Many conservatives have been unaware (deliberately kept in the dark) that they have been living in a state of apostasy (rebellion against God's way).
This may have come as a shock to those who have always imagined they were true believers. They may have listened to what their clergy told them. They may have listened to what their parents told them. They certainly were inundated by the barrage from the political and socialization processes of the government and commercial-marketing interests.
The drumbeat has always been from the top of worldly power down to each person and back up again as an echo. The spirits of darkness, which control the world's leaders in this age, have sent constant messages that confuse that dark world with the kingdom of God. If people can be tricked into imagining that they are working for God even though they are really working in perpetuation of the current system of greed, evil will thrive as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15).
For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
These verses (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) from Paul may shed some light upon Paul's better inclinations over and above his verses (Romans 13:1-5) that were quoted by US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia as justification for the death penalty.
Now, Satan is transformed on the outside but not inwardly. He is described by his followers as having great charisma. He is, however, beguiling to those who do not know how to discern evil results or have chosen not to care. His fruit is corrupt and gives him away to real Christians. The kingdom of God is not within him. God and Jesus do not dwell within him. He is not that spirit incarnate. He will not lead people in remembrance of the real Jesus. He will twist the message of Jesus into greed, violence, and depravity.
Even Paul, upon whom so many stake the doctrine of faith alone (without works), says, "according to their works." You see how people are tricked. You see how people twist faith into lessening the call to do the works called for by Jesus.
Satan is no angel of light on the inside, and one may always know him by his fruit and temptations to do evil that is to lust in selfishness.
Deny yourself said Jesus. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24). Satan will never do that. Satan's devils will never do that. They will not deny themselves, teach what Jesus taught, and strive to manifest the deeds Jesus called for from his followers.
Our hearts are reflected in our actions. It is time for self-examination: Soul searching, just as the Apostles did when Jesus said one of them was a devil.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (Matthew 26:22).
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. (Lamentations 3:40).
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. (Mark 10:19).
Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. (Proverbs 28:24).
But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. (Matthew 15:5-6).
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Mark 12:29-31).
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35).
Where is the love in not sharing and giving freely? God gives and shares freely—from each according to each one's abilities and to each according to each one's needs. Jesus had the ability through God, and the five thousand were completely satisfied without any toiling because they had no doubt. As mentioned earlier, this is New Testament teaching. (See: Bibliography: Acts 2:45). This means works also and not just possessions. It means the gift of special skills even for special needs.
Each person must search his soul examining his ways as to whether they are in keeping with the testimony of Jesus. Do you act in greedy, violent, or depraved ways? Are you an adulterer? Are you married and engage in sexual activities with other than your spouse, or if you are not married, do you engage in sex with anyone who is married? Are you a fornicator? Do you have sexual relations out of Holy wedlock? Are you a killer? Does your country kill? Are you a thief? Do you take things that do not belong to you? Does your country take things that do not belong to it? Do you or your country covet? Do you or your country desire what others have: Envy them? Do you or your country, or anyone acting in the name of your nation, do things that are appalling, savage, or cause harm or destruction or are immoral, perverse, brutal, or inhumane? Do you or your country practice deception? Do you or those who represent you mislead? Do you have an inordinate interest in sex? Are you sexually addicted or sexually confused? Do you or your country wish evil on others? Do you blaspheme God? Do you refer to God irreverently or disrespectfully? Are you or your country prideful? Do you or your country lack the sense, perception, understanding, and sound judgment to grasp the truth sent through the Holy Spirit? Do you dishonor your parents? Do you curse, judge, condemn, or defraud your parents? Do you expose their sins to the world or not forgive them? Do you hold a grudge against them? Are you a discredit to them? Do you sully their names? Do you fail to help your parents when they need help while claiming that everything you have is going to God or elsewhere? Do you call it a gift when you help your parents? Do you or your country accumulate wealth and possessions you or it consider precious or valuable in the face of starvation anywhere in the world? Do you or your country fail to love the one God with your all, your neighbors as yourself or selves, your enemies, and your spiritu
al kin as Jesus loved his neighbors, disciples, and friends? Do you do to others what you do not want done to you? Do you want evil done to you? Do you want not to be corrected? Do you do any of those, or other evils, in your heart, in your fantasies, in your imagination?
That is not an exhaustive inventory where the Christian is concerned, because Jesus taught more than what I've just mentioned. Nevertheless, it all boils down to being unselfish. That is what the first and great commandment and the second like it mean. If you have not been living that, you have been living in a state of apostasy. If you have been taught to be selfish, you have been led astray.
Concerning honoring parents, there are so many people who have had difficult or strained relations with parents. Some people have had terrors as flesh parents. Those parents were, or are, highly damaged.
The Christian way to approach flesh parents is in the knowledge that they too have been subjected to all sorts of temptations in life. They have caved in to some degree, just as you have and just as we all have. If you are trying to understand why things are wrong in this world and you approach your parents, or your memory of them if they are no longer living in the flesh, it is proper to approach your parents from the standpoint of wishing to learn with them the lessons of the past to use those lessons in correcting relationships now and in the future. If you are sincere and are, therefore, prepared to undergo mutual repentance and forgiveness through God, your parents are obligated to meet you in that spirit. If you explain yourself from the heart and not in a spirit of bitterness, vengeance, judgment, or condemnation but rather universal repentance and are met with hostility or bitterness or indifference, there is nothing that you can do other than to remain open and not hostile or bitter in response. Get into and stay in the spirit of truth for the sake of righteousness, enlightenment, and growth in the spirit and not to hold up to ridicule or shame. There is always shame though in the contrite heart. More to the point, stay in the spirit of correcting the root cause of all errors that is selfishness. Even still, you are to forgive your parents for not knowing what they did, or may still be doing, just as Jesus forgave those who crucified him and just as you want to be forgiven.
That is part of the lesson of the passion of Jesus, the demonstration of the kind and degree of love it takes to ransom sinners from evil. He paid a price we must all be willing to pay for the salvation of as many as possible. Magnify the light by bearing your cross.
You may have heard the saying that it is not suppose to be painful to be a child. It means that it is not suppose to be painful to be nurtured. Well, it is not suppose to be painful to be a parent either. It works two ways. If a parent is trying to nurture a child without inflicting pain on the child but the child is responding by giving pain to the parent, it is not the parent's fault. That's Biblical, and even though it is Old Testament, it applies in the New Testament very significantly.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. (Ezekiel 18:20).
This is why Jesus separates flesh-and-blood families. This is why the Son of man returns to separate the sheep from the goats even in the same immediate flesh-and-blood households.
As for staying in an abusive situation or leaving others in that situation, you are not under obligation to do that. It is situational. There is a time and place to stand and take it from the apostate. The softhearted will see and understand. That's what Jesus did. The Holy Spirit is one's guide in these matters.
It would be wrong to resort to violence, but it is right to get out and to get others out if the perpetrator will not turn. The perpetrator has an obligation to change or else. Getting out is not failing to resist evil. The perpetrator needs to stop. He or she needs to understand.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. (Matthew 5:25).
In the perpetrator's mind, even if only on the subconscious level, the perpetrator put the victim into the role of adversary in the sense of the verse above. It is not necessarily the victim's direct fault. That is not meant to say that that victim has never sinned. It just means that the victim may not have done anything directly to the perpetrator or done any sin necessarily of which the perpetrator is aware. Regardless, the perpetrator has no right to victimize anyone.
Understand that abuse is not the same thing as undergoing righteous rebuking. Where anyone is rebuked without violence and for cause, he or she has an obligation to straighten up rather than run away or claim abuse. If you are wrong and being told so and are not being subjected to physical or sexual abuse, it is not emotional abuse unless you have repented and are being severely browbeaten. There is a line you have to discern.
Whose failure precipitated the problem? Who was the instigator? Who goaded? Who antagonized? Who gloats concerning the abuse? In whose heart is the peace? Is the rebuke appropriate and proportionate to the offense, the frequency of the offense, and the offender? Would claiming abuse just be a means to escape righteous behavior?
Also, is it abusive to live with someone who is in constant need of rebuking or who is constantly claiming abuse when it is righteous rebuking? Yes.
What are a parent's obligations to a child who is abusive in this or other ways? It is situational. It depends. Where is the line between the child who will turn and the one who will not? The truth is that children, regardless of age, either respond to the truth of the real Gospel or they don't. The ones who do are the lambs whose deeds will measure up. The ones who don't are the goat kids whose deeds will not measure up.
If you have turned and stay that way and they don't ever, they won't be in heaven with you and there is nothing you can do about it. It won't be your fault provided you told them the real truth and showed them how to do deeds worthy of repentance.
Parents' emulation of Christ is not sufficient for turning some children. There were children who hated Jesus just as their parents did. There were children who hated Jesus even though their parents loved Jesus and did their best to be Christlike. It is still that way today.
If you as a child have been exceedingly willful concerning your otherwise patient and righteously motivated parent or parents that you know you have been responsible occasionally, or often, for pushing, or attempting to push, beyond limits of patience, you owe apologies and are obligated to change, atone (make amends), and not backslide. Turn to God.
If you have experienced malicious pleasure or feelings of self-satisfaction about pushing your parents to wrath, you will remain in danger of damnation if you do not get your conscience working fulltime. Such feelings are sadistic and sick. No one should want to lower his or her parent or parents. It is an evil motivation. You have been listening to the dark voice or voices within. Turn to God to have them removed never to return. See the light.
As for obtaining assistance in getting out of abusive situations, it is not retaliatory, per se, to seek help so that anyone being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused may be removed immediately and safely from real danger of continued harm and so that the perpetrator(s) may obtain the spiritual/mental help desperately needed.
If you have asked the perpetrator to stop in the name of God and Jesus, if you have taken witnesses with you when you have confronted the perpetrator in the name of God and Jesus, if you have taken your situation to the whole group of people who know the perpetrator and in the presents of the perpetrator again asked the perpetrator to stop in the name of God and Jesus and still the perpetrator will not heed, the perpetrator is as a heathen (an unbeliever) and a publican (a tax collector). You will have to resign yourself to that and leave things up to God. You will have done what you can that is proper for the proper separation of goats and sheep (selfish from unselfish). Let the Holy Spirit guide you. In any case, advocate nonviolence. Do not seek vengeance or punishment but only help for all, including the perpetrator whose soul is sick. Pray in secret for those who hate you.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12).
Criminals having free rein would be hell on earth just as there is hellishness on earth now on account of those who violate the divine law; however, we are challenged by Jesus not to be violently, coercively, or punitively reactive but to let the whole thing be sorted out after the span of our entire lifetimes on earth in the flesh before the second resurrection that of the damned. Again, if you have not been living that, you have been living in a state of apostasy. If you have been taught to be selfish, you have been led astray.
Jesus taught, and either a person grasped and adhered or did not. Jesus offered the peace. People either shared it or they doomed themselves. We are obligated to spread the word, but how long do we have to attempt to work on the unreceptive? When does it become an exercise in ego or a contest of wills or beating a dead horse to continue offering the peace or pearls to swine? The Holy Spirit must be one's guide in this. It certainly can be counterproductive not to move on from those who are forever backsliding or bound and determined to be stiff-necked.
We need law and order, but it must be divine law and divine order. We must teach our children the difference and live accordingly even while the situation becomes worse before it gets better and then perfect.
We must remove all violence from our children's nurturing environment. We must censor ourselves so that they may grow up without being inundated with the constant message of violence and other lusts that they receive from the general culture now.
Contrary to those who gasp at the notion of censorship, there is nothing sacred about something just because it has been written or produced. Of course, it would be a bad thing to have a bonfire to burn all The Bibles for instance. However, things that are the fruit of an iniquitous environment are the opposite of sacred. It is not a crime to get rid of them. This runs contrary to the opinion of those who say that getting rid of anything opens the door to getting rid of everything. They question whose judgment will make the decision as to where to draw the line. The answer is that the Holy Spirit gives that discernment constantly. One may get rid of what one owns. He or she may remove it as temptation. It is not violence to others to do this. It is not resisting evil. It is not failing to turn the other cheek. It is not fear of persecution. It means though that one may not destroy the property of others over which one does not have divinely legitimate control.
Children do not need violent games. They do not need hyper-competitive, violence-based so-called sports. Children do not need exposure to the depraved view of human sexuality. They do not need to be stimulated to want to become materialists. Children do not need all the fantasies of darkness. They don't need what they will repeat that will defile them. "That which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matthew 15:11) So when children repeat what they have heard in their apostate games and the mainstream media, they are defiled. They don't need what they will magnify and spread as a contagion to others. They need exactly the opposite. They need peaceful, cooperative examples. They need the message of peace, love, giving, and sharing.
All the people have needed exactly the opposite of the recent doubling of sex scenes on television. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, sex scenes on TV almost doubled from 1998 to 2005. We have gone from the 1950's when saying "sex," "damn," and "hell" were not heard on TV to the shows teenagers are watching depicting intercourse and oral sex. The impetus is to stimulate selfishness. It is an evil motive on the part of the purveyors. It is a message to decrease the viewers' ability to control appetites. In those who have not overcome, it stimulates exactly what has led to all the deprivation in the world. It is the devouring spirit that leads to nothing good.
This doesn't mean that everything was perfect in the 1950's, far from it. It is true though that within that portion of society that was attempting to keep depravity out of their houses, they are now confronted with the major shift in the message the general population is being fed. It is leading the people astray. Things that were inconceivable to the mainstream population in terms of what is considered mentally healthy have been slowly more tolerated (gone unchallenged; not spoken out against) and acquiesced to until US society has dramatically swung in the direction of utter decadence.
The way things were handled in the 1950's was by sweeping many things under the rug. There should have been a place where sex was discussed in terms of self-control and denying oneself. The words "damn," and "hell," of course, were frowned upon when used in a way to diminish their Biblical significance. Used as swearwords, the real meaning of warning was pejorated. Unfortunately, the message of unselfishness was drowned out by the message of capitalism.
It is no wonder that the US has swung to greater generalized decadence than at any time in its history. The lowest common denominator is ...continues... Click next page number below. [If you would like to see the full text on one page (helps with searching for text on the page), use the "No-Graphics Print Version".]
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)