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May 2018

CASTING STONES

  A while back, I was opening a large box, using a box cutter to slice the edges of the large container.  I thought for a moment, “You are not using the cutter in the right way, you are going to cut yourself.”  Just as I had assured myself that I was being careful – in control - and would not get injured, it happened.  The box cutter slipped and cut into my finger.  Fortunately, it did not go too deep – my pride was more injured than my finger.  If only I would have listened to that voice that warned me.

 

  I was thinking about that injury as I was nursing my wound and I thought, “This is so much like the way we deal with sin.”  We say to ourselves, “We won’t hurt ourselves if we indulge a little in some worldly pleasures that so many people around us enjoy.  We are in control…we can stop before we get hurt.”  Satan also assures us that the Lord is just a killjoy, wanting us to miss out on all the fun – “It’ll be OK, I promise” says the father of lies.  It happens so quickly, doesn’t it?  Before we know it, we find ourselves slashed opened and bleeding.  If only we had listened to the wisdom of the Lord when He warned, “Don’t go there!  You are using the gift of life I gave to you in the wrong way and you are going to get hurt.”  Isn’t it good to know that God doesn’t stop loving us after we have sinned?  He is there to bind the wounds and bring us healing.  The Lord uses our wayward dalliances to teach us blessings of His perfect ways compared the destructive ways of the world.

  It seems like only a few years ago I was watching episodes of “Hannah Montana” with my grade school daughter.  But, time went by, my daughter grew older, and she moved on from her “Hannah Montana” phase.  Miley Cyrus, the star of Hannah Montana, moved on as well.  Do you remember back in 2013 when the country was chatting about the obscene performance of Miley Cyrus on the VMA Awards?  It seemed like the funny, sarcastic little girl on the popular T.V. show that Calleigh and I loved to watch was now all ‘grown up’.  Christian author Trevin Wax published an article about that performance by the former “Hannah Montana” star, which touched my heart (it really is an article about sin and grace):

Picking up a sub sandwich today, I saw a news report on CNN about Miley Cyrus’ performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.  I was shocked, then sickened, then saddened.  For the rest of the day, I wondered:  What kind of people are we?  What kind of culture have we created?  What do we want our children to be?  No more wondering.  Tonight, I weep.  I weep for the little girl who gave us Hannah Montana and became a role model to millions of little girls across America.  I weep for the lostness of a girl who doesn’t see herself stumbling around in the dark.  I weep for the news channels that profit from their all-day coverage of a young woman spiraling out of control.  I weep for the American Idol culture that promises glitter and gold to children, then chews them up and spits them out.  I weep for an entertainment culture that celebrates the breaking of every social taboo and the casting off of every restraint, only then to turn and mock the stars that follow suit.  I weep for a tabloid culture that finds celebrity gossip and embarrassing moments titillating.  I weep for women enslaved by a false view of sexual liberation.  I weep for men (myself included) who have failed to say, “Enough is enough.”  I weep for all the times I’ve looked at women as objects and failed to see them as someone’s sisters and daughters.  I weep for the fathers of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and all the family members of all the other women who feel they have to sexualize themselves to achieve success.  I weep for my five-year-old little girl, who twirls around like a princess and hugs me tight at night, when I think of the world she is growing up in, the world I will send her into.  I weep for the broken, messed-up world we live in.  But then I weep at the power of grace. There’s Jesus, lifting the head of a woman of the night and sending her away into the light. There’s Jesus in a crowd, healing a woman desperately trying to cover the shame. There’s Jesus at the well, transforming a woman tossed aside by multiple men.  Weeping is no longer enough.  Now, I pray.

  Not excusing anyone for putting on such a crude exposition for the whole world to see, I realize that in condemning Miley for her sin, I condemn myself.  With disgust and disdain, I hold a stone in my hand ready to hurl it at a young woman – confused, lost and searching for something.  As I examine that stone in my hand that I am about to release, I notice a band aid on my finger…and I remember…and I weep at the power of grace…and I pray.

In God’s Grace, Pastor Kevin

 

 

  
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