Abortion and the Taliban…Checkers and Chess

How do you best kill the Taliban?

Upstream, that’s how.

Let’s see if I can explain.

For nearly two decades, we engaged the Taliban on the battlefield with stunning success. In virtually every engagement, coalition troops prevail. Usually, it’s a slaughter. I can think of only a handful of tactical engagements won by the Taliban.

Yet, they stand poised to eject us from Afghanistan with control over large swaths of the countryside. Outside the capital and the few cities, the Taliban are the power-brokers.

After 19 years and over 2,000 American soldiers dead, the United States finds itself embroiled in a strategic quagmire from which we may not extract ourselves or the whole thing likely falls apart.

Each year, we bleed out just a little bit more.

How could this be?

Checkers. We’re playing checkers.

Just like the church.

Don’t get me wrong.

Checkers is a fun game, valuable to an extent. When your opponent plays chess though…

Pro-life advocates declared February 23rd of this year, a Day of Mourning. In response to the recent and radical New York abortion law, the website instructs us to wear black, not shop, close businesses, and repent for abortion. Albany, New York will host a rally/meeting/worship service with a host of notable pro-life speakers.

On January 18th, tens of thousands of pro-life warriors braved the cold streets of our nation’s capital in protest of the evil of abortion. This is the 46th annual iteration. Vice President Mike Pence and a host of conservative leaders attended this year’s event. President Trump attended last year.

Though large and dramatic, these are tactical engagements. Like any tactical engagement, if not supported by sound strategy, the engagement fails to yield long-term results.

And, in a way, these are the large-scale equivalent of me arguing with my pro-choice cousin on social media.

I’m not too sure about their productivity, even on the tactical level. I acknowledge the efficacy of compelling our political leaders to pen pro-life legislation and nominate pro-life judicial members.

But this is about hearts and minds, like any counter-insurgency.

Has a single heart or mind been changed by demonstrations?

Building pregnancy centers is a step toward strategy, toward chess. What if, next to every single Planned Parenthood, was a crisis pregnancy center that offered every service, but abortion? Once a woman views her baby on an ultrasound, once she sees it’s personhood, she is much less likely to go through with an abortion.

Our city has a crisis pregnancy center with a great ministry.

Adopt.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Parcheesi maybe.

What if we could tell every woman in a crisis pregnancy, “Don’t abort, please. We’ll raise your child in a loving home.” I choose to believe that most women do not want to have an abortion, but in many cases, feel they do not have an option.

The church ought to be elbowing one another out of the way to adopt available children. The existence of unwanted children is itself, an indictment of the church.

We never get this far. It’s too hard, requires too much of us.

We’re stuck in confronting the issue head-on with protests and marches and rallies and moaning and arguing on social media, slandering those who live blinded by their sin.

Meanwhile, the enemy busily destroys the nuclear family, drives a wedge between men and women, even going so far as to destroy the very idea of men and women, blurring the lines until the are unrecognizable.

And his agents of destruction are legions of unwitting men who stand idle as their sons grow into godlessness.

But, what if we played chess?

Like with the Taliban.

I’ll not deny the efficacy of shooting the Taliban in the face wherever you can.

We can build the world’s most sophisticated military machine to ensure that the trigger-puller is in the exact right place at the exact right time to squeeze the trigger and propel the 7.62 round into the skull of said Taliban.

The problem…he’s got brothers, and a father, and uncles, and friends…i.e. the Taliban.

Checkers.

Let’s work upstream.

What if he was never there in the first place? Let us dispatch him before he ever sets foot on the battlefield, perhaps walking out his door in the morning, or sleeping in his bed at night.

Let’s give him options, an education. Let us dangle the allure of financial prosperity before him, the hope of a better future for him and his family, a desire common to all men.

Further upstream, let us raze the Pakistani madrassa that taught him the Koran and to hate America. Let us coerce Pakistan to raze all their madrassas. Imprison the fundamental clerics. What if we westernized his homeland to the greatest extent possible, immersing him in the seductiveness of secularism, confusing him, undermining his Islamic faith which drives his zeal.

What if we fervently prayed for the Gospel to penetrate Muslim lands and for the Lord to raise up missionaries to go, and to make disciples? What if we went ourselves?

Check.

Abortion and Chess

Abortion will never end as godlessness proliferates.

Revival is the answer to abortion and I’m not talking a scheduled tent revival with open-air preaching. I’m talking real revival found in the serious commitment of men making disciples of their sons.

You want to end abortion?

Men, let us teach our sons to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s that simple.

Do the other things. Protest. Legislate. Inform. Rally. Resist. Build. Adopt. All of it. But apart from the engagement of godly men discipling their sons, these are but band-aids on a gushing hemorrhage.

Abortion is a symptom. Treating symptoms is okay as long as we treat the source of the illness. The source of the illness is godlessness, and as each generation becomes increasingly godless, abortion will proliferate.

Consider a generation of young men, of young Christ-followers and what the Lord would accomplish through them.

These young men would cherish and esteem young women. They would honor them and respect them. They would reject the overt sexualization of our culture and the insidious but prevalent view that a woman’s worth is in her sexuality and her looks. They would lift this burden from young women.

These young disciples would not pressure them into sex outside the covenant of marriage. They would value them as people, as sisters in Christ, as perhaps a future mate and wife.

But you know what, it will still happen. Christ-followers still fall into sin. There will still be unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. Yet, these young men, as Christians living a life of repentance, would seek out the Lord’s forgiveness and the woman’s as well and then seek to make things right.

Young disciples would not abandon a young lady to her pregnancy and vulnerability. Young disciples would not force her into a position of having to make a dreadful but seemingly necessary choice. “I’m here,” they’ll say. “I’m scared too, but let us rejoice at life. It didn’t happen how we planned, but it happened and so we’ll embrace it. Hallelujah, I get to father.”

And still sin happens. As their brothers wrestle with the flesh and maybe do abandon a woman in her time of need, they would come alongside and say, “we will support you as you need or, if necessary, we will love this child and raise them as a son or a daughter.”

Godly young men would push back against the rampant godlessness and how, by living according to the dictates of Christ, as disciples themselves. They would commit their lives to being disciples and themselves, to making disciples, of their own sons at first and then all the nations.

As they push back the darkness, as revival engulfs the nation, abortion would necessarily wane.

Men, make disciples of your sons.

Checkmate.

Kings to you, Satan.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

You are special and worthy of so much more…and other useless drivel that is clearly #nottheGospel

We’re drowning in a cesspool of dissonant voices.

Every single person has a voice. Each person has an agenda. If you have an internet connection, you have a platform.

Satan’s misinformation campaign runs around-the-clock and he employs, as his heralds, a legion of oftentimes well-meaning people, even believers, who mindlessly and faithfully regurgitate and proliferate messages of personal empowerment that sound nice.

However, upon examination, they are definitely #nottheGospel.

Rid your life of negative people.

This one is so prevalent but so clearly #nottheGospel.

“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect a positive life,” quoth (gulp) Joel Osteen. Negative people bring people down. They have a problem for every solution. Their negativity is contagious and will certainly detract from you being the best you that you can be and achieving all that you dream.

The only solution is expulsion.

Get them out of your life. Now, not later. Expunge them from the books. Move on. You do not need these people in your life.

On the contrary, surround yourself with positivity. Positive people. They will lift you up. They will empower you. They will help you take your to the next level. Success is the goal. Positivity fuels our motivation to get there. Think positive thoughts.

Makes sense. Right?

Rubbish.

God calls the believer to be the salt and light of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-16)

God calls the believer to make disciples of all the nations. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

Nowhere is a man’s attitude a factor.

Yes, being around negative people can be tiresome. Yes, being around negative people can sap your strength. Yes, I like to be around positive people as much as you do, but there is really no such thing as an inherently negative person. One is either redeemed or not, saved or not, of Christ or not. One may feel, speak, act, or even think negatively, but why?

If that person is a brother or sister in Christ, would we reject them? Maybe they are struggling with sin of some kind. Maybe they are lonely. Maybe they are wrestling with God about a hidden issue. Either way, Paul tells us that when one member of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer. (1 Corinthians 12:26) We ought to suffer alongside a fellow believer suffering in negativity.

If the negative person is not a believer, should we really cast them from our life. They are unredeemed. Negativity is the least of our worries. They don’t know Christ! They need the words of life that you have. Perhaps they are negative because they don’t know the hope found in the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus. 

In sovereignty, God has placed these people in your life. Would you be the one to tell them the good news?

Are we to decide who is worthy of our fellowship and love?

You are special and worthy of good things.

So much is wrapped up in our self-worth and our self-esteem.

From our youngest days, we impress upon our children their entitlement. It’s a joke, a cliché, but every kid truly does get a trophy, no matter how they do or do not contribute. We do everything in our power to build up their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth, how they feel about themselves.

We’ve built an entire cottage industry with the sole purpose of making us feel better about ourselves. In many ways, we’ve shaped our entire system, our entire culture, around making us each feel that we are not only unique, but unique and deserving.

We deserve better.

We were made for more.

This life you’re living now, it’s not good enough. Your relationships. Your job. Your home. Your financial standing. Your social status. They could all be better. You know it and I know it.

You are worth it and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.

Excrement.

On my own merits, I deserve hell and nothing less.

Gulp. There it is.

God speaks clear to the intrinsic worth of a man. I had worth. Created in the image of God, I reflect the summation of the possibility of His character. (Geneses 1:27) Man is the pinnacle of creation, the crown jewel in the created order. (Psalm 8) As such, every man or woman to ever walk the planet is deserving of dignity and respect.

Yet I slandered it.

It’s all been corrupted.

We took the beautiful created order and in our sin, rendered it wretched. There is no one who is righteous, not a single one. No one seeks after God. No one loves God. No one does good, not one. (Romans 3) Our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick. (Jeremiah 17:9) There’s nothing I can do about it. I was born into it. (Psalm 51:5)

At the same time, creation testifies loud and clear to the existence of a God whom we all reject. (Romans 1) Therefore we are without excuse.

Each of us, at some point in our lives, maybe even presently, looks at all that God is and rejects Him. We choose to worship and serve the created thing instead of the Creator and for that, we all deserve one single thing. 

Justice.

Justice for sin against an eternally holy and righteous God equals eternal torment in a place called hell. How’s your self-esteem?

The idea that I deserve anything other than justice is clearly #nottheGospel.

It’s all about doing good, being kind.

Think of the best person you know. Perhaps it’s even you!

Either way, consider them for a minute. What makes them special or good? Have they done good deeds? Have they helped you? Do they display selflessness? Consider their goodness. Consider their righteousness.

Now, consider that the very best you or I or anyone else has to offer, of our own volition, is a filthy rag in the eyes of the Lord, literally a used menstrual garment. (Isaiah 64:6)

We may do good deeds, certainly, but the corruption of sin has tainted even our best deeds. The idea that we can do enough good things, that our good deeds will save us is clearly #nottheGospel.

We will never earn favor with God. We will never attain standing before Him, of our own accord.

When you really want something, you will find a way.

Tony Robbins spearheads a bevy of self-help motivational speakers that convince us that “We Can!”

You cannot…and even if you could, does it actually matter?

Definitely #nottheGospel.

If you’re unhappy, that’s on you.

Assuredly #nottheGospel.

God is infinitely more concerned with our holiness rather than our happiness.

Be the hero of your own story.

Self-worship that is clearly #nottheGospel.

There exists a billion deviations, perversions really, of the singular message of hope and that is this:

God saves sinners!

This is the crux of the Gospel, the only message with timeless merit.

Okay, I’ll concede. These other ideas may possess temporal merit. If pop psychology and self-help gurus can motivate or equip someone to attain a measure of peace and/or happiness, then that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like God begrudges us our livelihood.

Substitution is the issue, substitution that generates confusion.

When Christians parrot this drivel either as the Gospel or on par with the Gospel or even as a part of the Gospel, we fuel misunderstanding, perhaps even our own. Consider that Satan would love nothing more than for each of us to trumpet our own ability, while standing in line to see Oprah, convinced of the possibility of so much more.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for wretched sinners like me or like you, that we might be forgiven our sins. Our only hope lay in this truth, that if we repent and believe in the risen Lord Jesus, we will be saved, unto eternity.

Only He is worthy. My value exists only in Him. His work becomes my work, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Let us cut through the confusion.

Let us propagate this message worth hearing.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Food and the Foster Child

It was corn. A single kernel of corn.

“I won’t eat it! And you can’t make me!” the little boy screamed.

“Just a bite, buddy…whaddaya say?”

“I’M NEVER GONNA EAT IT! NEVER!”

Yikes!

I had never really dealt with an outburst like this before. Food is an issue for many families. I suspect that for many foster families, food is a major issue.

An Introduction to the Issue

One of the difficult aspects of parenting a system kid is that they look just like any other kid.

It’s not as if they carry a neon sign, “Trauma! Trauma!” It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand the level of trauma merely being removed from their home may have induced, much less the neglect and abuse that often accompany a kid from the system.

Not having lived it, I know I can never understand.

Lawrence arrived, age 5, the picture of the foster child, showing up on our doorstep in the middle of the night clinging to the caseworkers leg, clutching a dirty stuffed animal and a single Walmart bag with a toothbrush and a change of underwear. He looked like a typical boy, head full of blonde hair, fair skin. His appearance belied a deeper trauma, inevitably betrayed by his behavior.

The honeymoon period lasted for a few weeks but dinner first exposed the breach.

He absolutely and resolutely refused to eat anything even remotely healthy. Meals devolved into a diabolical battle of the wills. Corn brought it to a head. Corn.

“I’m not gonna eat and you can’t make me!” became his stance.

A Clash of Culture

Culture presents a distinct challenge in fostering.

They train you in the classes to respect cultural differences and to be ready for them. Be sensitive to them. Food provides great insight into a family’s culture. You can tell a lot about a family by what they eat.

I know that all kids would rather consume garbage. I’ve met very few, if any, who would willingly consume vegetables or salad. When fostering, you really have no idea of the biological family’s eating habits and how they might compare with your own.

We’ve seen this. We’ve lived this.

Take my 14-year-old son. Unless it comes from a fast food joint or a gas station, he’d just assume not eat it. 

Lawrence was just as picky and I don’t mean picky like, “I don’t like onions” or “I don’t like meatloaf”. I mean picky as in “I like bacon and I like eggs but I won’t eat my eggs if they are cooked in the same skillet as the bacon” picky. A new level of pickiness.

Does it stem from culture? Perhaps.

Perhaps there’s more.

Equality

I’ve noticed that many foster kids share eerily similar traits.

Many possess a tendency to not see past the next 5 minutes of their life, in any regard. Their minds seem to warp the very fabric of the space-time continuum. This is an actual conversation with my oldest son:

    Dad, can I go to the gym and shoot hoops?

    Son, we have to be at church in 20 minutes and the gym is 15 minutes away…

    Okay…so can I go?

They all seem to possess a distinct sense of justice or rather, injustice.

Any kid(s) will always be on the lookout for any situation whereby they might receive less of something than a sibling. This is amplified in the mind of the foster kid. My sons will go to extraordinary lengths to verify that one of the others is not receiving something more than them. Food provides an opportunity for a potential disparity.

As such, they maintain a constant vigil over allotments.

When confronted with a situation to select a portion, my sons will always, without hesitation, choose the largest possible, unless it’s something they truly don’t like. They will even select the largest of something even if they do not even know what it is.

    I want some! I want that piece!!!

    Do you even know what it is?

    Well…no, but I want it!

The thought that a brother or sister would receive more, or even worse, something that they did not receive, is excruciating to them. It induces agony. My 14-year-old, on the cusp of self-awareness, will smile guiltily when I notice him angling for the largest portion. If I remark about it, he’ll steadfastly deny it. Then he’ll do it anyway. He literally cannot help it!

Control

At some point it’s about control.

The foster child lives in a continual state of uncertainty and flux with very little/absolutely no control over their future. They did not choose to be born into an afflicted family, to be removed from what they know. Whether you or I would judge their family life as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is irrelevant at some point.

No matter the conditions, it’s what they know and is therefore good.

Then, without warning, they are ripped from their lives and thrust into the lives of another. Despite the assurances, they must wonder what is happening, if they’ll see their parents again. The case workers do the best they can, but many are overworked, handling multiple cases and at some point, placement supersedes suitability.

Just get the kid placed.

Adding even a newborn biological child to any family can completely upset the fraternal order, the group dynamics. Envision adding a child with an already developed sense of self and culture and righteousness, a child used to things a certain way. At some point, a clash occurs.

Food provides a platform for just such a clash. They have lost control of everything…but what they eat.

Priorities

I can tell, at any point, what my sons are thinking about. Perhaps this is normal to all sons, but for mine, from the system, they are always thinking about food.

Always.

    “When is lunch/dinner/breakfast tomorrow?”

    Even more importantly, “What’s for lunch/dinner/breakfast tomorrow?”

One of my sons will visibly squirm, I mean visibly writhe, at the uncertainty of an imminent meal. “I don’t know,” is not a satisfactory answer. They must know and they must know now and can they have pizza or cereal or chips or whatever.

As an example of this, during church, they sit in a constant awareness of the potential to go out to eat after church, an exquisite torture in the uncertainty. Immediately following the service, I am bombarded by queries and maybe some not-so-subtle manipulation to try and shape events to not just go out, but go to a desired location.

    “Hey Dad, the so-and-so family is going to the China King Buffet and want us to go!”

    “We haven’t been to Taco Bell in awhile,” one will casually remark.

    “Kids eat free at Dickie’s Barbecue,” another will inform me.

Again, as I see this from my biological children, I know it is not unique to my sons. It’s just amplified, taking on a heightened sense of urgency.

Perspective

We got through it.

I don’t remember exactly how or what we did. There’s no magic answer, no trick. We just got through it and so did Lawrence. His mother got clean, got a job, got well and after about six months, Lawrence went home.

His mother remains a family friend to this day.

Lawrence and his mother represent what is right with the system, how it’s supposed to work. For all of its flaws and absent the engagement of the Church, the system is what we have.

I have a few vivid memories of Lawrence’s time with us but most all, seared upon my conscience, is the image of a little boy pouring out his rage at a single kernel of corn. For him, that kernel of corn must’ve represented all that was wrong, things that he could never fathom, things he will never fathom. He unknowingly raged against injustice and the tyranny of affliction all while nursing a gaping wound to his soul.

I don’t recall if he ever ate the corn.

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Dear Brothers-in-Christ, Please Stop Yelling at the Gay People

Maybe we ought to quit yelling at the gay people.

Pride on Parade

I saw a video of a man at a gay pride rally in Texas. The man wielded a bullhorn, aggressively reprimanding the crowd.

      “This is sin…turn from it!”

      “You are under the judgement of God!”

     “You will burn in hell!”

     “This is perversion, turn from this perversion…turn to Jesus.”

Only one young woman chose to engage, questioning the reliability of the Bible to which the man responded even more aggressively, citing the logical fallacies of her counterclaims but not affording her an opportunity to respond. Every time she began to compose a statement, he cut her off and the fact that he was amplified made it no contest. She fled in frustration, his chastisement following her down the street.

Two observations. The majority of the people this man yelled at were young women and nearly all of them ducked their heads and moved as far away from him as quickly as possible to get back to their parade. Second, this video was edited, overdubbed with dramatic music, and widely distributed on social media.

Now, I’m quite sure this man saw himself as the defender of the faith, valiantly confronting the horde of evil homosexuals.

I thought he acted kind of like a douche.

I wondered if he would have taken any of these people to lunch.

LGBTQ Clarification

Okay, allow me to clarify. Homosexuality is a sin. Only a severely dishonest exegesis of Scripture will yield any other conclusion. It is a sexual sin, viewed identically by God as say…pornography use. Ouch.

Jesus’ words to the crowd determined to stone the young woman caught in adultery resonate. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

I wonder if this man would invade the homes of the majority of Christian men who indulge in pornography and yell at them from his bullhorn. Imagine the otherwise moral Christian man sitting down in the dark at his computer for a dabble with lust when…

     “This is sin…turn from it!”

     “This is perversion! You are under the judgment of God!”

I suspect not. Statistically speaking, though I do not know this man and it’s quite possible he is in the vast minority of men who do not view pornography, it’s likely he would have to direct his bullhorn back at himself. Why doesn’t this man feel led to go to the local Gold’s gym and castigate the men for subtly ogling the scantily clad women, lusting in their hearts, the exact same thing as adultery according to our Lord?

Sexual sin is sexual sin, no?

What is the thought process that motivates a man to single out a particular group of revelers for condemnation while neglecting other much larger groups?

The Tone of Jesus

Much defense is made of methods in citing Jesus.

Jesus flipped over the tables in the Temple and whipped people with a cord—I wish I could’ve been there! Jesus called people names, confronting them as fools, blind guides, hypocrites, vipers, whitewashed tombs, sons of the devil.

Trudat.

Yet, consider for whom He reserved His public rebuke…the religious, the Pharisee, the self-righteous religious authorities. Jesus spoke with the woman at the well as a person. (John 4) Jesus defended the woman caught in adultery. (John 8) He invited Himself to dinner with Zacchaeus the tax collector. (Luke 19)

Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Jesus saw the people as they were, as sheep without a shepherd. He had compassion on them. (Matthew 9:36)

He wept because of their sin and rebellion. (John 11:35)

Instead of publicly berating these homosexuals for their sin, a more appropriate stance would be to mourn their betrayal and imminent judgement, to reach out to them, to love them, to tell them of another way…out of love.

Would this man have invited these people to his home for a meal?

A Common Thing

I’ve seen this before.

Years ago, B.C. (before Christ okay!) I spent a fair amount of time on Bourbon Street in New Orlean engaged in all manner of debauchery. I distinctly recall the wackos on the street corner with their signs, warning me of impending doom and judgement I suspect. Yet, as my brain was clouded by different things at the time, I truly didn’t hear a word they said.

Several years ago, a group of Christians led by ‘pastor’ Terry Jones appeared at a series of Muslim festivals in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a sizeable Muslim population. This is the same Terry Jones who attained global notoriety by putting a Koran on trial and then burning it.

Muslims predictably rioted. People died.

To what end?

Needless to say, the protesters at the Muslim festivals were not greeted well…and why would they be? The Muslims, angered by their presence and their provocation, responded unkindly, pelting them with profanity, spit, and eventually stones and garbage.

From the aspect of civics, this is a horrid encounter, that men cannot even walk down the street in a city in America with religious signs, and not be harassed.

Yet, civics takes a back seat to the Gospel.

How should we expect Muslims to act? Or gay people? Or the lost in general?

Consider that many/most Muslims are raised into the religion, that it dominates every aspect of their existence. They are given no option to NOT be Muslim, it becomes their identity. Islam is a system that enslaves billions across the world, a perfect system of bondage that leverages the sin nature of men and declares it pious. It is powerful in the strength of its binding.

Can we not have compassion on those thus imprisoned?

Look How Righteous

At some point, it’s about attention.

Jesus berates the hypocrites who pray on the street corners, that they may be seen by others. (Matthew 6:5)

He tells the parable of the Pharisee who prays, telling God about all of the righteous things he does saying, “thank you that I am not like other men.” (Luke 18:11) Meanwhile, the lowly tax collector’s prays, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (v. 13)

The video produced of the man at the gay pride rally was obviously intended to produce an effect, to paint a certain picture, to portray him in a certain light. Why the need to distribute it so widely?

Stratification of Sin

The natural tendency amongst men is to compare sin, levels of wickedness.

The fact that this man chose to single out these young women at the homosexual rally is significant.

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Why is he not at the local Golden Corral lambasting the gluttonous? Can you imagine him confronting the overweight man at the buffet?

     “Sinner! Glutton!”

     “Do you really need two pieces of fried chicken?”

     “Didn’t you just have meatloaf?”

     “You are under the judgement of God!”

Why is he not at the local sports arena admonitioning the people for their idolatry?

     “Sinner!”

     “Take off that jersey!”

     “Tom Brady is just a man; worship only God!”

     “You are under the judgement of God!”

Not only that, but he made a monster presumption, that none of these young ladies were actually Christians. Is that valid?

What if there was a Christian in the crowd and perhaps she was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but had not yet responded? God sanctifies each of us in a different way, at different times. What if they were newly saved, and had not yet felt the weight of conviction for their homosexual sin?

Often, following salvation, the newly-minted believer is quick to shed surface-level sin. The deeper the sin is ingrained in the flesh, buried under layers of scar tissue and time, the longer it seems to take for it to come to the surface and be dealt with.

I am 12 years into my Christian walk and am just now, in the last year, addressing sin that goes back to my youth.

What if it is as this, with some of these young women?

Should we still shout condemnation at them?

A Final Admonition

Those who publicly berate those reveling in sin frequently turn to the words of Paul for ammunition. “Neither the sexually immoral, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Three points on this:

     1. They leave out a whole slew of other sins listed by Paul to include idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, and swindlers. Again, why are these men not seeking out these sinners to publicly “call out”.

2. This letter is for the church. Paul is writing this letter to the church at Corinth admonitioning them for tolerating sexual sin…in the church! These are not words to confront the unregenerate.

3. They conveniently leave off the very next line, “And such were some of you.” (v. 11)

Such were some of them. Such were some of you. Such was I, but I was washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most offensive thing there has ever been. It certainly doesn’t need me wielding it in an offensive manner.

Maybe we should stop yelling at the gay people.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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