When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
There have been a few times when I have been so angry, that I felt like slugging someone...
Let me set this up for you. The church that I attended would put on a terrific Easter Musical every year. It was a great production and much of the community would go. It was quite popular. I enjoyed being part of it.
I was at a fast food establishment and I overheard a conversation that I wish I had never heard. Two young men were talking about the Easter Musical. Since I was in the production, I listened intentionally. Then they started talking to each other about how to pick up girls. I heard the usual stupid man advice about showing off, flexing your muscles, driving a fast car, flattering, flirting, etc.
However, what I heard next was REALLY DISGUSTING.
I wish I hadn't been eavesdropping.
One young man said, "I take girls to that Easter Musical that's going on right now. I cry when Jesus is on the cross and they get all emotional. Then, when I get them home, they are like putty in my hands. I can do anything I want and they never say no." He continued, "If I can't get a girl to go with me, I will hang out afterwards and talk to the girls that have been crying. It's pretty easy to pick one up when they're like that." It made my blood boil. I wanted to slug the guy or say something but I was so angry and in such shock, I just sat there in disbelief.
Did you catch what was DISGUSTING about that conversation? God talks about this. He says, "They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin..."
Why is this disgusting?
Did you catch what this young man said? He took the most wonderful and supreme act of love and perverted it for his own selfish, sinful advantage. And not only that, he took others with him.
Do you find that disgusting?
I have talked about several disgusting things on this blog. What makes this the most disgusting thing I have ever heard?
Do you understand the gravity of this young man's statements?
It is downright disgusting to use something that is holy for sin. To defile God's holiness with sin is a major affront to God. This conversation gave me a whole different perspective on God's Holiness and what it means to be a man.
A real man takes God's Holiness seriously. That doesn't mean that a real man can't have fun and can't make light of some things that happen, even in a church. But a real man knows better than to defile God with sin. God and sin can NEVER be connected, even the slightest connection is abhorrent to God.
Do you defile God's Holiness? Do you take Him seriously?
God says we are to be holy in all we do. Never connect God to sin.
BE A MAN.
He sat across the table from me, trying to convince me that his behavior wasn't hurting anybody. "I'm not having sex, I'm just having some fun!" He proceeded to tell me his story. It's one that I have heard many times. Unfortunately.
His behavior started fairly innocently. He was happily married but there were occasions that his wife would work late. During these times, on occasion, he would call a "chat line." The conversations started out innocent enough but he didn't realize that he was being fleeced. God speaks about this. He says,"with persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk."
The young lady on the other end of the phone started flirting with him and tapped into his ego. The next time he called her, she talked about how wonderful he was and how he helped her not to feel so lonely. A few calls later, the trap was sprung. He gave her his credit card number so that she would "tell him things that she knew he wanted to hear." His calls continued with greater frequency. He would get out of bed where his wife was sleeping to call this young lady. She was always available to him and would say things that his wife would never say.
He started to feel guilty and talked to the young lady about not calling her anymore. That is when she set the hook. She told him that she was a college student and that she needed the money to pay for school. She admitted that she did this with just a few men and that they "weren't doing anything wrong."
He looked at me and said, "but, I'm not cheating!!! I'm not having sex with her. We're just having a little fun . No one's getting hurt and I'm helping her pay for her education."
I cautioned him about his behavior. I explained to him what such behavior leads to. That's when he said, "funny you should say that...." He then proceeded with this all too familiar story:
This young lady suggested that they meet. It was a town that he visited on business often. She explained that she offered private services to help men feel more masculine and perform better in bed. She explained that he would enjoy it as "most men do."
He went to the house that she and several other young women (who were working their way thru college too) used to "help men." There was never any intercourse. He was "learning how to let a woman be in charge." He found these lessons exhilarating. He paused in his story, "but, I'm not cheating!!! We aren't having sex and I really like how she makes me feel." It's as if he was trying to convince himself more than he was trying to convince me.
I would love to be able to tell you that this man conquered this illicit behavior but I cannot. His life became a disaster.
One night when he was talking to this young woman on the phone, his wife happened to be listening on the extension. The next day, when he got home from work, he found his belongings on the yard, the locks changed and a court injunction prohibiting him from ever seeing his wife again. The divorce proceedings were quick and he soon found himself on the street with no home.
I haven't had any contact with him since. I don't know where he is and I don't know if he got help. I do pray for him, hoping that he has turned to God and is living a life that represents Christ well.
Why do I tell you this story? I guess you need to know that it is easy for men to rationalize their sinful behavior. Men have a tendency to compartmentalize their behavior and think that their lives cannot be affected.
God has something to say about this. "The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be."
So, what is in your heart?
Are you pretending?
Ask God to give you a new heart.BE HOLY.
BE A MAN.
"Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst."
This quote from C.S. Lewis in his book, Reflections on the Psalms
, addresses an issue in the church that is frequently overlooked by Christians. People who are not Christians have no trouble with this quote and believe it wholeheartedly. However, in the church we tend to overlook bad behavior from our brothers. Are our churches just some sort of fraternity where we overlook these "imperfections"? God's Word states that individuals that wink, to signal that one is in the club
, to get away with something are dirty, rotten scoundrels
. Unfortunately, these men have crept into the church. God's Word describes them as waterless springs
and twice dead.
This week and next we will be discussing different personalities that are in positions of authority in the church. Remember that the individuals in these posts are fictitious.
However, as we go thru some of the behaviors, you will recognize them as actual people that you have encountered in the church. I know. I have met each of these men. You may even recognize yourself in some of these men.
I know that I recognize elements of these men in my own personality and it concerns me. If they are you, ask God to change you. Only HE can give true, lasting change.
Here are some of the men we will be discussing: The Histrionic Religious Bad Boy, The Narcissistic Religious Bad Boy, The Anti-Social Religious Bad Boy, The Passive-Aggressive Religious Bad Boy, The Avoidant Religious Bad Boy, The Overscrupulous Religious Bad Boy
and The Chaotic Religious Bad Boy.
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Having accepted a counseling assignment for a year in a South American country, I met an interesting man. In his broken English, he confessed, "I like dirty women."
This man was a gynecologist, very educated and finally coming to the realization that he had a terrible problem. In English, dirty can mean several things. However, in Spanish, he was very clear. He used the word, "sucia." "Sucia" means physically dirty, unwashed. He continued with other clear words, "Indigenas, indias, mujeres sucias..." Translated, those words mean, "indigenous, indians, dirty women..." He was talking about a people group that were indigenous in that area: women from the Quechua people. These people are typically considered lower class by those who don't have indian blood.
Being educated and of Spanish descent, he considered himself to be superior to these people. That was his quandary. "Why do I like dirty women? I'm not attracted to pure blood women." He went on to explain that he would sexually use some of his patients, but only the Quechua women. He felt an attraction to women that he was not supposed to be attracted to, kinda like forbidden fruit. He soothed his conscience by believing that he was only having sex with women who were beneath his station in life. These people were essentially worthless in his mind.
He would trade his gynecological services for sexual favors with his patients. He found that many times, he would not be refused because these women were poor and did not feel good about themselves. "They couldn't say no because no one thinks they are attractive. I flatter them..."
So, you can see this man has a terrible sin problem. Actually, more than one. Just to name a few: 1) prejudice, 2) sexism, 3) racism, 4) elitism, 5) compulsions, 6) fornication, etc... Just plain sinfulness.
As his story unfolded, he also revealed that he was addicted to marijuana, alcohol and painkillers. Being a physician, he had no difficulty affording and obtaining these substances, especially when he would trade his gynecological services for these substances.
He was raised in an environment with a very strong mother and a father who had abandoned him. As we delved further into his upbringing, he noted that he was brought into sex early when his mother paid for a prostitute "to teach him how to be a man" as his father wasn't doing a good job at raising him. He recalled his first sexual encounter at age eight with repeated exposure, at his mother's insistence, until he left for college at age sixteen.
In spite of his medical and financial success, this man knew that he was doomed. "My soul is on the way to hell..." Fortunately, this gentleman was receptive to God's working in his life. He came for help because he had heard that hell was a place that he did not want to go. As I was unable to follow this man due to not being around long enough to help him, I was able to hand him off to a pastor. This pastor told him about God's redemptive power and discipled him. He became very much like Zaccheus. He repented of his sinful behavior and attempted to make restitution as best he could.
This man's story teaches us that we are not doomed by the sins of our parents, doomed because we had a bad upbringing or doomed because we have abused people. There is always room for God's offer of salvation. It is never too late to do the right thing.
Is your life like this man's? Or do you think that he is beneath you?
In what kind of sin do you find yourself involved?
It is never too late to do the right thing. If God can change this man, he can change you.How bout it?BE HOLY.BE A MAN.