I know it must grow wearying to many Jesus-lovers to hear of one Christian leader after another being accused of sexual sins and even crimes. I become weary too, but not because I believe the accusations are false or nit-picky. No, I’m glad for any such truths that are coming out, and I’m glad criminals and hypocrites are being exposed. It’s the hypocrisy itself I grow weary of.
The hypocrisy was especially brought it to my attention this time in an article my husband told me about a couple of days ago, which defended one of the recently accused, Bill Hybels (who has been accused of long-term adultery as well as attempts at seduction, allegations against whom can be found here and hereandhere).
Blog posts about Scripture studies, I have to acknowledge, don’t get as much action as blog posts about news events . . . or even about wrong teachings.
But there is much to be gleaned from the Scriptures that will help us as we discern what’s true and what’s false in the church world. The quiet hours you spend in the Word as you seek Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit—even if they produce questions you can’t answer right away—will ultimately help you better see who Jesus really is and what God is really doing.
Sometimes when I study a passage of Scripture . . . it reminds me of another . . . and another . . . and then I see how they link together.
The other day I was reminded of a time that happened, when Philippians 2 and First Peter 5 and Psalm 22 all pointed to the same thing, a truth driven home on Passion Week, as I pondered how our Lord Jesus was humbled . . . and then exalted.
The other day I received a request to comment on the topic of God punishing us for our sins in a seemingly random way:
It was ingrained heavily when I was a child that God punishes us for things long after we’ve repented. Any “bad” sin leads to year and years of punishment, even if it’s been repented of fully. My parents will say this often, that someone (even their own child) is being punished because of a very bad [unrelated] sin. I’ve felt an incredible amount of guilt and shame over my child’s health problems and always wonder if it was because of my sin.
Occasionally I’ve talked with friends who have feared they haven’t really forgiven the person who harmed them. “I keep thinking about the harm,” she might say. “It keeps hurting. So that makes me think I haven’t really forgiven.”
It’s not only a common feeling, but also a common accusation.
[One book I’m reading] talks a lot about loving yourself. Every time I read that phrase, I flinch, because my theology in the past has been based on the idea that I’m sinful and thus there’s nothing about myself to love. This article from Desiring God [“Do You Love Yourself Enough?”] sums up the viewpoint perfectly.
But what about God’s grace? What about the work of Jesus on the cross, that purifies us, and our new natures now that we’re in Christ? I’m conflicted at the moment. Where does self-love fit with the Gospel? Am I sinful? Am I a worthless worm? Is there really nothing good in me? What about “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”?