January 24, 2018 v5 p3
There has been a lot of tragic and disturbing items in the news lately. While those are difficult to deal with sometimes, the reaction to them may be even more tragic and disturbing.
In November of 2011 a Grand Jury indictment was brought down on former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. In August of 2016 The Indianapolis Star released a report into allegations of sexual complaints, which lead to the recent news of Dr. Larry Nassar abusing over 150 girls. Unless you’ve been living in a cave without internet (if you are, how are you reading this?) then you’re most likely familiar with these stories. I really don’t want to go into the details of what both of these horrible men did. All that would do is bring more attention to the sick men who perpetrated these crimes. That isn’t what I want to focus on with this post. In order to help illustrate what the point I’m trying to make I need to mention these stories. What led these men to do such horrible acts? I don’t know. I don’t want to try and speculate about it either.
The top goal I have set for myself this year is to strengthen my relationship with God. I have come to realize that by doing that I will be able to take all of the lessons I’ve learned in my past to be a success in everything that I do. In Philippians 4:13 we are reminded “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” This has never become more evident to me than it has in past couple of weeks. I’ve been praying for His guidance for some time now and I wasn’t really sure that I was hearing what he had to say. When I realized that I wasn’t doing what Priest I gave my last confession to told me to do, I decided I should at least start there. After I started the first thing I was told to do it made me realize that it was God who told me what to do through the Priest. I knew this was how confession worked, but for whatever reason I wasn’t putting it into practice. Immediately my prayers began to come to life again, they had gotten stale for a couple of weeks. I didn’t change anything about them, but they certainly changed. So I continued to do more of what I was told during confession, and more has been revealed to me.
I have always had a problem doing what I knew I should be. Not really in a sense of my faith, because if you’ve been here for a while you know that really wasn’t a part of my life for a long time. I would always procrastinate on doing things I knew I should. I would push timelines to the very last minute, and then stress myself out as I was forced to finally sit down and take care of what needed to be done. Once everything was completed on time and in a glowing manner I would always look back and say to myself that I just need to pressure of the deadline to do my best work. That was never true. I never did anything any different in those last minute rushes than I would have if had started a project weeks in advance. I was always more interested in what I wanted to do rather than doing what I had committed to. It’s also not like I didn’t want to commit to these tasks when I made the commitment, but as time went on I would always find something else instead, and it wasn’t always something productive or better. A lot of the time I wasted was spent on the couch on weekends napping. I can excuse away those naps in a 1000 different ways, but they were never better than working on what I committed to.
My wife gave me a book this past Christmas which is proving to be one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s really been eye opening to how I’ve been living my life up until now. I thought I established a pretty deep relationship with Jesus over the past three years since I returned to my faith, but in reality I’m just scratching the surface. The section I’ve been reading through over the last few days is all about idolatry. When most people hear that word they think about the worship of idols. Idols come in many forms, and for the most part they aren’t small statues that you put on a pedestal and burn a candle in front of. Anything you put in front of your love of Him becomes and idol. When you choose to spend money on stuff instead of donating it to a charity, you’re making the money and idol. I don’t mean you have to give all of your excess money to charity, but if you have some it’s, His preference that you give some. It’s things like this that are leading us down a slippery slope.
So you’re probably trying to figure out how this ties to the two sexual assault cases I mentioned at the beginning. These are both pretty extreme examples, but this is where the slippery slope leads to. The more you worship your idols, the more you take yourself away from Him. Those idols then begin to take control of your life. When idols begin to take over your life you no longer have the free-will that He has given you. In 2 Peter 2:19 we are told, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” You become a slave to that idol and begin to make more decisions the appease that addiction. Eventually you begin to tell yourself that what you are doing is right. It then becomes easier for you to add in more or different idols to your life. If we don’t start changing our ways then there can only be one result, and it won’t be pretty. If you look back through history to other examples of when people have allowed these idols to take control it never ends well for those people. If you’d like a biblical reference, just refer to the story of King Saul. He was told to completely destroy the Amalekites, leaving nothing behind. Instead he kept the best of the cattle, sheep, and lambs. He took Amalekite King, Agag, hostage. He did all of this so he could give his soldiers the best animals for sacrifice, making them remember what Saul did for them instead of God, making himself and idol. Because of this disobedience Samuel was instructed to annoint a new king.
I have really focused on removing the idols from my life that have lead me down that slippery slope in the past. I’ve gotten a pretty good foothold, and am ready for the long treck back to the top.