Tag Archives: Homosexuality

What Does Chastisement Look Like?

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From Romans:

chastisement18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters,[f] insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

 

Reading this gives an interesting view of Chastisement.

I think our tendency in reading this is to focus on verses 26-32 and think about these things in terms of the target of God’s unhappiness with us – as the source of God’s wrath.   And certainly, these actions are noted as sinful and depraved so there is some element of truth to that.

Often enough, we see lamentations of the world around us – its immodesty and impurity, the continued degradation of social norms that were previously founded on Christian principles, but are now redefined by secular humanism, relativism, and liberal progressivism.   We view all these things and think that, surely, chastisement cannot be far behind.

What we are missing, I think, is that these things are chastisement.

Reading above, the real sin that brought on chastisement is:

  • those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
  • for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him
  • they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.
  • Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

 

OK, so the last bullet point is a bit archaic, but the modern equivalence of it is money, self, and power.    It is also anything we spend our time on that detracts us from God and the responsibilities He has given us.   To some extent, we are all likely guilty of that.

A spiritual social decay does not start with sexual perversion or confusion.   It starts with a much more subtle turning from God.   It first starts by moving God out of the public square.   By discouraging prayer.   By being ungrateful.   By considering your own personal needs before the needs of others.   By greed.   By turning Sunday into a day spent on yourself with maybe some little sliver of time for God, or maybe not.

At some point, the relationship with God changes, but this change is a disaffection of the real valid relationship that we should have and becomes something of a fantasy.   When this becomes our own pervasive reality, we’ve lost our way.

Pretty soon, this whole thing morphs into either an unbelief, or some weird belief that what we do doesn’t really matter because God loves us and that’s that.   Our own “wisdom” in assessing our relationship with God is borne of just that – our own wisdom – and is not a reflection of the reality of what Scripture has to say, what the Church teaches is true, or from any study of the wisest of Saints that went before us.   We decide that God is Who we want Him to be.

This is the real sin that separates us and invites chastisement.   The question is, what does chastisement look like?

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Notice that in Romans 1, we don’t get into the sins of impurity until after the “Therefore.”    The chastisement God sends us is not typically fire and brimstone.   It is ourselves apart from God.   Until this time, Paul seems to be saying that God recognizes that we are weak and protects us against ourselves.   He knows what brings us emptiness, heartbreak, desolation, and loneliness.   He doesn’t want that for us.   So He helps us, blesses us, gives us the grace to deal with many of life’s temptations and disorders.   He loves us.

But when we do not recognize any of this, and we are ungrateful for it, this is a sin against the very goodness of God Himself.   When we decide that God can be secondary in our lives, we are not loving God back.   The more and more we send God the message that we really don’t care that He is an instrumental part of our lives and culture, the more likely He will be to eventually give us what we desire – as stupid as that desire may be.

Paul writes that “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts.”   Paul does not say that God imposed those lusts.   God basically said – OK, you want to do things without me, then go ahead.

One of the first evidences of this abandonment of God to ourselves is homosexual activity.   We too often fall into the trap of judging those who are imposing the acceptance of the homosexual agenda as a major root of the problem in this country.    In reality, this is a fruit of the problems that led God to removing His blessings from us in the first place.  But accepting sexual impurity outside of marriage became the norm well before homosexuality became the social revolution of our time.   The latter does not happen without the former preceding it, so it’s hardly the case that we can start hurling stones only with the advent of the gay marriage agenda.   No, the sexual revolution led to weaker families, fewer children, abortion on demand, and the beginning of the end of a healthy and functioning society.  Having made that bed, God turned us over and gave us the direct evidence of His handing us over to ourselves with the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality.   To blame gays for chastisement without recognizing the sinfulness that brought is to the point of accepting it is like blaming the sinking of the boat on the last gallon of water that bubbled up through the hole in the side.

But it doesn’t end there.

They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters,[f] insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

The push for acceptance of the gay lifestyle started in earnest less than two decades ago.   We went from most people believing that marriage should be between a man and a woman to the Supreme Court signing off on it as law of the land.   We put our stamp of approval on this “progress” when we voted for Barack Obama the second time after this agenda became perfectly clear.    Shortly thereafter, the rest of society followed with basically that entire list.

And note the last line:  “they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.”   Think of the way Christians are now considered bigoted for their beliefs, and how “courageous” the practitioners of different sins are.   We openly encourage gay marriage as a good thing, and even a Godly thing.   Those who are against abortion are labeled as haters of women, while those who support abortion are considered to be on the higher moral plane.  Having only one or two children is considered more moral than welcoming a larger family – I’ve actually been called “selfish” for daring to have nine children.

No, I hate to say it, but Chastisement is not on its way.  It’s been unfolding before us for some time.   And the unfortunate result is that God will not step in and save us until we ask Him to do it.    And while it may be true that many among us are asking, if the country as a whole continues to act in defiance of Him by the way we act and the people we elect to serve as the example of what we stand for, then God will continue to allow us to live under our own “wisdom.”  And do any of us see a sudden welcoming of God back into our lives on a collective basis?   We can pray and hope for a miracle, but as of this point there is no such indication.

How bad will things need to get before we come to our collective senses?   Unfortunately, there is every likelihood that we are about to find out.

 

 

The Diabolical Deception of Self-Love

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It all sounds really good – you need to love yourself.   And that is absolutely true.   But I think  – no,  I know – that we have largely lost the truth in application of what that actually means.    And it’s a very difficult discussion to have in these times when we define “who we are” by so many thing, most of which are things that should not define us.

I’m going to share in its entirely a post that showed up on my Facebook timeline.   This friend of mine is a family member who grew up in a Catholic family but in adulthood came out as gay and left the Church.   He is not a person who spews agenda and vitriol.   He often talks of love and peace and acceptance, and even desires good for those who will treat him badly.    All of which says a lot of his personal character in many ways.   He talks of God, but in a sense that is far from Catholic and mainline Christian.   To my shagrin, though, he has fully embraced the “goodness” of “who he is” (i.e. gay) and all that goes with it from a lifestyle perspective.   He is in Hollywood and has produced films, one of which was featured at the Cannes film festival, which is about his story growing up gay in a Catholic family.   While not outright anti-Catholic, the undertones are there – he simply believes the Church’s teachings are wrong, not loving, and archaic.   He is actively promoting the goodness of living “who you are” as an expression of self-love.   Unfortunately, he is in a position to influence and affect the way others think as well.   As he does this, he believes he is professing truth.

I am reproducing the post he made today to demonstrate where he is coming from:

“This weekend I will take a vow of silence.

For the words, clotted in the tormented throats of those told they are loved unconditionally, but cannot be who they are, because it will send them to an eternity of fire.

For those raped physically, mentally, and emotionally by the guilt and fear of an ideology that taught them to keep their beauty silent, and utter a string of Hail Marys instead.

For those carrying the weight of an unspeakable defilement in their bodies, minds, and spirits and have never since been able to connect God and Love, because they cannot understand how these two synonyms can feel so horribly different.

This weekend I hold silence to hear the screams that still linger in the air, audible when you stop to lend a sobered and reverent ear.   I hold silence to hear the voices and the stories they never got to tell.   I hold silence for those who wander, lost and lightless, on this Earth, in for and out, due to the false representation of unconditional love that has stolen the inner children and turned them to husks of what were once powerful, unquestionably self-loving beings.

This weekend, if it resonates with you, and even if it just for a small chunk of time, I invite you to join me in respecting those who have been conditioned by ideologies of all kinds with silence.  And if not, quieten and listen whenever you can.  Collective awareness can heal the deepest energetic wounds , and our woprld needs it now.

I love you, truth warriors.”

This is not the ramblings of someone who is unloving and ill-intentioned.   And not everything in that post is wrong.   And it also highlights how important it is that we do a much better job of finding ways to characterize God’s love for us in a way that can reconcile the tough questions about what that means in the context of the very real existence of Hell.

But he has been misled in a very diabolical way.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the term diabolical conjurs up imagery of demons and monsters and ugliness.    And for good reason, for that is what lies behind the mask of it all.   But something that is diabolical does not have that appearance to one who is swayed by the diabolical.   The very nature of the diabolical is to take something that is evil and disguise it and present it as good.   Or to take something good and pervert it and re-present it as something else (e.g. traditional marriage is about being happy, people want to marry people of the same sex, therefore same-sex marriage is good.   The premise here is faulty, but is widely accepted.)

The post above perverts the entire idea of what self-love is.   The problem is that the entire underlying baseline is now faulty, so all other arguments and conclusions that stem from it are faulty.   Regardless of how thoughtful, well-meaning, emotional, and even loving the case is, if the case is made on a faulty premise everything else is flawed.

In this case, there are a couple faulty premises.   The first is that unconditional love necessarily implies that there are no expectations of behavior attached.   This is wrong.   Unconditional love, by definition, means that you are loved despite your flaws and your behavior.   Unconditional love in no way dismisses anything bad as acceptable.   It means that I love you anyway.   Unconditional love could even mean that you find ways to point out issues of belief, faith, behavior, etc. but always in a spirit of charity.   It also means that if all these attempts fail, you will still love that person.   This is different from accepting behavior as good and right.   It can be a difficult distinction when emotion and humanity of the individuals is involved, but from a purely logical standpoint, this is really not all that difficult a distinction to make.   The main issue is that we want our children, brothers, in-laws, and friends to be happy.   It is difficult to see someone struggle with their weaknesses and tell them they need to control this thing or that thing, especially when all the world is telling them that it’s OK, and what you were taught is just an archaic ideology.   It is much easier from a relationship standpoint to relent, and let be what be.

The second problematic premise here is that self-love is about what makes you happy.    “God made me that way” is a common refrain.    God made all of us with infinite dignity, and it is true that we are His creation, warts and all.   But never has this been an excuse to purposely give in to our own weaknesses.   We all have them.   Some weaknesses society has decided to celebrate and some weaknesses, not so much.   Those who are prone to anger are asked to control that urge.   And this is the right thing to do.   Some people really struggle with it.   We are asked, in our maturity, to keep it under wraps.    But if someone has a weakness in the area of sexual perversion (of any sort, really – both heterosexual perversion and same-sex attraction, among many other things) it is difficult to find anyone admit this is a weakness that needs to be controlled, other than when issues of violence is involved.    We suppress other things and say it’s for our own good, but in this area it is claimed that suppressing it is a horrible thing.   There is no consistency.

The issue at hand is that we tend to define ourselves – and thus the self we love – according to what we feel, think, and do.   I am sorry, but this is a flawed idea of self.   It is true that our experiences, thoughts, feelings, education, urges, etc. form our character.   But that is not us.   We can, at any time, change our opinions.   We can change our behavior.   We can control our urges – perhaps with help in doing so.    This is not “us.”    What we are is human.   What we are is body and a soul.   What we are in baptism, quite literally, is an adopted child of God.  What we all are is an image of God.   All the rest takes who we are and puts it to work in what we do, what we say, and how we act.   I am not defined by my heterosexuality, my marriage, my kids, my job…   these are all outward signs to people around me what I think and feel and believe and what is important, and may very well then indicate to them who I actually am.    But who I am is actually fundamentally the same as who everyone else is.   The question is, are we exhibiting this outwardly or aren’t we?

I don’t want to make it sound like we’re all clones.   Obviously, the last item of “who we are” is our particular and unique DNA.   Between the genetic code and the soul, we are all individuals and unique.   It is said that no two snowflakes are alike, and yet every snowflake is made through the same process and is made of the same components.   How a snowfall drifts or flies or melts or sits does not define what that snowflake is.   It is a snowflake, pure and simple.

I fear that fewer and fewer people understand this, and even if explained, would accept it.

If you really want to “be who you are” then you need to be a child of God.   And if you are to act like what you are, then what you think and do and say needs lead with “am I thinking of self-love in terms of what I want or in terms of what God wants for me? “    That is not an easy question, because sometimes God calls us to suffer, to struggle, and to use those weaknesses to utterly rely on Him for our happiness, and not the things of this world – even relationships.