Monday, July 7, 2014

How Much of Each?

image used under Creative Commons license,photo by J H Andersen on Flickr
As has been the case with a few posts, lately, this one comes out of a few recent experiences.  And the insights they generated.

What's interesting, to me at least,  is that it all seems to come down to a measure and a verse.

Galatians 5:9 (KJV)  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 

You may see where I'm headed with this, but maybe not.

A few weeks ago, I left one of my favorite social media groups, dedicated to phone and tablet wallpapers.  There were lots of scenic wallpapers, patterns, textures, etc.  There would be an occasional pinup babe, but that was rare enough that I could slide past those easily enough.  More recently, some newer members from places where it was a more common way of depicting women started increasingly adding images of women in varying states of undress.

The pictures were no longer possible to ignore.  Giving me a choice.  Are the other images worth having my psyche and my soul assaulted by softcore porn?  Or do I agree with God on my choices? That's where Galatians 5:9 comes in -- and our ruler.  We know that adding yeast to dough will cause it to rise when baked.  But that sounds so final.  So, let's try another example.  We've all seen measuring cups, with markers on the side, like today's ruler illustration.  Using that measure, an inch of my favorite beverage could include 1/16 inch of poison or it could be a 50/50 mix of poison and beverage.  The difference is how quickly we notice that the poison is doing something and how quickly it will kill us.

The reality of ingesting poison is that it will kill us.  The only variation is what we mentioned in the last paragraph.  Taking in the wrong things can do the same to the soul.  It can be porn, some non-Christian philosophies, wrong attitudes, etc.  1 Timothy 4:2b (KJV) speaks of "having their conscience seared with a hot iron;".  The wrong input creates spiritual scar tissue like a burn creates a scar.  The damage gets a form of healing, but that area loses sensitivity to any future attacks, possibly allowing more damage.  And that's where my second observation comes in.

One of my ex-roommates apparently restarted a subscription to arguably the top sports magazine in the world.  They seem to still have my address as his.  So, I've gotten several issues. I'm not the sports fan who becomes a couch potato, spending all my time watching TV and sports and learning about sports.  But the issues were here, so I looked.  And it gave me an interesting insight into the mindset of the world.

A decent sized portion of what's written is short snippets, good for quick info if you're following a given player or team.  And easy to skip the ones that don't interest you.  But there's so much unnecessary information.  Like the golfer who is ambidextrous, so he has a set of right handed clubs and a set of left handed clubs and sometimes plays himself.  So?!?

It becomes clear that leaven doesn't have to be anti-God to have a negative effect.  It just needs to change a person's focus.  In the world, that just means filling time and attention with anything that's not about God.  It doesn't have to be "bad".

There's a Biblical principle that we don't make accusations in public till we've gone to the person alone AND they've been proven to be guilty.  So, there's an article about a sports star whose name meant nothing to me, who has had nine accusations of date rape.  That sounds bad, but he has yet to be convicted of any of the accusations.  It could very well be that nine women were thinking dollar signs and settlements, not realizing others had the same idea.  In the meantime, his employability and dollar value go down because teams don't want that kind of reputation.  And he becomes prejudged in the media.  He could be guilty, too.  But that needs to be judged in the courts before it becomes feature material in the mass media.

1 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Dig out the leaven.  The Christian knows that.  Get rid of the wrong stuff, good or bad, and fill the God sized hole with God stuff.  That sounds easier than it sometimes seems when you're trying to do that.  But it's less difficult than we make it out to be, when we're the ones who need that hole filled by God.  But the fact is, we can get help from pastors and the Body of Christ if we're starting to get off.  What about the world?

John 3:16 (KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Mark 16:15 (KJV)  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

The truth is that their sins have been forgiven, too.  Scripture says we need to go tell them that, stop judging their sins, and give them the same opportunity we had to fill the God sized hole in their souls.  We need to show them a better way.  Jesus paid for their sins, too.  And how are they to know they have a choice, if we don't tell them?  For that matter, who are we to judge instead of evangelize?

How are you dealing with leaven, today?

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