.
[4] See Matthew 15:1-2.
[5] See Matthew 5:20 and 23:25-28.
[6] See Matthew 23:27-28.
[7] See Philippians 3:8.
[8] See Romans 10:2.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mental Disorder or Evil Heart Condition?

As I’m sure we’ve all heard by this point, a week ago, a teenager in Florida walked into his former high school and killed 17 people: 14 students and 3 faculty members.

When events like this occur, we all question why someone would do this. Why would someone decide to take the lives of lots of people? A common response to this question is that the person was mentally ill. This event was no different. According to the initial reports, the shooter has a history of mental illness. Is mental illness really what provokes people to kill other people? Or is something else going on that we’ve failed to consider because this something else is too hard for us to accept?

I’ll start by stating that I’m not claiming to know the answer to this question. I don’t know Nikolas Cruz any more than I know Donald Trump. So of course, I have no reason to believe I know what’s going on inside his head. Psychologists may test him as mentally ill.

But that’s not where I’m going with this article. Instead, I’d like to offer up another possible reason as to why Cruz killed 17 people that doesn’t have anything to do with mental illness. Rather, the solution I’m offering has everything to with what I call a “heart condition.” Let’s have a look.

A Social Science Experiment

In the 1970s, a group of social scientists from Stanford University conducted an experiment in an attempt to explain why prison conditions were such nasty places. They transformed the basement of a campus building into a make-shift prison and requested applications from civilians willing to participate in the experiment. Of the 75 applications they received, they chose 21 of the most “normal” people to participate. Then, they randomly selected some of the people to be prison guards and some to be prisoners. They sent the police to the houses of the prisoners, arrested them, indicted them with false charges, and placed them in the custody of the guards.

The first night, the guards woke up the prisoners at 2am to do push-ups, line up against the wall, and do other random tasks. The morning of the second day, the prisoners rebelled and the guards responded by stripping them, spraying them with fire extinguishers, and throwing the leader of the rebellion into solitary confinement. After 36 hours, one prisoner became hysterical and was released from the experiment. Four more had to be released shortly thereafter because of depression, crying, rage, or acute anxiety. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks but was cut short after six days.

Following the experiment, one prisoner said, “I realize now that no matter how together I thought I was inside my head, my prisoner behavior was often less under my control that I realized.”[1]

Based on their behaviors, it would appear that both the prison guards and prisoners were mentally ill. They were doing things we wouldn’t expect normal people to do. But prior to this experiment, they all checked out as being quite normal on psychological tests. What happened? Did they become mentally ill overnight? Or was there something else going on inside these people; maybe something that had been masked for many years, but quickly manifested itself when they found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Seeing Our True Selves

Most of us live pretty comfortable, secure lives. Most days, we don’t wonder whether we’re going to have food on the table or a place to sleep for the night. For the most part, we don’t worry about where our next paycheck is coming from or whether our spouse is going to come home after work. Many people who live in first-world countries feel comfortable and secure. As a result, they feel fairly satisfied and act like normal, civil people.

But what would happen if those comforts and securities were taken away? What would happen if we took someone who previously had all his basic needs met and threw him out on the street, or took him to a prison? Would he continue being the normal, civil person everyone thought he was? Or would he quickly become a person with whom even he would be terrified to cross paths?

This social science experiment demonstrated that normal, civil people could quickly become totally different people when those needs were no longer being met. I have witnessed this same phenomenon in my own life. When I feel hungry or tired, I can become a jerk. I become more impatient, more demanding, and less concerned about other people. Sometimes all I seem to be able to think about is getting my own needs met.

I’ve also witnessed this same behavior in other people. I’ve witnessed coworkers who are quite civil and fun to work with turn into total jerks who don’t care whether they hurt me or anyone else when they’re on the ice (playing hockey). I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being thrown under the bus by my friends when they feel backed into a corner. I’ve been on the receiving end of some very hurtful comments from my friends when they’re stressed out. We’ve all been on both the giving and receiving end of these experiences. Are these merely slip-ups that happen from time to time or are these responses giving us a glimpse into the true conditions of our hearts?

Honestly, I hate when I become a jerk to other people. I hate being impatient, demanding, and less concerned about my coworkers, friends, and family. I wish I didn’t respond that way when my needs weren’t being met. But no matter how hard I try to cover it up, I can’t. When I feel under pressure, my heart condition continues to show its ugly head through my horrific behaviors.

At this point you may conclude that I sound like nothing more than a normal human being, but what Nikolas Cruz did was far beyond the realm of something a normal person would do. Is it really? Throughout history and in other parts of the world today, people have and continue to kill each other over seemingly trivial matters. Heck, if you count the biblical records as historically accurate, you can see that humans were already killing each other by the second generation.[2]

Furthermore, let’s face it: Most of us have, at some point in our lives, wished that a specific person would die. We probably didn’t dwell on it at length nor did we act upon it, but the fact that it even crossed our minds demonstrates how evil our hearts really are. It’s not the devil who places those thoughts in there; it’s our evil hearts. If every thought we’ve ever had was laid out on the table in front of us, we’d all be declared mentally ill. Would you be willing to share every thought you’ve ever had? How about every thought you’ve had in the last week? I don’t know anyone who believes they have such pure thoughts that they’d be willing to share them with the rest of the world.
Is Nikolas Cruz mentally ill? There’s a pretty good chance that psychologists will deem him mentally ill. But I’m even more certain that if he was standing before the judgment throne of God, he would be deemed to have an evil heart condition. In my opinion, an evil heart condition is much more of a threat to society than mental illness. Someone who is mentally ill can be fairly-well contained in a mental institution. But there aren’t enough mental institutions to house everyone with an evil heart condition, let alone people to run them. This entire planet is one huge mental institution run by inmates. Do you see the paradox in which we find ourselves?

Yes, There’s Hope!

With all this apparent negativity, you may be wondering whether there’s any hope for us. Is there any way for our evil heart conditions to change? I think there’s certainly hope for me, you, and Nikolas Cruz. I’m not saying I’m all the way there and based on what I see, I’m not going to arrive at a place where I’m all the way there in this life, but I have been fortunate enough to experience some heart change. How, you ask? I don’t completely know. But here’s what I do know.

Jesus, a man who some believed was God and even more believe was a good teacher, claimed that he could and would change the hearts of his people to be like his heart.[3] What does his heart look like? It is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, humble, faithful, forgiving, self-controlled, and compassionate, just to name a few things. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to cause my heart to look like this. But thankfully, I’ve experienced the work of Jesus in my heart as he slowly changes it to look like this. I’ll be totally honest: the progress isn’t nearly as fast as I’d like it to be. I wish he would completely transform me right now and be done with it. But that’s apparently not the way he’s chosen to work.

Does that mean I won’t have evil thoughts anymore or not be a jerk to the people I love and care about? When I’m completely transformed into his image…yes! But since I’m not there yet, I continue to have evil thoughts and continue to be a jerk sometimes. I really wish I wasn’t. I hate that part of myself. But I’ve tried and tried to change it on my own and only experienced minimal success, which I’ve come to realize was nothing more than preplanning my behaviors based on given scenarios. Seeing as I am incapable of actually changing my heart, my trust is now in him to do it.

What does that mean for my life? It means I will experience lots and lots of fiery trials. Jesus works like a silversmith: He continues the cycle of sticking me in the fire, pulling me out, and then scraping off the impurities until he sees a crystal clear reflection of himself. This is the way he changes our hearts. I’m currently in the midst of a big fiery trial which is very painful, but I have hope that he knows what he’s doing and that I’ll come out on the other side looking more like him.

I want the same for you. As a matter of fact, I want to see Jesus transform the hearts of every single person on the planet, including the heart of Nikolas Cruz.

Simply declaring criminals as mentally ill and locking them up for the rest of their lives isn’t going to fix the mass shooting problem. Even putting more regulations on who can and can’t buy certain guns isn’t going to fix the problem. Some of these measures may curtail these behaviors a little bit, but the problem is still going to exist because we’re not dealing with what I believe to really be the (no pun intended) heart of the issue. Me, you, and every other person on this planet needs a complete heart transformation. This is the only way we’re going to be able to experience a world with no more mass shootings.

What are your thoughts? Do you think people kill other people because of an evil heart condition? What about your heart condition? Is it evil too or do you have a good heart? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

[1] Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2002), 152-58.
[2] See Genesis 4:1-16.
[3] See John 15:1-8, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Romans 8:28-30.