Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.
Encouragement is one of the best things in life. I mean, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really amazing. We all need it. It can keep us going in tough times.
I love to give encouragement to others. One of my students said back in the day, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mr. Cahill, I think the only reason God put you on planet Earth was to encourage other people!Ã¢â‚¬Â Wow. What a neat thing to hear from a student.
But I also like to receive encouragement as well. It can really help me get through some of those Ã¢â‚¬Å“ugghhÃ¢â‚¬Â times in life.
Well, I got this Ã¢â‚¬Å“piece of encouragementÃ¢â‚¬Â by email the other day, and I wanted to share it with you:
I just read your article about Auburn and gay marriage.
My daughter just came out. She was sobbing and apologizing. She thought my husband would hate her. She tried to tell her father, a Catholic drug and alcohol-addicted doctor, but he was like you: judge, judge, judge. He overdosed from drugs. What would Jesus say:Ã‚Â At least he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gay?
If we had legal unions for gay people where they had property rights, fair tax laws, etc., perhaps it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rile up all the holier-than-thou types such as you, but your kind always fought against that as well. So they call it marriage, and all you Bible-thumpers go mad. You know what? **** you! And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell me you are praying for me. Pray for the haters. God makes people the way they are.
I highly suggest you read the bookÃ‚Â ForgedÃ‚Â by Dr. Bart Ehrman. It reveals how most of the Bible is written by anonymous sources and by people who claim to be who they are not. I must warn you, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heavy reading. It might be too difficult for you, and it has no pictures. You probably wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t read it. You probably canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t handle the truth.
Mrs. Sparrow, ex-Presbyterian, ex-Catholic, ex-music minister for 25 years, and now, proud god-believer, but anti-religion and anti-fake scripture gal.
Now, now, I know what you must be thinking:Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to write Mark a note of encouragement, just like Mrs. Sparrow did!!Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â No, no, her letter was enough encouragement for one day! I am nearly all encouraged-out! So please, save those emails of love and encouragement until about 2041.
Well, the better news is that Mrs. Sparrow read one of my newsletters! That is a good thing. She didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like what she read, but that is fine. When you share your faith or the teachings of Christianity, it will ruffle plenty of peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feathers. Truth does that to people. Truth doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care about feelings. When truth is laid out on the table, the hearer has to get on one side of it or the other. That is why you must put truth out there, so people can decide which side to be on.
To Judge or Not to Judge?
As some people have said, the following verses are the most misunderstood in the Bible:
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beamÃ‚Â isÃ‚Â in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
People use these verses all the time to tell others, and especially Christians, that they are not supposed to judge. But is that what this passage says? Now if all you did was read verse 1, you might come to that conclusion. But as we have said through the years, context matters. Context always matters when reading any document, but especially when reading the Bible.
Never forget how cults get started. They take a Bible verse out of context, and then twist it to mean what they want it to mean. They make the verse not mean what the text actually says because they want to put their spin on it.
If you read those verses again from Matthew 7, you will see that we are supposed to judge! That is part of the Christian life! It is okay to say something is right or wrong. But Jesus is cautioning you to do it righteously. Speak the truth, but speak it in a loving way. Speak it in a way that shows people you actually care about them.
I have no problem saying things like, “Bart Ehrman is one of the worst false teachers of our time.” No problem at all. The facts back it up.
In part of my response to Mrs. Sparrow, I wrote:
You are correct that Bart Ehrman has destroyed many people’s faith. I am sure you also know that his Ã¢â‚¬Å“scholarshipÃ¢â‚¬Â has been weighed and found wanting.
Then she sent this reply back to me:
God says….? No, that is whatÃ‚Â yourÃ‚Â God says. There are other gods to many [of us]. There is no proof of God nor [for] who wrote the scripture. When you deny basic rights to people, like equal housing, taxes, health care, and end of life decisions, it is not love but hate. And your God says Ã¢â‚¬Å“love one another.Ã¢â‚¬Â The good old boys at the SBC, who are homophobic and misogynistic, are feeling the repercussions of removing women from pulpits, universities, and telling women to submit. The sex abuse and cover-up is appalling…no wonder people are dropping like flies.
Laws that Protect
I responded again, but she has chosen not to continue engaging. I responded with logic, truth, and love, but those were not what she was looking for. She just wanted to spew on me some of the hate she has toward Christians. That is okay. Not the first time that has happened.
Also, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t buy the basic-rights or equal-housing argument when it comes to marriage. As I told her and tell many others, Ã¢â‚¬Å“All you have to do is change the laws in your state!Ã¢â‚¬Â Change the death-benefit laws. Change the equal-housing laws. Change the tax laws. Pretty simple. That is how legislation works. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t redefine marriage because you want to get someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s property after they die.
And remember, when people say or write things like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“And your God says ‘love one another,’Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â what they really mean is: “You need to give up your position and agree with mine.”Ã‚Â That is not love. We have unity over the love of truth. Nothing else.
All Life is Valuable
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
What Mrs. Sparrow has not realized to this point is how valuable she is. Too many people today worship the creation and the animals all around them. Mrs. Sparrow is infinitely more valuable to God than any sparrow she has ever seen. Please pray for her and her family to realize the immense importance they have in the eyes of God. Please pray for someone to take them under their wing before it’s too late.
Until the Nets are Full,
P.S.Ã‚Â And if anyone wants my momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s email address to send her one of those super encouraging emails, just let me know!! She could really use some encouragement today.