Our country is a mess because we no longer acknowledge that there is a set moral compass; a true North.
What is missing in much of our culture today? There is no longer a shared and agreed upon moral standard because our culture is rejecting God. Rejecting the black and white—‘look it’s written right here!— word of God. And even worse, people are rejecting the whispers in their hearts and minds that originate with God. Whether you call it a conscience or a divine spark guiding us and tweaking our sensibilities whether we know the Lord or not. Simply by virtue of having been created in his image and having a just God who would that all know the truth and can chose before they are judged on the fateful day to come.
There will be no excuse of ignorance.
“I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. Hebrews 8:10—11
Remember what the original sin was? —Eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. People know. They know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, they just refuse to act on the good and instead follow the lead of the corrupt and dying flesh deeper and deeper into the darkness. All the while proclaiming that what they are doing is ‘just fine’ and you had better not look down on them for it—in fact we are going to flaunt it, rub it in your face and demand that you condone it and celebrate it—and if you don’t you are a hater and a (fill in the blank) phobic or ism.
You think I’m getting out there on a limb and missing the point of Hebrews eight? Maybe a little but I don’t think so. Us Pentecostals want to make this scripture all about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and dispensationalists want it make it all about the millennial reign, but it goes much deeper. Romans bears this out also.
Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, that’s why they get so defensive when they are challenged on their perversion of truth. People (with a little help from the enemy no doubt) are experts at turning truth upside down and making right seem wrong and wrong seem right.
Enter the trolls.
We live in this strange new world where you can demean and belittle people you have never met before and probably never will from anywhere in the country or the world for that matter. Don’t you love trolls?
I don’t mean the little elusive people of Scandinavian folk lore that live in the forest and wear pointy hats. Or the cute little cartoon creatures with the long fluorescent colored hair that stands straight up like Don King on steroids.
I mean the tiny minded people that stalk the social media sites looking for people to belittle.
I hate trolls, I know you’re not supposed to hate anyone—so okay, I don’t hate them, I just hate what they do and wish they would crawl back into their little troll holes and just play video games and leave decent people alone.
Yeah sometimes people invite trolls it seems by posting a lot of mean spirited and provocative propaganda, over and over and over again, or they just repost every cheesy thing they come across, like “write a word that starts with T and ends with T, most people can’t.”
Really? Anyone who graduated 1st grade can probably come up with quite a list. Why does all this stuff get reposted?—it drives me crazy. But you know, some people just don’t have a life or any real friends so just reposting everything they come across gives them a way to feel like they are doing something or interacting I suppose, so you have to give them some grace.
Then again, perhaps the same is true of trolls, they just don’t have a life or any friends so they just sit in the mouth of their troll dens and poke people as they pass by. They know their doing wrong but they delight in evil; they no longer listen to their conscience.
But then, you may be thinking, how much time do you waste on Facebook that all this stuff bothers you? Well, probably more than I should but then I have three Facebook pages, two of which are ministry related. One that I started as a way to promote our annual worship festival; Beartooth Hope Fest that has attracted over 500, followers as I use it to promote local events that honor Jesus, and as a place to post little snippets of my sermons and memes that I make to go with them. (Many of which end up here)
I also have one that I originally started to promote my books called Dan Swaningson’s Words and Wit that I use to lead people to my weekly blog. Both of which occasionally attract trolls.
I decided that when you start getting trolled that means you’ve arrived. Arrived where I don’t know, but it sounds good.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I posted a little thing on the Beartooth Hope Fest page about the mess this country is getting into with the celebration of infanticide, in your face homosexuality, and the attacks on people who dare to stand up for traditional values—daring to point out right versus wrong, and someone posted a comment;
“Maybe you should prove that your God is real before you make your whack job claims.”
I hate those comments because first of all, really, who wants to be called a whack job—although I’ve been called much worse on Facebook. People really freak out over some of my Barbarians in the Kingdom stuff—and secondly, I really want to rip into them in response.
I know I could, and I could use my gift of prophecy to rip right into the heart of these people. But that is not why God gives us those gifts. If he allows you to see into the heart of another it is so you can encourage and understand, not so you know how to really hurt them, but that’s a topic for another day.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Cor 13:2
So, I thought about that comment a lot. At first it didn’t really seem to fit with anything I had even said, like, ‘what does that even mean? Have you just been waiting for a chance to use this canned one liner you keep up your sleeve?’ But then it dawned on me as I reread my post again, trying to put myself in the mindset of those who have a seared conscience and I realized that they were offended not by what I said so much as they were the assertion that there is a right and wrong because my basis for what is right and wrong is based on God’s laws.
So, if there is no God, then there is no moral compass by which to judge what is right and what is wrong, thus it can change with the seasons or even from person to person—each person just does what was right in their own eyes.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts. Psalm 21:2
“We shall no longer have to teach our neighbor saying ‘know the Lord.’” God’s laws are written on the heart and the Lord will look at the hearts of men and see whether what they did was willingly done despite having that inkling that it is wrong, and whether they repented of it and turned to our New High Priest and received the forgiveness offered there.
I think this Facebook troll knew that something he was doing was wrong but he had decided in his own heart that there is no God therefore there is no absolute, there is no one outside of oneself to say what is right and wrong— ‘No one can tell me what to do!” So he lashed out at me for reminding him that there is a God and that if that is the case then we don’t get to choose our own morality—well, we can, we will just have to answer for it one day-; and that’s a frightening thought to many people.
But, if there’s no God we can pretend that we are not skeered of that either. ‘So leave me alone you whack job.’
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb 8
We have a new Covenant but people are still living as though they are bound by the old and they don’t want to have to earn their way into heaven. They know what’s right and wrong but they know they cannot live up to it so why even bother to try, why even acknowledge it in the first place. That’s because they haven’t heard the good news of the new covenant that God will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds He will remember no more.”
If we are acknowledging God, accepting his offer and joining into the new covenant He offers we receive his forgiveness, we receive his Spirit to guide and lead us, to give us strength to do the right we now see more clearly. And each and every time we choose the right over the wrong, each and every time we repent of the wrong, seek forgiveness and acknowledge that it’s wrong, we draw that much closer to God and experience his blessings of peace love and joy more and more, and no one will be able to convince you at that point that God is not real.
I thought about the audacity and the ludicrousness of that troll’s comment a lot, “Maybe you should prove that there is a God first…” I cannot prove that there is a God, only God can prove that he is there. And he has proven it to me over and over and over again. My life is an ongoing proof that there is a God, proof to me and hopefully a witness, evidence of the existence of God, to others.
I feel his presence, I experience his grace and live in the freedom of his covenant with me, the covenant he has written on my heart and in my mind that says I am free, I am loved, I am forgiven and I am His. You can do anything you want to me, say anything you want to me, take away everything I have and all that I love—you can take my very life—and I will still know that there is a God.
I never responded to that troll—God can defend himself, and me. I am just called to love people.