You Maniacs! You blew it up!

By Scott Keith

Planet-of-the-Apes-statue-of-liberty

If you’ve ever raised children, you know that little ears hear only what they want to hear. I’ve come to believe this is true of big ears too. I am actually one of those people who think that things really are getting worse. I think that all of our ears, more and more itch for lies. I am a fan, in fact, of the jeremiad. A jeremiad is a piece of literary prose wherein the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals. A jeremiad almost always contains a prophetic message concerning the particular society’s imminent doom.

I’ll keep my prophecy short: I think we are in for some pretty big doom!

Some may ask, what is different? Or, are things really getting worse? Or, haven’t things always been this bad? To which I would answer: Yes! things are different, Yes! things are getting worse, and Yes! things have always been bad, but this current shit is crazy! Homosexual marriage, transgender people[?], never ending wars on drugs and terror, an almost completely––if not completely––defunct education system. An American infrastructure that is in utter decay. Corporations that feel like they need to besmirch good morals in favor of bad rather than just sell me a product at a fair price. Hell, I can’t even buy a car, computer, or cup of coffee without being told I need to support some lame ass CEO’s political cultural agenda.

starbucks1

Everyday I feel like exclaiming those jeremiad passages from Lamentations 1:1-4

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies. Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn, for none come to the festival; all her gates are desolate; her priests groan; her virgins have been afflicted, and she herself suffers bitterly.

It seems like all we hear is what our itching ears want to hear. Perhaps Paul had it right after all: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…” (1 Timothy 4:3) “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:24-25) We really have exchanged the truth of God for lies.

simul8 copy

In fact, my itching ears want to hear something too. They don’t want to hear redemption for these lost people, they want to hear vengeance and punishment! My ears don’t desire forgiveness, they desire retribution. When my ears are offended by the debauchery of this age, they itch for a cleansing not unlike the wrath God brought down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. My itching ears are sanctimonious ears… and so are yours!

Are things getting worse? Yes. But I am too. I am not the man, not the Christian, I ought to be. I am a poor miserable sinner who sins against God and neighbor in thought, word, and deed by all the wicked things I’ve done and by the things that, in my wickedness, I have left undone. I have never loved God with my whole heart. I have never loved my neighbor; neigh, I have never even loved my family as myself. I justly deserve God’s present and eternal punishment.

Yet rather than expecting God’s punishment, I am bold to demand His mercy on account of Christ, as He promised. I am a sinner and my ears are always itching. But I have confessed my sin. Yet, even though all of my confessions are half-assed, my ears itch now for His forgiveness. I know I will have His mercy, love, and forgiveness because God, on account of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has forgiven my sin and cleansed me of all unrighteousness. He has washed me clean in the shed blood of the Lamb and I will stand before His throne clothed in white and my itching ears will then only itch for the truth.

ears

I expect that the world is getting worse. I suspect that we really are Slouching Towards Gomorrah. The world around us has ears that itch to hear wicked lies. Our ears, more often than not, itch to hear the truth about God’s righteous judgment upon sinners. Yet God calls us, I think, to have ears that itch to hear the same mercy proclaimed to others that is proclaimed to us when He says, “On account of my Son, you are forgiven.” Christ says as much when He asks us to, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) Yes, we are to seek justice, but we are called to desire mercy, and even more, to walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

He claims us not because of our worth, but because of our unworthiness. He claims us not while we have ears that itch to hear His truth, but while we are yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) We lacked and lack all merit; He is our only merit. Things are getting worse, but our God works miracles in the worst of times when the hordes have ears that are turned away from Him. His Spirit descends and works through His Word and our words cast in His name to turn ears that itch for lies to ears that yearn for the Way, the Truth, and the Life. That is the truth that Jesus saves sinners and frees them from the lies. He frees them from sin, death, and the power of the devil. He makes sinners His own new creation. And once they are His own, no one can pluck them out of His hand. No one can pluck YOU out of His hand!

JaggedWordLogo2

7 thoughts on “You Maniacs! You blew it up!

  1. Remember what Jesus said repeatedly to His followers, and I mean repeatedly? ” He who has ears to hear, let him listen….” He was talking to them, and He also meant it for us as well.

    Like

    1. And of course….Jesus was talking about listening to the word of God…not false teachers or what simply appeals to our carnal desires.

      Like

  2. Scott,

    Much I like about what you say here.

    “Are things getting worse? Yes. But I am too. I am not the man, not the Christian, I ought to be. I am a poor miserable sinner who sins against God and neighbor in thought, word, and deed by all the wicked things I’ve done and by the things that, in my wickedness, I have left undone. I have never loved God with my whole heart. I have never loved my neighbor; neigh, I have never even loved my family as myself. I justly deserve God’s present and eternal punishment.”

    Surely, we will always fall short and deserve God’s wrath. That said, I do not see why this means you must necessarily get worse. Why, exactly?

    “He claims us not because of our worth, but because of our unworthiness. He claims us not while we have ears that itch to hear His truth, but while we are yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)”

    I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. He claims us because we are sinful? Does He not claim us in spite of our sin, for Christ’s sake? Because He is love, and loves His own creation, even when we are worthless and aren’t worth claiming?

    +Nathan

    Like

    1. Infanthheology: I think you must remember that most Christians struggle with feelings of guilt for sins past, present, and future, and a humbling awareness of our vulnerability. It is a sign of mature growth and wisdom. Those who do not feel the weight of sin may be more or less complacent, and this is not where we want to be, however, I think that Our Heavenly Father wants us to trust in His grace and the finished work of Christ, even in spite of our repeated sins. Trust in grace. God already knows our sins. Our works cannot save. Always remember 1John1:9, and trust God.

      Like

      1. 1:John 3:19-21 sums this all up nicely. “We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;”

        Like

  3. Nathan,

    You’ve brought up some good points. Keep in mind, I try to keep these to 1,000 words or under. Having said that, it is just not possible to tie up every loose end within the body of the actual blog.

    Nonetheless, I’ll try to address your concerns. You said: “Surely, we will always fall short and deserve God’s wrath. That said, I do not see why this means you must necessarily get worse. Why, exactly?” I guess I’d say because I live in this world too. I am a product of my time and as influenced by the debauchery as anyone else. I hate what technology has done to our relationships, yet I feel cannot live without it. My views on almost everything, though they are tempered by my faith, are certainly influenced by the media, the culture, and those whom I am surrounded by everyday. Maybe I’m not getting worse, but it sure feels like it at times.

    You also asked: “Does He not claim us in spite of our sin, for Christ’s sake? Because He is love, and loves His own creation, even when we are worthless and aren’t worth claiming?” In rereading, I might say that “because” is perhaps too strong a word to use without another 1,000 words to explain just that one single concept. But, I guess I am assuming that prior to the fall we were already his own, not separated by sin, death, and the devil. There would, I think, be no need to claim what was already claimed, unless that claim had been broken. I don’t claim my car, I already own it. Yet, if someone were to steal my car and it was recovered by the police, I would show up at the impound yard to claim it. This is perhaps and imperfect metaphor, but it seems at least a plausible way to think about it.

    Again, I am on the way here figuring things out as I go. I do not claim to have all the answers to every dogmatic question. Rather, I am proposing that you guys come along in conversation and think through it with me. You have helped me do that today.

    Thanks,

    Scott

    Like

  4. John,

    Amen to that.

    Scott,

    I see what you are saying there – I do track with you in your evaluation of our times and yes, we certainly are a part of those. Thanks for the kind words. I can certainly agree that prior to the fall there was no need to “claim us” in the sense you talk about. Looking back at what you wrote again, I was probably being a bit nit-picky there…. I see more clearly what you were saying now.

    Look forward to seeing more of your posts in the future.

    +Nathan

    Like

Comments are closed.