After finishing this article I wanted to add a little word of caution (not so little now that I’m done writing it). This article is going to come out heavily against theistic determinism, although for readability I’ll sometimes write Calvinism/Calvinists. By the end a hammer’s gonna come down on their views (even on them as a group) pretty hard. Still, I’d like people to keep the following in mind. I don’t tell folk on the streets that I’m preaching to them because “I love you”, that’s not true, I don’t know them, so I can’t really tell them that. But I do say I love people, which I do. And while it’s true I may not know them, I certainly wouldn’t mind knowing them, I’m sure we’d be fast friends. So, I prefer to say I’m out sharing Christ because of a love for people, Christ died for them, but they can’t know that unless someone preaches His love to them (Romans 10:14-15). In the same way, Jesus died for Calvinists, they’re loved, and on a personal level, face to face and time on the clock, they’re often not as obnoxious and strange as they’re cast as being.*
So let’s be Christ to them, believing as best we can when they say they’ve had that transformative encounter with the Lord, and we go from there.
“You have been blocked from following this user at their request.”
What kind of community blocks you most? A month or so ago I would’ve written atheists, no question. Tantrum throwing, flaming atheists. Still, recently I’ve found waves of people who’ve blocked me, people I’ve yet to even contact. At least the atheists have a bitter exchange or two before cutting people off. Have these people viewed my material and immediately blocked me? It’s a curious thing. So, last night, when I had a moment free (and found myself blocked once again), I decided to check out one of these mystery blockers. Oh, he’s a big John Piper fan. So a big devotee of determinism. Let’s try another, mmhmm, that’s another Calvinist (excuse my loose use of categories here). It’s as if writing “Hey, I don’t feel God hates people and damns them unconditionally before birth” is cause for concern amidst these people. As if, if you’re not painting God’s gospel of salvation as roadkill, you’re caught in the seductive tractor beam of humanism. But isn’t humanism, science and the like the product of Christianity? It’s been produced by our faith, not in spite of it. It’s not that love of people is humanistic, and people who dismiss divine determinism are embracing it, rather, it’s that these believers are laying claim to something which the atheistic humanists never had a right to in the first place. Whereas my friends mixed up in determinism who reject these things are. . . .being super counter cultural? I’m sorry, those two words stopped being “cool” long before getting out of my teens. If you believe saying something shocking or disgusting about God is Christian, then Westboro baptist church is always open (they’re believers in a sort of Calvinism too!)
It’s a particular thing when these cultures, cultures created and shaped by the Christians, are given up as if they’re whole new things, rather than obvious deformations of an existing thing. Nonetheless, returning to my lesser point, would you block someone who’s never been in contact with you before? I personally wouldn’t. Now, although I’ve never blocked anyone, could I? Sure, it’s conceivable, like if someone were a bit manic and posted on every post. That’s not just a nuisance for me but also takes focus off of the content of the material, we’d often be having to read something strange, abusive or irrelevant. So I can imagine blocking someone (though I’ve yet to do that). What kind of reason could a believer in theistic determinism have for attempting to ostracise you or I however? Would they have blocked the church fathers (@400YearsOfHeresyBeforeAugustine)? They’ve gotta block 99% of the church past, present and I’d imagine future if you’re gotta trash people who believe “choose this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:14).
Ah, just how I remember it ^^^. And this kind of zeal for shutting people down comes about due to our refusing to believe that God causes some of the most morally disgusting acts formed in the human heart. It’s peculiar, to write mildly. Is not believing in divine determinism really everything the critic of the non-Calvinist insists it is (AKA the argument “who are you O man to talk back to God”)? After reading the above, is anyone really convinced that challenging the views of a Calvinist is questioning God? (this is something I’ve literally been confronted with by cults on the street). Question the cult/group/teaching = questioning God (madness).
Readers who’ve been around for awhile know how I can critique theistic determinism, furthermore, I critique it from the Bible and simple logic, that’s because logic isn’t just a word we use to make ourselves look better than we are (it’s actually mapped out and explained on paper). Things can be incoherent/just plain wrong, and one of those things is determinism, especially in the face of the Bible’s clear teaching (Matthew 23:37, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Luke 13:34, Genesis 4:7). Allow me to give a few real world examples of that. Recently I’d been having a discussion with a friend of mine, a friend who just so happens to believe in determinism. They arrived at church maybe three months ago, and what’s the first thing they set about doing? Dress the naked? Feed the hungry? Preach to the captives? No, they’ve tried to convert members of the church to Calvinism (I kid you not). Now, in person with me, because I’m a very personable guy who spends time with fellow believers outside of Sundays, this guy’s done what every Calvinist does in face to face conversation, they’ve said ridiculous & shocking things. Online Calvinists are totally different, they’re proof texters. Still, ridiculous things real world Calvinists say:
God doesn’t want people to be saved, look it up when Jesus says He speaks in parables so the listeners won’t believe.
God created some people for destruction, check out Proverbs.
God kills babies, look at it in Exodus.
God puts poor people in the gutter (this was the reply after being told that God doesn’t ultimately want miserable people).
Three of these were part of our actual conversation ^^^. Okay, let’s start from the bottom and continue up (as I did in person).
“God puts men in the gutter.” God certainly does put him in the gutter, but not for the sake of making him dirty. God “From one man made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” That’s the book of Acts (17). You, the Calvinist, believes God made deformities in people in distant parts of the world and causes them to live ignorant of the gospel in the gutter because he hated them in eternity past. That’s not true. If you think the claim is more true because atheists find it disgusting, that’s silly. It’s just disgusting, the church knew that long before atheists were so bold as to call themselves atheists.
“God kills babies.” God called babies who’ve been sacrificed “innocent.” So the Lord taking those children to be with Him is no shock or horror, and it’s certainly not so matter of fact cruel as you’ve replied. Stop reading GotQuestions (it’s ran by four-point Calvinists). Do you believe babies go to hell when they die? (it’s been about three weeks and I’ve given up on a reply to this one).
“God created some people for destruction” I’ve actually tweeted on Proverbs 16:4, read it in light of Jeremiah 17. “the day of destruction” isn’t what you believe it is.
“God doesn’t want people to be saved, look it up when Jesus says He speaks in parables so the listeners won’t believe” Rather than explain this chapter, which can be done by reading Romans chapter one until eleven, I’ll just ask one question. Why would people who are spiritually blind, dead in sin and incapable of choosing God, why would they need to be spoken to in parables? Jesus says “lest they turn and are healed.” So, Jesus put a blindfold on a dead man? He spoke in riddles or obscure ways when, according to your view, no man can choose God and turn from their sins to begin with. That sounds absurd.
Now, am I a sneaky humanist for debunking this junk? ^^^ Am I a happy heretic for not embracing this deformed view of the Bible? Also in our conversation, I remember clearly asking the question “What is sin?” They fired back “Rebellion against God.” Instant reply, fantastic. I answered off the top of my head “How can anybody rebel against a God who’s in control of their every desire and choice? You’re either in line with his revealed will, or you’re in line with his secret council. There’s no rebellion. This view blows up the idea of sin.” The reply? Silence, total silence. Is the guy still a Calvinist? You better believe he’s still a Calvinist, does he have an answer to my question about the definition of sin? Not even half an answer. Does he still talk with me about his determinism? No, it’s too “divisive”, too much like “debate.” I play the same game I’ve played with DWR with him, the I ask you answer game, no rebuttals, no cheap shots from me (God forgive me He knows I’m capable of that), and even that’s still too much for my friend. He comes to convert the church, but people who debunk him are divisive (come on).
Now, if a supposed Christian can’t talk to another supposed Christian about their views on God, I’m not sure anybody can talk about anything. Is this kind of hard-heartedness from a person who goes to church any better than Muslims, witnesses or Mormons who utterly refuse to speak with Christians about their viewpoints? It’s no different. If you refuse to speak with people outside of God about God, you’re failing to love ’em. While if you refuse to speak with people in Christ about God, yet you claim to be in Him, that’s just twisted and bizarre.
I have no desire to misrepresent why believers in determinism hold to those things, so why not face up to the reasons for which opponents of divine determinism have gone in the way they’ve gone? Why presuppose some kind of sinister rebellion when these men and women are so often God-fearing, Bible believing people? I don’t attribute false motives. Many Calvinists believe in the things they do because they see it as making God maximally glorious, showing the Lord for how they truly are, that’s true at least insofar as they’re concerned. They want to show God’s power and sovereignty (although they’re totally misusing that word). Is there also a sinister side which many who adopt this view are indulging in, you better believe there’s one.
Fair is fair, I don’t reply they’re all secret fatalists who don’t want to own up to their sin, nor do I insist how they’re one step away from becoming Muslims. And yet, both online and in public conversation with Calvinists, I’ve been accused of rebellion, not trusting God and being a secret Catholic! In the UK that’s called “playing the man and not the ball.” If God’s provided a person with more illumination so that they get Calvinism, a belief I consider incoherent, where’s the problem in some simpleton believing “all means all, and that’s all that all means.” 😛
Think of it like a kind of twisted Pascal’s wager. If I’m wrong, I’m guilty of a lack of knowledge, guilty of loving God, and by that love, considering His mercy over us in an unscriptural way. I said God is merciful, God says He’s merciful, and yet, if I’m mistaken, God’s going to correct me in how I’ve come to see His great mercy. Happy days. I can hardly wait. Now, if you’re wrong, my Calvinist friends, you’ve attributed demonic things to God. You’ve read how there are things which are “of the world”, right? “lust of the eyes, pride of life” (1 John 2:16) there’s a distinction between of God and of the world in scripture, and you’ve said about those things, those terrible evil things “those things are of the world, in one way, they’re also of God in another way. God caused 9/11!” (John Piper actually affirmed a similar teaching to this in the title to one of his articles). See, if I’m wrong, hey ho, man’s incredibly ignorant of God, but if you’re wrong, you’ve thrown in God’s face every single filthy act dreamt up in the depraved heart of man (and woMAN, let’s be fair!) You tie God into acts He expressly distances Himself from.
Idolatry, apostasy, war, rape, abuse of children, slavery, murder, adultery, the fall into sin, Satan’s rebellion, homosexuality, abortion, the slaughter of the saints, you’ve attributed God with having meticulously causally determined them all. When people said about Christ “He cast out demons by demons” (Matthew 9:34), that’s one charge, how much worse is it to look at a man possessed by the devil and say “God’s in him working!”? Think about the consequences of these two views being wrong in turn. In your view, totally against the scriptures, God is tempted to sin so that good may abound, he’s the minister of sin in your view. But God’s word says He cannot be tempted:
James 1:3 teaches: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”
Calvinists reply: “God making us sin isn’t sin. God leads whomever he wishes astray. He’s in heaven and does all he pleases!”
Romans 6:1-2 teaches: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
Calvinists reply: “He caused 9/11 for his glory! For the praise of his glorious grace!”
Galatians 2:17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!”
And the Calvinist replies? I dunno, it’s such sanctimonious blasphemy I’m pitying how conscious they are of themselves at this point in the conversation. “god hates fags”, “god damn America”, you know the drill. “Well, God does hate sinners, he does punish people in his presence in hell.” (Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5 & Revelation 14:12) The Westboro church types complain, ordinarily with less reasonableness as I’ve composed in my mock reply. With which I can only write:
A) Learn the idiomatic use of the word “hate” as outlined in the Bible. You make the God of love into a god of hate based upon your misunderstanding of about four verses, while ignoring the waves of text which teach to the contrary of your preferred view.
B) From the blog of Dr. Jerry Walls “Fire in the Bible is a common image for the presence of God, not his absence (Deut. 4:24; 5:24-5; Psalm 50:3; Hebrews 12:29). But his presence is experienced very differently by those who are rightly related to him, as opposed to those who are not.
Theologian David Hart has noted that there is a long theological tradition, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy, that “makes no distinction, essentially, between the fire of hell and the light of God’s glory, and that interprets damnation as the soul’s resistance to the beauty of God’s glory, its refusal to open itself before the divine love, which causes divine love to seem an exterior chastisement.” Our freedom to reject the love of God makes possible this perverse refusal to open ourselves to the happiness He wants to give us.”
Isn’t the Calvinist’s real problem with God, specifically God’s will to not illuminate someone? If people like myself are mistaken I mean. The determinist could pray to God to change the minds of people like me, but then again, he won’t help change it or influence me based upon you, puny man, who are you O man to question God? So prayer is meaninglesss outside of Calvinists being changed by it, it changes nothing outside of themselves and their feelings. Yet those same people, people who lack the supposed “deeper view” are the ones out pounding the streets, not the determinists (the gifted aren’t producing fruits and the giftless are?) The ungifted who don’t get these supposed deeper things, these “doctrines of grace”, they’re out reaching the lost in greater numbers and more frequently than believers in determinism, and why? Why has God “gifted” these preferred people with total inability. Calvinists insist they were regenerated, after which they believed. Do you feel as if that’s the case? Because even in spite of the debate, all I’ve seen from Calvinists in my immediate company is emotionalism. They’re emotional, I’m not, they’re clean shaven, I’m bearded (oh how the tides have turned). About such a boldfaced untruth (AKA regeneration precedes faith), scripture comes out in force against it (Jn 1:12, Jn 3:15-16, Jn 5:24, Jn 6:45, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19-21, Acts 10, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:38-39, Acts 16:31, Rom 4:5, Rom 5:1, Rom 6:17, 18, Rom 10:9-10, 1 Cor 1:21, Gal 3:2, Gal 3:22, Gal 3:6, James 1:21).
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him.
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts 10 (entire chapter):
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
1 Cor 1:21
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?
So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
You deny men can sincerely ask for God’s help before being regenerated. You justify this by the philosophical idea of being “dead” in trespasses and sin, and overlay these complex extra-biblical concepts over the scripture’s use of the terms. Bogus use of “sovereignty”, backwards understanding of the order of salvation and an utterly bankrupt condemnatory view of mankind (man made in the image of God). Calvinists may want to shut the gates of heaven, saying men cannot humble themselves without first being involuntarily made to believe, forced to believe, well, you may have that view, but don’t drag scripture along for the ride.
1 Kings 21:27-2
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”
2 Chronicles 33:9-13
But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals? (yet they repented).
Acts 10 (can’t do that to you again 🙂 )
Do we need God to believe? Yes, still if God’s grace has gone before our choice, wooing and enabling grace, who is the Calvinist to turn that gentle grace into savage rape? Why be so myopic? Why jam scripture like a tuna into the can of your systematic? Because it helps you in debate, or makes the Bible more narrow in scope? I could speculate more, but won’t. Instead, rather then leave the believer in divine determinism to speculate about my speculations, I’ll share this video to help explain what I consider the primary reason people don’t follow determinism (spoiler: it’s not because they so love freewill!)
Not only are Jesse’s logical syllogisms excellent, he’s also been a great friend to believers in camps outside of his own. It’s inspired me to share a few of my old conversations with other believers in Christ, and unlike the conversation with my Calvinist buddy above, these chats were good-natured, informative and filled with the kind of gentleness and respect you’d expect from followers of Christ (whereas my friend in Calvinism has hence quit our church and launched a load of f bombs at me in print, I kid you not!)
Calvinists don’t need debate, my friends, what you need is the Gospel, the real Gospel (Galatians 3:8-9): “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” They need God’s good news for all the people (Luke 2:9-11): “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Your limited atonement gospel can’t be good news for all of the people because Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t made for all people. If anything it’s bad news, bad because in your view the Father is going to punish people for rejecting a sacrifice which wasn’t made upon their behalf! (Acts 17:30) If you believe in the L of limited atonement, you have a false Gospel, my friends. Stop wrestling with “That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.” If you’re confident in your views, confident that Desiring God or Got Questions has all of the answers you’ll ever need, that’s fine, go your way. If you’re not however, and if you have honest doubts, then in the integrity of your heart, submit yourself to the plain word of God, and, if you agree with the words below, consider them prayerfully, as if they were treasured values & beliefs formed in and belonging to your own heart. . .
I’ve confessed with my mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in my heart that you’ve raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Romans 10:9). This rescue isn’t from my efforts or my work, it’s from you, Lord (John 1:13). “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 29:23-24). I can’t make myself right with you, a leopard can’t change his spots (Jeremiah 13:23), but I can say “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). I can’t repair what I’ve broken, but I can ask you for healing. I’ve decided to return from the pigsty to your love and forgiveness, never confusing my weak choice to cry out with your strength to redeem he who seemed irredeemable and to love who was unlovable (Luke 15:11-32). “Keep me safe from traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.” (Psalms 141:9-10). In Jesus’ name, amen.
― T. C. M