SJW is not Love

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SJW = Social Justice Warrior. This term is used to identify the zealous drive that has become popular in western culture to make the world right because of injustice. While noble on the face many times this zealous undertaking includes obnoxious, violent, and manipulative ends justify the means tactics. SJW comes in all kinds and degrees. Pet rescue, Climate change, champion for homelessness, LGBT rights, minimum wage, denouncing white privilege, Black Lives Matter, equal pay for women, vegetarian, immigration, alt-right, and the list could continue. Society is breaking down into social tribes of people who are at war with each other and seek only to champion their own cause. In all of this yelling the real injustice that should be addressed seems to be lost. Jesus speaking of the signs of the end of the current Church age describes a world where hate rules and people stop loving others.

10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12 ESV

While society may not be at that point Christ described a case might be made that we are seeing the frothy edges of an unloving bubble. Images of people attacking and saying despicable things at each other over the presidential campaign is illustrative that at the heart of man is a great evil. Very little love is on display in the current social climate. A battle to control the sword of government is underway. Forcing people to bake cakes for weddings or chants of lock her up have become the preferred rally cries. Will the sword of government be used to force people to help the poor? Can the country survive such division? Paul in his letter to the Church in Corinth provides a detailed description and definition of love. True love. Not selfish lustful love that the world champions. Paul describes the nature of God in this famous chapter. Love is patient, love is kind. But at the intro he provides why love is needed in any action and in our SWJ world this is something to dwell on.

3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV

If one finds themselves sucked into taking part in an SJW protest my question is why and for what purpose. Why does one protest? The answer might be because of the injustice against those who are poor or disenfranchised. But what motivates one to champion that cause? Anger at the people who ignore poverty? Anger at the corporation that supposedly stole from the impoverished person? Or can an SJW movement claim to be genuinely broken and hurting because of love for the person in need? Does the SJW movement love the person that they want to help? Paul says you can give up your very life for people in need but if you do not love then you gain nothing.

So where does love come from and how do I champion justice in love verses frustration, anger, and manipulation? Love that Paul speaks of can only be sourced from one place. That kind of love cannot be manufactured in the heart of a man. That kind of love cannot be purchased at any price affordable to mortals. Love that Paul speaks of can only come from an overflow of its original author.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 ESV

Not only is true love sourced from God Himself it is the essence of who our Creator is. God is love. Love comes from God alone. This is why Paul tells the church in Corinth that if they die for a cause but do it without love, without God, then they have gained nothing. It is a harsh truth about our nature and relationship with God. He created us to be loved by Him and to then in turn love others. We however take up the SJW cause not in the love of God but in the selfishness of man.

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11 ESV

We stand at a crossroads all who are reading this. Do we move forward in love or do we stay unaccomplished fighting against oblivion. If you do not have a relationship with the author of love then it is time to submit to Christ, who is the ultimate act of love, who died for our naked hate in order to establish a relationship with God the original source of love. If you do have the saving faith from God and are living a life of selfish anger at the world, then now is the time to seek Christ about breaking your heart to love your neighbor in an honest, faithful, and giving way.

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39 ESV

 

Lesson #2: Conflict in the Home

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Have you ever been angry or upset because of the action of others? Is anger a SIN? We sometimes have the idea that anger is not called for and so we do not talk about it or we hide it away from our family. Of course we can also live with our anger so out in the open that it causes conflict in the home. Anger is not a bad thing in and of itself. God is described as “slow to anger” (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 86:15). The key here is being slow and justified when allowing anger to be realized. God’s righteous anger is not selfish or a quick tempered lashing out. His anger bears up patiently waiting for us His creation to repent and call on His great mercy.

How do you deal with the anger and conflict that comes to any marriage and family? Do you practice the cold shoulder? Do you yell, scream, and throw stuff? Or do you plot unpleasant difficulties for the target of the anger? Whatever our anger and whatever the source God wants for us to face it head on and reconcile that trouble.

23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 ESV

What God does not want is for anger to dwell in our hearts because it will eat us up and become bitterness. This bitterness is where the sin dwells and our enemy is more than happy to destroy a marriage with bitterness. He wants for us to get it out in the open and work through it.

15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15 ESV

There is another anger that many of us would not want to recognize or admit and that is anger toward God himself. Are you or have you been angry with God? If you said yes then you have much company. God sometimes asks from us and burdens us with requests and situations that make us upset. Jeremiah a prophet of God was given the task to tell the people that they would be conquered by Babylon and exiled away from their homeland. Jeremiah was beaten and put in stocks because of the bad news he kept delivering. This was a shoot the messenger kind of situation and he was very upset with God.

7 O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. 8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. 9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. Jeremiah 20:7-9 ESV

Job an Old Testament patriarch held more reason to be angry at God than anyone. God had allowed his wealth, workers, and children to be removed in violent occurrences. Job himself was plagued physically with boils all over his body. Job had an expectation to be angry but he has an amazing perspective on the situation.

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her… “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 ESV

“It is well with my soul” is one of the greatest hymns ever written. The author, Horatio Spafford, was a business man who had lost much of his wealth and so he sent his family back to London from America. His family of four daughters and a wife were in a boat that sank on the trip. Only his wife survived the tragedy. He knew the ship sank but did not know if his family survived. His wife sent him a telegraph “survived alone”. I personally can’t imagine the grief and possible anger I might have against God in such a situation. Horatio’s response to the tragedy was to write “Whatever my lot thou has taught me to say it is well it is well with my soul”. This man is an example not unlike Job who holds out a perspective that is eternal and gives Glory to God in all things.

As with our spouse and so it is with God we must keep an eternal perspective. We must love one another and bear up with each other in love just as God has loved us. Do not be upset with God when you see others who seem to have a better life or circumstances. We have what we need from God.

The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, Isaiah 14:24 ESV

Review with the small group the take home worksheet and discuss the questions together. Here are the small group discussion questions and a link to the take home worksheet…

  1. Are there any “open loops” that need to be resolved with your spouse or with God?
  2. Have you kept a safe distance from God because of a “no” or circumstance you do not like?
  3. Do you need to check-in with your spouse to lovingly confront any open issues?
  4. Do you need to apologize for a recent or long standing conflict?

Click here for a PDF copy of the take home worksheet

Genesis 4:7 | God’s Mercy to a Murderer

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God after the fall continued his fellowship with Adam, Eve, and their Children. I imagine that the relationship was similar to that of the days in the garden where God would be present in some form building a relationship with Adam and Eve. This side of the fall and curse however resulted in need for an offering for sin and an acknowledgment of how one’s sins break the relationship with God. Eve’s first two sons Cain and Abel are recorded providing offerings to God as I would assume Adam and Eve had been doing as well. Their offering may have been modeled after what God did for Adam and Eve after the original sin where God himself killed an animal to provide skin covering for their shame.

21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21 ESV

The outcome of these offerings from Cain and Abel should remind all of just how quickly sin escalates in the heart of men and how it impacts their family and God’s relationship with the creation.

6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. Genesis 4:6-10 ESV

Cain and Abel both provided offerings to God however Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s offering was not. The acceptance of Abel’s offering resulted in fellowship with God the Creator. In fact the next time this kind of offering is mentioned within the Bible is when God was setting up the regular rules of engagement to Moses and Aaron.

41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 42 It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. Exodus 29:41-42 ESV

The offering that Abel provided allowed him to meet and speak with God and God accepted the offering. Cain’s offering was rejected but still in God’s mercy and grace he continued the relationship with Cain speaking directly to him to encourage him to do the right thing if he wanted acceptance. Most likely God rejected Cain’s offering because of a heart and motive issue and he warns Cain that sin is “crouching at the door”.

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15 ESV

What Cain should have done is repent of the anger in his heart and turn toward God to do what he knew would be the right thing to do. God clearly indicates that He would have accepted Cain. Even after Cain had killed his own brother God in a display of undeserved mercy gives Cain an opportunity to repent for what had happened, but Cain rejects the grace of that moment by claiming to not know about what happened to Abel. God knew what happened so the questioning from God to Cain is an opportunity for Cain to turn away from the sinful path and to restore the relationship.

God provides that same opportunity for people today. While we are all sinners that deserve death because of our rebellion, God has provided his own substitutionary payment. He provided an offering we could not provide ourselves so that we can be like Abel standing before the Creator accepted and in fellowship. God’s advice to Cain is still true to people today and even more so because God has revealed his saving grace from sin in Christ.

7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him… 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:7-8; 14 ESV