Monday, September 16, 2013

You are THAT Man!

An acquaintance made a comment a few weeks ago that caused me to realize that to the group we're apart of, I'm "that mom with all those kids". Another person said something that made me realize that in another group of people, I'm "that mom who homeschools". It got me to thinking about how I refer to people. I'll tell Kent a story or event from our day and I'll say "Oh, you know Jane. She's the one that only cooks organic food {or some other identifying factor}."  Then my over worked, and sometimes confusing even to me, thought process caused to me start pondering identities.

There are plenty of good qualities for you or your family to be identified by.

Maybe you're "that family that lives on a farm", "is always neat"  or " always on time" {this one would not pertain to us!}.

Earlier this week I was reading in Ezekiel and verse 49 from chapter 16 jumped out at me.
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

Even though I knew those sins were there, I wasn't expecting them to be the ones that Ezekiel was prompted to point out. We all know about the "big" sins, Sodomy. Abortion. Murder. Rape. Stealing. When we meet people whose lives are characterized by these sins we tend to refer to them by their sins. "That horrible man that killed those people." "That woman that aborted those twins." Those are the easy sins to point out. Ask any of my children if abortion is ok, or even more revealing, ask them if they would ever support an abortionist, and they would quickly tell you that abortion is wrong. However, in this passage the Lord doesn't point out Sodom's obvious sin. He specifically says their iniquity was pride, fulness of bread, greed and idleness.

WOW! Pride. How many of us are guilty of pride on a daily {or more} basis?  Know anyone that has refused to do or take a job because it was "beneath" them and were happy to depend on others {fulness of bread}?  Let's not forget idleness. There's even a saying that an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Why don't we call these sins out? Why aren't the TV preachers delivering sermons on the sinfulness of covetousness? I'll tell you why. These sins are socially acceptable.

Socially acceptable. That explains a lot. They're palatable. Sure the boaster is annoying but he's not hurting anyone, right? Wrong! Ezekiel lists that as Sodom's first sin.

In my home when my children get to thinking they're smart, they have plenty to eat so their bellies are full and their bodies are strong, and their time isn't structured, they become very difficult to live with. They destroy property, then lie to cover their tracks. They mistreat their brothers and sisters. They balk at responsibility. That sounds an awful lot like our nation.

Sodom was destroyed by God. Abraham couldn't find enough righteous people for the city to be spared. Sodom's root problem wasn't whoredom or sodomy. It was pride and idleness. Lot was embarrassed/ashamed/scared when the men showed up at his home and wanted the angels sent by God. Was he ashamed when pride and covetousness consumed the city? Nope. When Abraham and he decided to divide their camp in order to keep the peace it was Lot who looked over at the well watered plain and the booming cities of Sodom and Gommorah and the lust of his flesh prompted him to go where he thought he could find greener grass. His own lust ended up consuming his entire family save his two youngest daughters. They thought not only Sodom and Gommorah had been destroyed, but the entire world. Their incestous relationship with their drunken father created Ammon and Moab who later became the nations of the Moabites and Ammonites who were a thorn in the side of Israel, Abrahams decendents for generations. Truthfully, the problem began when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. He was not supposed to have brought Lot along in the first place. Imagine that, in our pride, we get to thinking we know better than God.

Now would be a good time for me to get on my soap box and proclaim that as Christians we should address these sins. Make sure that boaster knows that pride is a sin. Tell the man that refuses to work fast food; to take any job. To that pleasure seeking man, find something productive to do.  Just think of the changes we could bring about! BUT, that isn't what needs to happen.

As Christians, we need to examine our own lives. We need to draw near to God through his Word. We need to fill our minds and lives with good and holy things. We need to stop being doubleminded and quit trying to keep one foot in the world just as Lot tried to do.

Because these sins are socially acceptable, we don't seem to be able to see the danger. The lights of the big city makes it appear glamourous but it is not a wholesome place to hang your hat. When you don't see something as dangerous, it's even more difficult to flee from.

We simply can't be a people who claim faithfulness to God and dabble in the world. It will not work. We will love one and hate the other. Perhaps that's why the songwriter penned the term, "I need thee every hour." I don't need the Lord to stop me from committing murder, or abortion, or sodomy every hour. I do need him to keep me from pride and idleness, and sharpness of tongue every hour.
Lord, please help me to remove the beam from my own eye.

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