Justifying and Justified Responses To Evil

burning cityImagine that the city you live in is on fire. It’s enclosed and no place to run. Once a beautiful city until someone lit a match. Then the fire spread out, engulfing block after block.

Four things arise from this. There is one group angry at the government already, the fire is another excuse to hate them. However, they’re not doing anything to stop the fire.

Another group hates the fire, and is fighting it because of the damage it’s doing. It’s obviously everyone’s’ problem. The first group believes the government should fix it with a snap of their finger.

Thing is that they hadn’t thought it through. The city is burning everywhere. To put it out would mean dropping so much water that everyone drowns and everything is leveled. Alternatively, use enough foam that everyone suffocates.

It’s Like That With Evil
  • It’s everyone’s problem to solve.
  • When someone attacks your faith because of it, ask them what their solution is.
  • Have your solution ready, remember; it’s everyone’s’ problem.

That’s just the intellectual part. It’s easy.

Now For The Hard Part

The evil should outrage us, and we want a target to attack, and a mission to defeat it. The thing is, the outrage is either justifying or justified.

Justifying outrage is when someone already hates someone/something, and they’re just looking for another excuse. I can’t respect that.

Justified outrage comes when someone is actually trying to fix it rather than sitting in the bleachers complaining. You can complain, however, you better be getting your hands dirty. I can respect that even if we disagree on the cause and are working towards the same goal.

An example, you can’t complain about homelessness and not do anything about it. You’re armchair quarterbacking, no one takes you seriously.

It’s easy to be a keyboard warrior. I can write all day long, but if I’m not living it or trying my best to, then don’t take me seriously.

The Theological Implications

There are two ways to solve the problem of evil with the snap of God’s fingers.

  1. Take away everyone’s free will. You’re just a meat puppet without an ability to choose anything.
  2. Kill everyone. You read that right. Have you ever hurt anyone in any way? Will you again? KAPOW!

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Romans 3:23 NIV

These choices suck. Is there another option?

God’s Answer

Turn away from your own natural tendencies to hurt others and live for yourself. It’s counter to His two commandments that sum up the Law; love Him and people. Think of what it would look like if everyone followed those two rules.

Follow Jesus, He’ll start cleaning all the junk out, and make it easier to follow Him. He’ll make you good for goodness sake.

Then you go out, actively making Jesus your leader and doing good in the world. You’ll be getting your hands dirty, being an example, and telling others about Jesus. Trying to win as many as you can before God permanently puts a stop to evil.

Justice is coming.



Its came before all through the Bible. The Flood. Egypt. Canaanites. Israel itself on multiple occasions. Babylon.

The final judgment will come when everyone who can be saved are, and those who rejected Him will be given their heart’s desire. Life without God. No one has ever experienced that while alive. Then they’ll have to face an eternity of dealing with evil.

Hell is where evil is quarantined.

Oh, and if you wish God would go ahead and kill all the evil people, just read Revelations 19:11-21. Justice is served.

Darth Grader

How To Respond To Work Conflicts Biblically

Things go pretty smooth at work when everything is in its place, and people are doing what they’re supposed to do without correction. Then someone tosses a rock in the gears. The system seizes up and guess what, you’re the one in charge. man-in-gears

Being a supervisor is a hard job in my experience in two areas, long hours and dealing with people. I previously wrote on a Christian’s attitude at work, but what about a Christian’s attitude as boss?

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with respect for authority, and with a sincere heart [seeking to please them], as [service] to Christ— not in the way of eye-service [working only when someone is watching you and only] to please men, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart; rendering service with goodwill, as to the Lord, and not [only] to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive this back from the Lord, whether [he is] slave or free.

You masters, do the same [showing goodwill] toward them, and give up threatening and abusive words, knowing that [He who is] both their true Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him [regardless of one’s earthly status].

Ephesians 6:5-10 AMP

Who Do We Work For?

While we all have bosses over us, ultimately we work for Jesus. As his disciples, and ambassadors to the Kingdom of God, we should be standing out. Everyone who has a job should be exemplary, not to please the fickle hearts of people, but our Lord.

How’s This Apply To Those In Leadership?
Darth Grader

Darth Grader

They, we, also work for Jesus. As a man under authority, with authority over others; I say to this one go, and he goes. Just as He is, I should be like Him. You should be like Him. Here’s how according to the passage I quoted:

  • Don’t threaten those who work for you.
  • Do not use violent or abusive words.

Two reasons as to why you shouldn’t. First, they’re a soul Jesus died for, or wants to save. He loves them that much and they shouldn’t be treated like dirt.

It’s the same way Jesus looks at you. He didn’t sacrifice himself because of any status you may have. Jesus died for a broken, messed up person who had a laundry list of sins. Just like the people that are under you.

Secondly, heightened emotions cloud the mind. They won’t hear the correction, they’ll hear the character assassination. Rory wrote in ConCom, ask yourself ‘How would I phrase this if I genuinely liked the person?

Good advice considering he was a corrections officer who had to talk down disturbed people and human predators. It also fits in with this recent post here.

How Did Jesus Correct?
  • He compared and encouraged a better way (Luke 10:41-42)
  • He hit the heart of the problem and the motive behind it (Luke 10: 25-37)
  • He made sure his reasons were firmly based in Scripture.
  • He confronted directly.

Always have an eye towards restoration. Never go out with the intention to ‘get someone’. Peter denied Jesus three times while Jesus was on trial (Luke 22:54-62). Peter remembered two things in that moment, Jesus predicted it, and the time Jesus said, “But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.“(Matthew 10:33)

It should’ve been curtains for him. After his resurrection, Jesus gave Peter an opportunity to repent and another chance (John 21:15-17). He was restored back into his position.

Then he stuck his foot in his mouth again (John 21:20-23). Oh Peter…

The Breakdown

Treat them as a person, not as a problem. Both of you are under the same authority. Confront directly, the person and the problem, with the goal to fix the problem and restore the person. God doesn’t play favorites, neither should you.


Who Is Jesus To You?

I was looking at the first time Jesus calmed a stormy, wind-ripped sea, and this verse stuck out: “They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Who is Jesus?

His own followers had issues with that and they were with him every day. The crowds thought he was another prophet. King Herod Antipas thought he was John the Baptist risen from the dead because of his miraculous power (Matthew 14: 1-2). He healed the sick, restored sight, caused the deaf to hear, interrupted funerals by raising the dead, cast out demons, and could stop a storm with three words, ‘peace, be still’. There were a lot of opinions about him then and still are now.

I Want Jesus On My Team!

It seems everyone wants Jesus on their team. A lot of Hindus see him as a holy man who was a form of the divine, like Krishna, Remas, and Buddha. Muhammad said Jesus was a prophet who worked miracles and ascended into heaven. The Baha’i faith also wants Jesus on their side as a manifestation of God, similar to Hinduism’s thoughts. Buddhists believe he was enlightened and wise, with the current Dalai Lama saying he was a holy man.

Yet, they’re all missing the most important piece.

Who Is This Man

Today, Jesus is still generally seen as a wise and moral teacher. Depending on a person’s political Best-High-qulaity-Jesus-Christ-Wallaper-15leanings, they focus on his moralistic teachings (conservative) or his values (liberal). We still miss the mark after 2,000 years. Why do we have problems understanding?

In the boat that night, the disciples had probably been with Jesus for at least a year. They had seen his authority, just speaking things into happening. He had told a paralyzed man his sins were forgiven. Some in the crowd scoffed at that. It’s understandable, walk up to a stranger and tell them that you forgive their sins, see what the response would be. He acknowledged it and said, ‘which is easier, that, or ‘get up’.’ The man got up.

He spoke with authority, taught with authority, not using others for reference to back him up like we do, and it made sense. He had shown authority over life and death, by interrupting the funeral of a young man (Luke 7: 11-17). Now he shouts at a storm and it stops?

Next time a thunderstorm rolls through, you try stopping it on command.

Even the extra-biblical sources acknowledge the miracles. I went over them in the Investigating Christianity: Practical Application and the Evidence for a Creator and Jesus. Medical miracles still occur today, they just don’t seem possible because we can’t do them. It doesn’t mean they’re impossible.

C.S Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

12002967_811035205683153_3382720795925210517_nLegend is added today, however the the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament was written too early for that to be the case. It would’ve been easy to debunk.

If he was nuts, he couldn’t be a good moral teacher. The evidence of the miracles show something is true about his claims. Remember telling the crippled guy to take a walk? That’s crazy, unless he gets up.

If it was all a lie he was perpetrating, it would take an impressive amount of stagecraft to ‘rise from the dead’. Then to disappear after talking his disciples into being willing to live poor, itinerant lives that led to death for the lie. Then he couldn’t possibly be considered a moral teacher or even holy.

Calling him crazy or a liar is easy. Writing him off makes it where you don’t have to deal with him then. Like Lewis said, he didn’t give us that option.

He’s not crazy, nor a clever con man, and he worked too many miracles to just be a good guy. We already dealt with legend, so that leaves just one choice.


Why is that a problem for us?

Is it hard to believe? It was for me. I became an agnostic the more I questioned ‘how do I know’. Apologetics, experiences, the pattern emerging as I wrote the first draft of A Ronin’s Journey, and systematic, critical thought made it easier to believe. That’s just the surface issue, though. It’s the answer we give, but not the one we know is true.

We simply don’t want to give up control.

Yet the control we think we have isn’t there. Tomorrow, you could lose everything in a disaster, unemployment, divorce, accident, or death. You can’t completely bend someone to your will, control nature, or heal your sick loved one.

All we have is the small measure of control that our free will provides. Death will eventually come anyway. Then our memory fades into history as our stuff is divided up.

So what are you scared of letting go? Doing what you want?

I still do what I want. I just want more of Jesus than anything else. When I was lord of my life, I had no jesus_helpingone to fall back on.
After my godson’s accident, I was humbled by my inadequacy. I came to the realization that my fate was out of my control. Desperately, I came to God for help, and as the months passed things were working out. It took hindsight to see the chess game and ensuing ripples.

Realizing that, I stepped off my throne, and gave it to Jesus. He was faithful and mighty to save. I can trust him. I can lose everything here, but not everything I have. I’ll have problems but I’m not alone. Life was seeking what I want and still finding it wasn’t enough. Now I’m greatly enriched, without wanting more power, money, or pleasure. I’m satisfied.

Peter said to Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, where the Roman Empire had put down a rebellion and leaving the corpses as a reminder, “You’re the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” He finally got it, more than a head acknowledgement, but with his whole being.

Who is Jesus to you?


The Danger of Having An Unbalanced Personality

personalityI hate to say it, but you can have too much of a good thing. Unless its coffee. A dessert can be too rich. Your meal can have an overpowering flavor where it’s impossible to finish. I wonder if our personalities are the same way?

Do we overly focus on a particular aspect of our personality to the point it becomes our identity?
Where is the balance?

If you focus on making people laugh all the time, people start to see you just as a comedian. It hides the depth of your personality from others. Your perspective is affected as you only look for the funny stuff, and you miss out on the variety of life.

Question and Answer Time
  1. What part of your personality are you focusing on the most?
  2. Where are the other parts that need to be brought out?
  3. Where is the balance?
  4. What is the role and place you take in various situations?

It takes some thought. I know, I have explored who I am and how others see me. Discovering You; How To Find Out What Makes You Tick is the book I wrote on the former. The latter, I just asked questions of others.

People see me as trustworthy and quiet, when I do speak, the words are usually carefully measured. Observant and analytical, I usually need a reason to do anything.

That’s only the book’s cover, what’s inside?

1613959_10151966143360881_5889315584954902464_nThe danger is if I analyze everything, I miss out on the big picture because I’m focused on the minutia. If everything needs a reason, then I miss out on the spontaneity of humor. We play many parts and if someone only sees one part then they’ll miss out on the depth.

I’m a husband, teacher, leader, open ear, and gap-filler where needed. Deeper still is the comic geek who answers texts with hero memes. The theology/apologetics nerd that studies systematic theology text books for fun. The broken part that studied grief, trauma, human behavior, martial arts, and personal protection so he could cope.

How To Balance It All?

My question from the start. The answer, to balance according to the situation. Our characteristics are like tools. Use what is needed without forgetting the rest. It’s like the saying goes, when all you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.

An example: I enter a room and look around (observe, analyze, and plan). If someone wants to talk,  I can be the open ear. An energetic kid running around that my own inner child can play with. A deep conversation? I have a lot of information swirling in my head and a curious nature. If something needs done, it won’t bother me to do it.

By focusing on one part, we place ourselves in a box, becoming one-dimensional. Live like it’s a three-dimensional world.


Friendship Is Weird and Awesome

friendsHave you ever seen a scrubby tree that was desperately grasping at the dirt? That’s me with feelings and relationships. My sister says I’m emotionally stunted. I tell her doesn’t have room to talk. The scary thing is that I’m the most expressive one in the immediate family.

She has a point, though. I once bought a book on how to talk to girls. Believe it or not, I’m no Casanova. After a counseling session, I was gifted with a book on how to make friends. The Secret Blend. I recommend it. The largest section of my note archives is dedicated to social dynamics.

This stuff is either hard to grasp, or I overthink it.

When I bought The Four Loves by C.S Lewis to understand God’s love, I was sticking to my pattern. In it he writes about affection, friendship, erotic love, and charity. I returned to dive into the friendship section.

C.S Lewis Teaches Me About Friends

Friends are those who pull out the characteristics in you that others cannot. You have experiences and inside jokes together that others don’t have. It sets you apart from the rest. Together you face a common interest along with the shared insights that drew you together.

Time passes and the mask we all wear starts to flake off, revealing our deeper selves to them. They see what metal we are made of as we pass life’s tests. Respect and admiration grows from it into a well-informed, robust, appreciative love.

In a great friendship, this appreciative love is so great that deep down you feel humbled before your friends.

Have Friends That Are Better Than You

“As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another,” to quote from Proverbs. There are a few that I admire and am extremely loyal to. The type of friend you drop everything for. These friendships grew from troubled times.

My wife, for one, is stronger than me. She is everything that I’m not, with a big heart, and an ease around people that amazes me. I’ve yet to meet the person who didn’t like her. Expertly, she teases me out of my shell with a single word.

My best friend looks rough. He has more tattoos than he can count, and covered with scars inside and13325697_1106946736030327_4089091590719920516_n out. Then there’s the attitude of a honey badger that hides a bigger heart than he’s willing to admit. He sees and helps people that I don’t even notice when we’re together. It’s second-nature to him. I want to be as kind as him. He’s the only person that I trust to see my deepest, darkest thoughts.

Two other friends are as amazing. One lives life abundantly, who knows exactly what to say to those who are hurting with uncanny ease. The other seemingly expertly balances all the roles they’re in. I learn from watching them grow ahead of me in the journey.

The central theme is that when I was at the bottom, they were there. I look up to, admire, and am a bit in awe of them. When I grow up, I want to be like them. I hope everyone has friends like these, and are a friend like these.


Could Anyone Accuse You Of Being A Christian?

If someone accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? I saw that as a meme on Facebook. It also brought an analogy to mind. One about the evidence in a Christian’s life that doesn’t involve keeping a set of rules.

I’ve said it before, it’s not about checking boxes for every good deed, upbringing, or church attendance. It’s about a relationship.

Follow along with me as I go through this:

If you took off your wedding ring, could anyone tell if you were in a relationship?
Could they tell who you were in a relationship with?
How could they tell?
How often do you talk about your significant other? Are you faithful and loyal to them? How much time do you spend with them? Is there evidence of their presence around you?

Remove a cross necklace from someone, how do you tell if they’re a follower of Jesus?

Love. It’s evident in the love you have for Him. Like your spouse, you naturally bring them up. You don’t do anything to betray them because you love them and don’t want to hurt them. It’s not from fear of consequences, but sadness at the pain caused.

It’s in the time you spend with Him. Making time, grabbing every free moment in a busy day to reach out in prayer, quietly dwelling on the thought of Him, or reading the Bible. Like during a stressful day at work you fire off a text or call your loved one.

That’s a way to tell. They’ve given their life over to Jesus, just like a married couple gives their lives to each other. Is there enough evidence to convict you?