Forgiveness is a simple concept in and of itself.  Forgiveness implies the erasure of debt basically.  When someone wrongs you, they become indebted to you in order to make you whole again and correct the wrong.

Forgiveness implies that you count the debt fulfilled even without recompense (payment).

The last few weeks have been filled with heartache and bloodshed.  The terrible consequences of living in a fallen world echo throughout our civilization.  Despite all of our intrepidity poured into minimizing such horrors, they still occur.  Since shortly after the creation of mankind, man has shed man’s blood.  Disease takes the young and the elderly.  Accidents happen.  Atrocities occur.  Death, destruction, and evil overtake our personal worlds without warning.

Today, there are families walking about missing husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins, and close friends all because of our humanity.  That which sets us apart from a dog in the street, or a bird in the sky, that spark of the Divine that makes us unique with a power to create, conceive, invent, and to improve our own human condition can be harnessed for the worst of evils – to shoot, stab, bomb, abort, and destroy each other.

I have written before about the importance of Godly men and women being willing to stand up and fight such evil over, and over, and over again.

My sons are not yet ready to stand and fight at four and just over one and a half.  In our household, I stand with my gaze fixed outward at the horizon – trying to discern and classify threats.  My wife does the same, but she also must look inward and remind me from time to time that there is little we can do against some threats, but come to our knees and pray.

There is one more thing we must do though.  Those that are hurting from loss and death are usually incapable of taking this step at first as the searing pain is too great, the anguish too fresh, but those of us detached from the situation personally must take up the mantle.

Despite all of the evils done, despite all of the losses taken and the pain caused… we must forgive.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his elder brother could never be sufficiently punished in this life to fill the void and pain caused in so many lives (or in our collective soul as Americans).  Even if Dzhokhar faces the death penalty and is ultimately killed for his role in the Boston attacks, his life does not equal the three innocents lost and the almost two hundred permanently changed by the evil action.

Must we accept evil in this world? Absolutely not.

Must we forgive the lost souls abducted into committing gross evils among us?  Absolutely.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

Dzhokhar is a lost soul, just as many others.  He is as much deserving of forgiveness and grace as me.  Will he face judgment for his actions?  Yes, but they will fall short of making those hurt or killed whole again, and that is why we must forgive and turn to God in prayer so that He may make us whole again as it is He who is uniquely able.

Define This

“Marriage is the purview of Almighty God alone, and thus it cannot change because He does not. Therefore, His standard will remain in effect for eternity, because He is God and we are not.”

Steve Deace

Mankind can not change marriage.  We only are capable of honoring God by following His design and purpose for marriage, or perverting and twisting that which is natural and right in the eyes of the Almighty.  There is no gray on this issue or any moral issue.  There is no equivocation.  There is right and wrong. Good and Evil. Godliness or sin.

If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15


What is good without God?

Can good hinge on human emotion?  some sort of rational definition? or on collective perspective of mankind?  Is it possible to have a definite moral definition of good without an example of the ultimate good – that which we know as God?

What is truth without Truth?

Some would say truth can be determined by scientific analysis of our environment – the collection of evidence, outcome of various tests, and the repeatability of those tests in order to verify theorems and hypotheses about the world around us, but how can we be certain that that evidence, those tests, the very observations made are not tainted by our very perspective?

What is real? How do you define real?  If you are talking about your senses, what you feel, taste, smell, or see, then all you’re talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Morpheus, The Matrix

So if truth is merely chemical and electrical signals interpreted by our brains, then what is truth other than a commonly held perspective?

Without God, there can be no good, no evil, no truth.  Our own fragile lives and transient attitudes and mores are not adequate judges of goodness and truth even when collectively massed into a common consensus.

Is it good for a man to marry a girl only twelve or thirteen years old?  In America, it is not considered good, but in Pakistan or Afghanistan, it is common.  How can we condemn someone in America for something that is perfectly acceptable elsewhere without having some sort of definition of good?

Good can be defined as being positive or desirable in nature.  This viewpoint is prone to self-virtuosity and justification.  A writer that I personally know asked generally yesterday how our culture turns out vicious criminals that lack remorse.

The simple answer is that our culture has fallen away from the ultimate Good and Truth.  We celebrate libertine values with indefinite welfare, no fault divorce laws, homosexuality, idols so various and numerous that I could write twenty pages on just a small sample of them, glamorization of personally destructive lifestyles, and through the faux-good of “tolerance.”

Public opinion is a poor arbiter of good.  There is and can only be one Good and one Truth – unbendable, uncompromising, eternal, and perfect.   So next time someone starts preaching tolerance for same sex marriage, abortion on demand, welfare or anything else that is contrary to Truth (even equating Christianity with Wiccanism or some other religious viewpoint – they cannot both be true!), keep a wary eye – while it might ‘feel’ good to be tolerant for a time, the steps taken in the name of tolerance of evil and sin can only further degenerate society from one of laws and justice based on God-given truth and goodness, to one variable on the transient whims of man and his follies.

The Shadow of the Gun

Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.

Read more at Sultan Knish’s blog.


I have a hard time celebrating the heritage of men and women whether they are of color or not because we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.  My wife and I are of Irish and Italian heritage respectively; those two cultures faced derision, slavery, prejudice, racism, intolerance, and brutality over the centuries, not unlike the plight of “people of color.”  Truly, it is not different from the terrible injustices done to disciples of Christ in the past two millenia and that still go on today.

So in light of that, off we go.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
    Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?

Psalm 94:16

We were made to be courageous

We were made to lead the way

We could be the generation

That finally breaks the chains

Where are you, men of courage?

You were made for so much more

Let the pounding of our hearts cry

We will serve the lord

The only way we’ll ever stand

Is on our knees with lifted hands

Make us courageous

Lord, make us courageous

We will reignite the passion

That we buried deep inside

May the watchers become warriors

Let the men of god arise

Seek justice Love mercy

Walk humbly with your god

We were made to be courageous

And we’re taking back the fight

We were made to be courageous

And it starts with us tonight

Adapted from Courageous, Casting Crowns


Wisdom of Others

I’ll be the first to admit that ultimately, I know and understand very little in this world.  Despite all of the negative news coming from Washington and other supposedly patriotic politicians, let this serve as reminder of what really matters.

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.


Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.

Erich Fromm
May we be strengthened with the understanding that being blessed does not mean that we shall always be spared all the disappointments and difficulties of life.
Heber Grant
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.
Elizabeth Gilbert
An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.

Aiden Wilson Tozer

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Empty Air

The following is the testimony of Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Joy Scott.  Rachel died at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.  Mr. Scott was invited to testify to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Subcommittee.

The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death.

Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

Mr. Scott makes a fantastic point that must be reiterated.  You cannot legislate or outlaw evil.  You must combat it.  You must prepare for it, but you cannot rid the world of it because it entered the world because of our refusal to obey God.  When we took on the mantle of kingship for ourselves by thinking that we know better than Him, we took on a responsibility that we could not and will never be able to handle.

You can pontificate.  You can preach that guns are the problem. You can point your fingers at the pharmaceutical industry and pharmatropic drugs.  You can point out the skeletal remains of our mental health infrastructure.  You can point your finger at legislators, Presidents, Governors, Mayors, or any other governmental official, but until you recognize that the ONLY solution to the human condition is found in the person of Jesus Christ, you are only deluding yourself.  What you should be doing is pointing the finger at yourself, because ultimately only you are responsible.

Emotions after tragedies run high.  Rationality flies out the window.  All because we have had the wool momentarily pulled down from our eyes and can say the evil in the world, if only for a short time.  We react in a kneejerk fashion every time because we assume the mantle of God in knowing good and evil and how to control the latter and promote the former when in reality we know nothing at all.


In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.

Ayn Rand

And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo – that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.

Joyce Carol Oates

God does not compromise.  Christ did not compromise.  Neither should you.


Twisting in the Wind

Have you ever found yourself riding high? Everything is going well, success, popularity, fame, fortune, etc are all just coming to you easily (ok, maybe not quite that high, but you’re well off in some aspect of your life).  Has God ever let the one thing that had you riding high to force you back to your knees?

I can’t help but to think of General David Petraeus and his extramarital affair with Ms. Broadwell, his biographer. I could focus on the political aspects of how the affair may have impacted his judgment, or national security, or even the aftermath of the Benghazi incident and Petraeus’ role in it.

Petraeus had built an extremely successful career in the U.S. Army – he was a four-star general, he had been successful as the commander of the armed forces in Afghanistan, at Central Command, and had been elevated to being the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  His name was even floated about in a number of circles as a possible running mate for Governor Romney against Petraeus’ boss, President Obama.  He was definitely riding high.  He probably felt like the world was his oyster and his pride in his own accomplishments was likely soaring in the clouds.  When he was approached to put together his biography, it probably occurred to him that such a maneuver could parlay quickly into an upcoming political career where he would be instantly thrust into the forefront of many Americans’ minds as a possible future Commander-in-Chief.

God, in His ultimate wisdom, knew that pride is the ultimate downfall of man because we ultimately have nothing to be truly proud of as everything we do is just barely better than the accomplishments of dust.  Petraeus’ affair was found out, investigated, exposed, and has resulted in his resigning as Director of the CIA.  For all intents and purposes, this could be the end of his renowned career.  I think he knows this.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I have a theory, and it is based on nothing more than conjecture at this point, but let me float it so we can see how accurate it is.  For a breakdown of why I think this, please read about the incidents in Benghazi (linked here).

David Petraeus is no longer bound to follow President Obama’s orders.  As CIA Director, the Administration was able to exercise some modicum of control on him, especially if knowledge of this affair was floated as a way to keep him quiet about what really happened.  I’ve heard on the radio that some conservative talk show hosts think Obama fired Petraeus effectively (asking for his resignation) after the election since it wouldn’t be politically damaging, but consider that other public officials have survived extramarital affairs without having to leave their posts.

One simple question – is Petraeus willingly falling on his sword career-wise in order to ensure that truth of what happened in Benghazi sees the light of day? This brings us back to that passage from Romans.  Could something so personally damaging be used ultimately for good?  Absolutely.

Edited to Add (May 13, 2013):

Rumor has it that General Petraeus will testify this week to the House Oversight Committee regarding the Benghazi scandal that exploded in the President’s face last week.  His testimony could be particularly damning.

The question that we will have answered potentially is whether the President and his cabinet were incompetent in their response and subsequent coverup of the events in Benghazi or if they were complicit in it by disallowing reinforcements or rescue missions.

Pick your poison – either one is a surefire path to impeachment proceedings.


I once had a teacher in high school who said that if God didn’t exist we should all be hedonists.  We should all live in the moment and do what feels right to us.

If you want to go have continual orgiastic sex all day long – have at it.

If you want to go smoke pot all day – have at it.

Those that don’t believe in God will say “Great.”

If you want to go kill your neighbor because he borrowed your rake and forget to give it back – have at it.

If you want to rob a bank because you want a new car – have at it.

Now, some of you are probably saying “WAIT A MINUTE – that’s not the same thing…. the first two are totally voluntary and don’t hurt anyone, but the other two hurt people and that is wrong.”

So?  You don’t believe in God.  What does it matter?

I have some hard news for people.  Without God there can be no “GOOD” and no “EVIL.” These are moral constructs and they require a basis in something which is beyond reproach. 

If you deny God than you place that basis in men, whose opinions change from individual to individual.  What is “good” for me might be faithful obedience to what some may think is a fictional god while what is “good” to someone else is an act of violence, or a crime.   This line of thinking is called moral individualism which is when what is moral is defined by each individual and may vary from person to person.

Well what about using the common good as a basis for morality?  Surely that would be more reliable.  That worked fairly well throughout history right?  Shared values must produce reliable measures of “good” within a culture.

Think about the various populist movements of the past.

Red Terror Victims – Kharkov, Ukraine.

Lenin and Trotsky ushered in socialism, which spread throughout much of the world thereafter, in Russia and the body count from that multi-decade experiment will never truly be known.  It has been estimated at 149,649,610 dead through civil war, famine, ethnic cleansings, political imprisonment, death squads, etc.

Holocaust Victims, Buchenwald Concentration Camp – Weimar, Germany

Hitler ushered in national socialism in Germany, which was accompanied by fascism in Italy.  Both were fairly popular during their rise to power since their adherents were democratically elected into office.

These two examples are just a small fraction of the moments where the majority’s opinion rules.  This is moral populism where whatever the majority says is “right” and is “good” is defined in that fashion.

Large, noisy groups, however interesting, cannot be the final arbiters of right and wrong. When consensus becomes our sole guiding light it may all-too-often seem morally legitimate for a majority to oppress a minority, and that, surely, is immoral.

A Blog For All Seasons

Moral individualism leads to anarchy.  Moral populism leads to mob rule.

One of the central themes of my writing to date is God.  By assuming the mantle of the arbiter of good and evil, we defy God.  We assume that we know what is good because of what?  Mushy feelings?  That warm tingle running up (or down) our leg?

How fickle.  How prideful that man would think himself equal to God and able to decide what is truly good.

If God is not the center of your life than you are vacillating around this world operating on a foundation-less morality or none at all.

How can you know what you are doing is truly good or right?  Are you willing to bet for all eternity that I am wrong?

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

Psalm 19:7-9

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