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It is awfully hard to deny there is a sexual abuse crisis in this country given what is unfolding in both Washington DC and the media. The truth that this is an epidemic being ignored and kept silent is being exposed.
The immediate response to exposure is shame. Remember the garden when God came looking for the couple that had just disobeyed. The first response was to hide themselves because they had been exposed. Shame breeds silence and cover up. Whether it is a child that has been molested by a more powerful adult, or a powerful Congressman that has covered the behavior for years. It is shame that destroys.
In these present cases the responses are quite telling. The first response is to deny; “I don’t recall that at all…the accuser is lying…the facts are being misrepresented.” In the garden the man pointed to the idea that his wife made him do it. We have all been there when the moment of exposure turns our stomach in knots and hiding feels like the best response.
After exposure the Pharisees rush to judgment extolling the necessity to “fix” the problem. Quite the hypocrisy. The loud cries come from those that either haven’t been caught or have some delusion they are without sin.
The leaders in Congress are calling for mandatory Sexual Harassment training for all congressmen and senators. Really? Men thirty-five to eighty years old don’t know what it means to take advantage of others yet? They do not know what is right, honorable, respectful behavior so much so that they need training? Did they have parents? Did they go to school? Have they never heard the ten commandments or the golden rule? And what exactly will the training do? Will it address the matter of the evil, wicked, heart that lies silent in every human being?
As the leader of a ministry that attempts to shed light on the truth of this plague, I have to admit that I am encouraged with this moment of awareness on the public stage. However, this ongoing epidemic begins in childhood and is so pervasive across this country that this recent round of examples only scratches the surface. I hope the exposure continues and real attention is paid to the truth of what is out there. Sexual sin has been with us forever and the shame it generates destroys people and cultures in silence and fear of exposure.
It is one thing to sound the alarm, parade around the perpetrators, and call for training. It is quite another to walk into the issue with hope. Healing is not achieved in training programs. Healing isn’t accomplished in seminars and self help books. Healing can never be achieved in silence and solitude. Exposure causes shame. Deep, deep, deep hurt in the soul. Shining a bright light on it without also offering hope is a futile exercise. Sometimes even hope doesn’t break through.
God has walked with me for fifty years with the shame and hurt of childhood sexual abuse. God has been faithful all those years through my wife, children, and those that sincerely desire to walk with me to keep the light of hope glowing. God’s still small voice speaks to my heart every day about the many that are walking the same roadway and I try every day to shed light on the issue, to be available to listen, and to share the pain with others.
Healing happens when one walks with another. I believe it is the best approach. It takes a lot of time, an army of willing walkers, and it is not accomplished in the media or on a stage. It takes place in coffee shops, on long walks, and in quiet gardens where the Savior of our souls whispers into our hearts, that we are His beloved. I pray for those that are still in silence, and I pray for those that will seek to begin the journey with another broken heart.
Harvey Weinstein is not the first example of mass hypocrisy by the secular progressives. He is just so over the top that even now the movement cannot come to his defense, although, watch them try. The examples are numerous already, but how about this one for laughs and giggles.
The defenders are applauding all the brave women that are coming forward to pile on the heap of contempt for Weinstein’s behavior and character. Never mind that only one came forward in the last thirty years to expose what any of the victims or witnesses could have done at the time. All the shock and surprise that no one saw this coming as Jane Fonda so bravely shared on behalf of all the other shocked and uniformed observers. The grandstanding, fake outrage and denial is contemptible.
I do not expect to see any of the brave women that are coming forward now to be treated with similar conviction as was demonstrated toward Joe Paterno. It is alleged that Paterno knew about Jerry Sandusky’s behavior prior to the story coming to the surface. For that, Paterno was vilified and ostracized to the point where a statue commemorating all his years of service as a coach and teacher were eliminated from existence. His life and career left shrouded in shame because he failed to speak out. One cannot defend Paterno’s choice to remain quiet and the consequences of his silence were justified. That said, I fear in Weinstein’s case there will be nothing more than more hypocrisy. Will any of the men and women who have known about Weinstein’s behavior from the beginning be treated with the same contempt as was Paterno? It remains to be seen.
This is a case of a whole lot of people rebelling against the truth that there are consequences for unwise behaviors and choices. Weinstein for his choices of selfish, arrogant, and evil behaviors knowing full well the choices were wrong. The Brave victims who kept silent for fear that selfish motives of fame, and fortune would end. The hundreds of “uniformed” who allowed Weinstein’s behaviors to continue in order to maintain the facade. It just got so outrageous the only choice was to shine the light and take the hit.
Is there a desire to see this kind of behavior end? Will there be a concerted effort on the part of Hollywood to put in place safeguards and enforcement practices that will prevent this in the future? It will die down quickly and there will not be an attitude of surrender or repentance, but rather just disappointment that so many were exposed.
Weinstein is headed to Arizona where he will camp out at a $2000 a night rehab center. Harvey has a sexual addiction. A little therapy will help him change his future behavior. Never mind he has left a tsunami of brokenness in his wake that will most likely not be addressed. Never mind that in a few weeks it will all be forgotten, the brave whistle blowers will return to Hollywood, and hypocrisy will reign once more. As for Harvey, I imagine there is not a lot of remorse going on at the resort.
Progressivism and the consequences of moral relativism played themselves out in the public square last weekend. The incident in Charlottesville and the response by critics of all that happened is at a fever pitch.
The rhetoric and hatred did not begin last Friday. The country has been moving this direction for over a century. How does a society survive if it eliminates the idea of an absolute authority? History has proven the last one hundred and fifty years that outside of a common absolute authority some groups can only maintain power at the end of a gun. Communism is Marxism with a gun for the simple reason that Marxism/Socialism will never succeed in practice without forcefully suppressing any and all opposition.
In America the proponents of the failed ideas of socialism continue to indoctrinate the youth in schools and universities across the country. Nearly 80 years of such teaching has produced a substantial number of loyal comrades believing that man has the wisdom to establish a system in which all men and women will live together equally from top to bottom. Good will and the evolutionary goodness of man will rule the day. No higher power needed because man is ever moving toward true enlightenment.
The Progressives, allied with the Democratic party have secured significant sources of power and influence over the last thirty years. They are effective in managing public discourse and intimidating opposition rulers by shaming them into acquiescing to their positions. The educational institutions have indoctrinated the masses, and the media is the delivery system used to spread the gospel of the movement. What is now unraveling before our eyes in real time, are the consequences of this repeatedly failed system of thinking. It is progressing to one side working diligently to hold the moral high ground in the public discourse. In order to maintain and control that ground, any and all detractors must be silenced, as they have not progressed to the enlightened stage of those moving forward. Donald Trump is lifted as the leader of this movement and the move has been on since day one to discredit him and his followers as legitimate voices. There is no more time or need for debate. All detractors must be left behind while those who truly understand move forward.
This country will deteriorate to the place where violence will rule the day with civil unrest. Any opposition to all enlightened ideas will need to be silenced in order for the progressive agenda to succeed. Every time socialism has been tried, it has failed. Millions have died, been imprisoned, or been subject to abuse and control. The thread running through all these failures…mans desire to live without God.
America is headed directly into the abyss and insanity of moral relativism. It is no longer a notion of the dangers of what the future may hold, it is here now. The faithful may still be in the majority but given the intensity and hatred for them and what were once considered universal traditional values the erosion will escalate and the divide increase.
I believe that in the majority of communities and towns across this country there continues to be people who treasure their families, who cooperate with and tolerate their neighbors, who faithfully support the authorities that lead their communities; in short, love this country that provides freedom for all to live as they choose in accordance with the laws of a power higher than man. These beliefs provide stability, security, and freedom. These treasured values and traditions have demonstrated to the world that this country is the most compassionate and caring group of people ever assembled as a nation.
The true message of love, tolerance, and compassion still rests with those that recognize there is an absolute ruler. We are nearing the place where only a concerted effort to recognize that true authority and return to it will avert the loss of the freedom we cherish so dearly.
What is it about Donald Trump that elicits such vitriol by his detractors? Is it his moral failures in his treatment of women in his younger days? Is it his position on keeping people out of harm’s way? Is it jealously of his financial success or his fame and notoriety? Is it that he is not “one of the guys “of the political world? Is it his ideology? Is it his appearance and or demeanor? The list is lengthy, but does it rise to the level of hatred that is being directed toward him and his family?
I believe it is a little deeper that these surface issues but very simple to understand. “If you find the godless world is hating you remember it got its start hating me.” It is not Donald Trump. It is what Donald Trump represents. Donald Trump points to Jesus. Ben Carson points to Jesus. Mike Pence points to Jesus. Ted Cruz points to Jesus. Maybe not in the opinion or expectations of many Christ followers but in the eyes of their detractors this is about Jesus. The detractors may not even understand.
Jesus put it this way, “If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one if its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” I understand. Donald Trump may not be the best representative of a follower of Jesus. That doesn’t matter. He represents a connection to the truth that Jesus lived and there is a higher power. That there are absolute truths that restrict choice and behavior.
Jesus goes on, “Remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them. They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me.”
It isn’t Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter who is in the seat of power. Whoever believes, espouses, represents, or is perceived to be connected to Jesus will attract hatred with fervor and intensity. “If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language” Jesus explains,” it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is they have no excuse. Hate me; hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father.”
It is that simple. Hatred of Jesus and his followers has been around now for two thousand and seventeen years and it intensifies every day. Jesus is an alien in this world. By association all those that choose to follow Him are also aliens. By nature, aliens are disliked. They do not fit the mold. They speak another language. They don’t look the same. They must be silenced or removed. They pose a threat to freedom for those that disagree with their lifestyle.
“Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’”
The hatred of Donald Trump and anyone that follows or represents the truth of Jesus will continue and intensify. How does one live in a world of such dislike? By holding onto the hand of the one that is hated most. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
Follow the truth…Love in return to anger…Focus on the one who is hated more than anyone that has ever lived…Rest in the hope of His return.
Yesterday it came to my attention that a young man was released from prison early. What delightful news for a mother and family that after ten long years her son was coming home. With open arms and a loving heart you can picture the reunion with joy and tears. If only. If only it had happened that way.
That was not the picture. The young man was dropped off at an extended care residence demanding $260 per week for a place forty miles from his mother’s home. He had less than one hundred fifty dollars and was informed he has ten days to register as a sex offender. Failure to register is a Class Four Felony. Registration cost is $250. He has 72 hours to find a satisfactory place of residence or face violation. His only relative, his mother cannot house him because she resides in Section 8 housing. eHe was told he needed to begin immediately searching for employment. Then the adult authority in his life left him with the words, “good luck son.”
There he stood, a bracelet shackled to his ankle to track his every move. His enslavement continuing despite the system granting him “freedom” to move about in the “outside” world; his crime? At the age of thirteen he was indicted and sentenced to ten years for child molestation. Ten years. The first five spent in juvenile detention. At age 18 transferred to the state prison facility to spend five years with other individuals labeled the worst of the worst. Then unexpectedly without notice, he is released with expectations of adapting to the “real” world in ten days or face return to prison. What do you believe will be his chances of “success?”
This scenario plays itself out countless times across the country day after day. The people seen as the refuse of society are cast to the side or locked away to protect the rest of us from those deemed unclean. Regulations and expectations are placed on them that less than 2 in ten can ever keep. The “system” does nothing to provide a pathway to change or healing. The culture dictates where they can live, work, and travel and then offers nothing to assist. The clarion call goes out, “it’s about the protection of our children and society that sex offenders be kept isolated and identified to the world so all others can be safe.”
How will we account for our actions one day when the Savior of the world looks at us and asks, “What did you do for the least of these brothers of mine?” You don’t understand Bill; we could not dare allow one of these into our community. Our community is a place where there must be safety for all from these predators. How dare anyone suggest we lack compassion, or grace. There is a much greater concern for the whole. Even the authorities suggest that these individuals cannot be rehabilitated, how would anyone expect us to extend a helping hand for fear they offend again?
My wife and I have committed ourselves to caring for those broken by sexual abuse. Eight years ago I approached the Arizona Department of Corrections with an offer to begin a program of outreach and healing to the sex offender community either inside or outside of prison. I was told that rehabilitation for sex offenders is not a plausible goal and that incarceration is best practice in order to protect the society. Any desire for programs is not productive and the costs too prohibitive for desired outcomes. “You can try Mr. Harbeck, but don’t expect support or any financial resources from the state or for that matter any organization.”
I explored starting a program outside the walls and learned that regulations established by the purveyors of sound judgment make it extremely difficult to establish a class, let alone an entire program for recovery. I learned that without money, all the good intentions in the world will remain just that, good intentions. I felt the frustration that is only a fraction of what sex offenders experience every moment.
I returned to the teaching profession last fall. For nearly ten years we have attempted to spread the word that there is an epidemic of sexual abuse in this country. We have walked with dozens of survivors that need connection on a daily basis. We have opened our home, offered assistance to countless communities, given and attempted to raise funds to just put a dent in the enormous need. I returned to the classroom because I need to provide for the basic essentials of life for Jillian and I. It is still my desire to be available to walk daily with survivors of sexual abuse. I still hear the calling to find a way to save one or two offenders who are always survivors themselves.
I know there is a reason my Lord has not opened the door in a larger way. That assurance is difficult to walk through after all the years of struggle. We will continue to be a tiny sliver of light, and a small ray of hope for the one or two that our Lord brings our way. Pray with us won’t you? Sexual abuse survival and sex offender recovery are the darkest issues of any we face in battle with the enemy. We cannot surrender our fellow souls to evil’s grasp.
“As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, Unclean! Unclean! Leviticus 13:45
“And it came about while He was on the way to Jerusalem, that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a certain village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they were saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
And when He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:11-16
From the article: “Here’s What Life Is Like After You Get Out Of Prison For A Sex Offense” Business Insider October 13, 2013
Most U.S. states require released sex offenders to register in online databases and adhere to guidelines about where and how they can live their lives. Here are just s few things sex offenders have to do post-release:
- Abstain from drinking – In Wisconsin and other states, sex offenders on parole cannot have any alcohol. Thye may have to take urine or breathalyzer tests to show they haven’t been drinking.
- Give up their computer – Many sex offenders can’t have their own computers. A lack of computer access could make it tough for sex offenders to job hunt, secure housing, or keep up with the news of the world, but it will ensure they can’t prey on new victims online.
- Wear GPS monitors…for life – Some sex offenders are forced to wear GPS tracking devices for their entire lives. These devices can be faulty and land offenders back in jail when they haven’t done anything wrong. “There are times when I’m afraid to leave whatever room I’m in, even to go to the bathroom,” convicted sex offender James Morgan told the Center. “I’m afraid an alert will go off and the police will show up at my door.”
- Take lie detector tests – Parole officers often require sex offenders to undergo polygraph tests.
- 5. Get really creative about finding a place to live – Sex offenders have a notoriously difficult time finding housing that complies with states’ residency requirements. California sex offenders can’t live within 2000 feet of parks and schools. Georgia has even stricter limitations. Sex offenders can’t live within 1000 feet of “anywhere minors congregate.” A man in Georgia scoured reals estate ads for two years before he finally found a tiny house in rural Georgia that complied with the sex offender residency requirement. His crime was having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend when he was 17.
- Tell their sex partners about their history as a sex offender – in Washington state, sex offenders are legally required to reveal their criminal histories to their new boyfriends or girlfriends before they have sex for the first time. They also have to tell their parole offices about their new romantic relationships.
- Get chemically castrated – This is definitely a more radical requirement for sex offenders, but so-called chemical castration is not unheard of in America. At least nine states have laws that allow chemical castration.
I never imagined when this picture was taken, the journey we would take over the next 25 years. Little did we know at the time how this joyful little girl would impact our lives forever.
Joree joined us as a foster child in 1991 six months after her birth. The Department of Children and Family Services in Chicago needed a home and we volunteered for a weekend until a placement could be arranged. The temporary placement lasted five years until on April 22, 1996 when Joree became a permanent member of the Harbeck family.
Joree will turn 26 this January and on December 4th she will be transitioning into a medical group home. Jillian and I have been working on this for eighteen months. It has been a long and frustrating experience. Our age and Jillian’s health issues have necessitated that we make this move. It has not been without a lot of prayer and consideration of all the variables involved. We are content in the truth that this is the right time. Every Wednesday will be dinner with Joree night.
I would love to share the long list of experiences we have shared all these years with Joree. We did the best we could when we penned a book about her life with us. In her charming and joyful way she has taught us about dependence, about joy, and about brokenness. We all have a very personal and special bond that transcends language, which connects deep in our souls, and will forever have a deep deep place in our hearts.
Thank you for all your prayers for Joree over the years. If she comes to your mind one day, please offer a prayer for her continued health and care. I believe our Lord has a special place for her one day where we will run, and sing, and laugh together forever.
The election is a couple of weeks away. It has demonstrated to date the gulf between the two sides. It has highlighted the vast level of uniformed citizens. Unfortunately, the two candidates leave no choice for the electorate on the only issue that truly matters.
Yes, I am a one issue voter and have been since January 22, 1973. That day this country made the fatal decision to ignore, reject, and deny the sanctity of life. The National Right To life Foundation estimates that to date there have been 58,586, 256 of our fellow citizens lost to choice; almost sixty million. (1) There is no redemption for that. Not even sure there is grace. The only remedy at this point is falling on our knees and praying for forgiveness. Only the mercy of God may save the country from judgment.
Yes I am a follower of the God man Jesus. And I know that He and His father do not approve of the destruction of his sacred design. It follows then, that there are no exceptions, no excuses; no reasoning that will ever justify the killing of unborn children.
Hillary Clinton went on public record on October 19, 2016 in front of the entire nation and worldwide audience and affirmed that she is an ardent supporter of abortion on demand. Further she provided no defense for the immoral practice of partial birth abortion. Her staunch position allows for service providers to brutally end the life of a child up until the moment of birth. The practice is barbaric, and evil. There is none and can never be any justification for any abortions and this practice rises to a level of barbarism no civilized culture should ever accept. (2)
Donald Trump‘s position does not provide a legitimate alternative. He is against abortion with the exceptions of “rape, incest, or the life of the mother”; a popular Republican/Conservative stance designed to counter the Pro-Choice position.
There are no exceptions for destroying life conceived if one wishes to be a follower of Jesus; none. One can take a political position and say that one candidate is at least closer to my beliefs than the other and justify a vote, but that defies logic and defies the creator of all life.
This election is in the hands of God. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Donald Trump will ascend the throne without the approval of the creator. One can take sides; even vote believing a particular candidate will in some way move this country in a direction preferred. I don’t believe there is a choice for those that believe in the Word of God. The Pharisees approached the Master and asked to whom he and his followers should direct their allegiance. He responded, “Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and to God, that which belongs to God.” Government will not save us.
This nation has murdered nearly sixty million innocent, vulnerable, and precious lives without just cause. We should not be voting, we should be begging for forgiveness and pray God grants us mercy for just a little longer.
Like you I have been observing Barack Obama the last seven years attempting to grasp his agenda. It is clear from his childhood and educational experience that he is a devout socialist. He sings the praises of Saul Alinsky. Listen to rense.com’s take on Obama’s connection to Alinsky:
“Like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite. Trained by Allinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project. Later, he worked with ACORN and its offshoot Project Vote, both creations of the Alinsky network.
Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build a coalition of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer. That Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share an Alinskyite background tells us two things. First, they are leftists, dedicated to overthrowing our Constitutional system. Second, they will go to any length to conceal their radicalism from the public. That is the Alinsky method. And that is today’s Democratic Party.” Rense.com “Hillary, Obama, and the Cult of Alinsky.”
The lying going on now is beyond the pale. Nearly everything out of both Obama and Clinton’s mouths are lies intent on deceiving the public. To what end? What is the motive of these devout radicals? What is the end game they desire for themselves and this country?
Lying continually is the platform of the Alinsky model. Obama and Clinton don’t believe they are lying. They are intent on delivering their ideology to the masses using whatever means necessary. Alinsky is a god to them just below themselves. Both could articulate their true motives but they dare not knowing well they would never be elected. If you had the opportunity to question them and they were honest they would respond that their ultimate motive is to see America align with their worldview; their image. That true greatness has not yet been achieved and they have the formula to make America greater. That just won’t fly even in a country that has moved so far away from God.
May I suggest that both Obama and Clinton have been and are being influenced by a higher being to which they are unaware? Presently, there are many nations across the globe that have expressed the desire to destroy the Nation of Israel. There is one obstacle standing in the way; one obstacle big enough to keep the wolves at bay. It is too dangerous to make any move against Israel until the obstacle is removed; The United States of America.
Speculate with me. Let’s suppose that behind all of the animosity, all the hatred, all the strife for Israel is a higher being determined to take down Israel and its step-child the United States once and for all; to eliminate the existence of the Jewish and Christian faith. Let’s suppose that this higher being had the ability to manipulate leaders, nations, and people with lie after lie after lie over thousands of years. Let’s suppose that this higher being has advanced to using religion to direct and administer the ultimate goal of destroying every reference to the God of the Jews and Christians. It follows that the two remaining obstacles in the way must be either eliminated or deliberately weakened.
Barack Obama. In just seven short years has systematically worked to destroy the power structure of this country through internal strife and outlandish policies that eliminate and erode the very foundation. He hasn’t accomplished this alone. For millenniums the attack on Jews and Christians has been and is to obliterate them from the planet. Obama is just the one on the scene today to accelerate an already crumbling world order; lies, lies, and more lies.
Look at the prospects for the next three months. Hillary Clinton is even more radical than Obama. Her agenda may be the final piece in the collapse of this country as we know it. To what end? The elimination of the United States as a viable power capable of protecting Israel, opens the door to an attempt on the part of the enemy of God to carry out the final solution. Today, I sense that this is out of anyone’s control. Is the creator God determining who will or will not rule the countries of this world? Let’s suppose that He is allowing his enemy the freedom to influence and control the minds of fellow liars. Then this election takes on a deep spiritual component we may be overlooking.
I wrote earlier that I believe 1973 was the year the paradigm in this country shifted. Roe v Wade, homosexuality granted favored status, prayer eliminated from the public arena and on the list goes. I believe God removed his hand and slowly at first the trickle began and should Hillary be elected the flood gates will open. Obama has set the table, Hillary will cater the dinner. Israel will be at the mercy of all of its enemies.
I want to believe that there is no way a lying; deceitful, ego-maniacal woman could be elected to the highest office in this country. Then again, it appears that all sanity has left the arena and she is moving into the vacuum. It will not surprise me to see her elected in November.
Here’s some good news. Behind the curtains of this world is the one that is pulling all the strings. He died for this period in time. He will never allow Israel to be destroyed. If this election goes to the dark side it only means the King is not far away.
This is an example of why finding and knowing truth today is so difficult. This is a quote from President Obama this morning. “There has never been a man or a woman more qualified to be President of the United States than Hillary Clinton. That’s the truth.”
Does he truly believe that statement? If he does he is misguided, if he doesn’t he is lying. It is reckless and unprofitable to make a statement of such magnitude. But, in today’s world it is not the truth, it’s about what one chooses to believe is true and how one reacts to truth.
The confusion today begins with a given statement of truth, the reaction to the statement, and the subsequent response to the reaction. When people hold differing positions on the same issue, both cannot be right. Truth by definition is exclusive. The rift, the argument, the isolation all comes when one side or the other dogmatically clings to their idea of truth. In the present world of morality it is getting uglier every day.
Mo believes that the world would be a better place if he could eliminate his next door neighbor Pete. Mo’s belief system says that the truth he holds is superior to all or any other truth and in the system he follows it teaches that Mo for the sake of humanity has the right to eliminate (kill, destroy) Pete for the betterment of the human race. Disagreeing with Mo is not an option for Pete. It’s agree with Mo or death.
Donald believes that sleeping with his new girlfriend and her boyfriend is acceptable. He’s married and has lost count on the number of times he has hooked up with other women and men. Donald believes that it is his right to provide happiness for men and women he is acquainted with that are lonely and desire physical and emotional companionship. It makes him and everyone happier people. He has the right to experience happiness. Disagreeing with Donald’s truth is unacceptable; to do so in Donald’s view means that your truth is obviously out of touch with the “mainstream”.
Fred believes that the non-profit he established to address and impact human sex-trafficking does not need to report all of the contributions made to the charity because the work he is doing is so important and the benefits to the children so necessary that lying to the IRS is acceptable because of the greater cause.
Mo, Donald, or Fred would not understand how or why anyone would question their behavior. They may respond, “What gives you the right to challenge my beliefs?” “Where do you get off questioning my choices?” This is the truth I live by.
Here’s the rub. Each person has the right to choose what to believe. Every person has the right to hold to that belief with uncompromising passion. It is when someone, anyone disagrees with another person’s truth that things get messed up, and watch out when someone chooses to disagree and or criticize unprovoked. Civility, sanity, and common sense go out the window.
How do you respond to a person that is passionate about their beliefs with which you disagree? What is the proper approach and reaction that will allow for civility and calm at the end of the day, whether there is agreement or not?
One day a very rich young man encountered Jesus the Truth. He asked what he would need to do in order to be a follower. The response came in a polite, calm, matter of fact way. Jesus responded, “If you wish to be complete, you must go and sell all of your possessions and give them to the poor…then come and follow me.” The very rich young man was disappointed. This response did not line up with his understanding of the truth he desired for himself. He left that day unwilling to change his thinking.
It’s the response to his decision that intrigues me though. When the rich young man chose not to believe Truth, the man just turned and walked away. Jesus did not berate him, did not run after him to try and convince him of his ignorance. He didn’t gather allies around him to discredit the man. He didn’t try to isolate or ignore him. Jesus just watched him walk away. They parted without incident, quietly.
Another day Jesus was sitting by a well when a woman came by wishing to get some water. There was immediate tension in the meeting as they were from different ethnic groups. Jesus was well aware that the woman was living with a man that wasn’t her husband; in fact she had slept around quite a bit. He shared with her an opportunity to leave her situation and consider a new belief system. They had a pleasant conversation. Jesus did not condemn her behavior, he did not berate her for her choices he simply offered her an alternative to her present thinking and condition. She left pondering all she had heard. It was now her choice to decide what to believe. The truth didn’t change and the two left the conversation thoughtfully and kindly.
After all this time, there is still only one truth. We cannot stop believing because there is disagreement. We cannot stop believing because the word has gone out that the Truth/Jesus is outdated and disproven. We cannot stop confronting lies because it may hurt someone’s feelings. We cannot stop believing truth because our lives are threatened. We cannot stop believing because lies gain strength and numbers.
We can live truth and the power it possesses will strengthen our resolve. We can know truth and live in peace. We can hold onto truth and experience joy. We can embrace truth and it will show in kindness to others. We can listen quietly and attentively to another’s view of the world and if asked we can offer truth as we believe with gentleness and kindness. Truth will be known by how well it loves.
Earlier this week I wrote about truth. How truth is always truth. How it can never be changed and will exist forever. What I didn’t mention was the process opponents use in order to make it appear that there is an alternative reality. Opponents of truth must lie in order to establish and maintain a perception of an altered reality. There must be a narrative that deceives and conspires.
Lying is now standard operating procedure. It is done without any sense of guilt or remorse. It is accepted practice in the political world. It justifies plagiarism in schools as a necessary means to inflated assessment. Just this week the lies in the political arena are bolder than ever.
From the beginning of time lying is the only weapon available to confront truth. But its power is unquestioned. Lying offers the impression that darkness can change to light. Lying produces illusions that happiness is available at all times. Lying convinces there is gold to be had when none exists. Lying is evil’s attempt to control decisions and outcomes.
Once upon a time there was great disdain for liars. Telling the truth was the acceptable practice for people with honor and integrity. Losing was accepted, if in fact truth prevailed. Not so anymore. With truth relegated to each individual’s ideas, lying is now acceptable practice and the weapon of choice for all seeking control. In this technological age the liars are supported by all sorts of accomplices to form the chosen narrative. Since the majority of the culture does not spend time listening or studying truth and since indoctrination of the lies is the mainstay of the education system, only a few lies are necessary to create a seemingly acceptable paradigm.
Notice that those doing the lying must also have hearts of stone. To look straight into the eyes of the parents of American heroes that gave their lives for this country and tell them that their sons deaths were the result of a totally made up story requires a cold and deceitful heart. Not to mention the throng of accomplices that agrees to be complicit or choose not to question the lie.
For the moment, it appears that evil is winning the day. Frustration reigns when lie after lie goes unquestioned and unpunished. It is hard to understand when those who know and proclaim to follow truth stand back, remain silent or do nothing Truth is on the ground and evil has its foot on its neck.
One day long ago, a leader with power and influence stood facing a man who was bruised, bleeding, and facing death and the man in power asked this broken man a very telling question. “What is truth?” All that could be said had been said. I ponder that in that moment the words He had spoken to many were going through the beaten Man’s heart and mind; “If you abide in My word, then you will be followers of Mine and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”