It’s been a “few days” since I’ve blogged… not that I flatter myself to think anyone has actually noticed…but I’d like to make a plug for a site I was introduced to today and tell you why I think it’s worth note.
The site is
It is through expedia, so you’re going to get the same deals as you would if you use expedia directly, except for one little tid-bit: All the profits the site makes from you booking your trip through them goes to mission work! Is that awesome or what?! This site is one of the many venues that we have available to us to obey the command of Scripture – “..Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Now I’m not so naive as to think that one simply planning their next trip to Vegas so one can strike it rich at the slots justifies one’s greed, or gambling addiction thus permitting him to continue in it – that’s not what I’m saying at all. But if we have ways available to us where we can do the thing we need to get done routinely and make even something as mundane as trying to find a good rate on a flight, hotel, car rental, etc. a way to further the kingdom of our LORD – then why would you not do that?
I was sharing with a LifeGroup class today how God is giving me a growing desire to be consumed with His kingdom. Jesus tells us to seek His Kingdom first, and I think this is a great way to express that passion. It is my desire that God work in my life, and the life of my family, so much so that as I do things I’m always thinking of the Kingdom of God and how I can best serve His purpose. I want to be so passionate about Jesus that I find ways to make everything I do glorify Him – whether eating, drinking, or planning a family vacation. =)
So in brief – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
Psalm 96:9 “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”
Psalm 103:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”
Bringing glory to God in all we do is the most supreme endeavor man could ever be involved in. Making God appear as glorious as He really is should be the desire that consumes us. Our lives should reflect Him. I have been thinking about the drastic distinction this calls for. As I look around at professing believers, and even my own life, I don’t see the burning desire to “heap glory” as it were, upon the name of The LORD. The two verses cited call all creation to worship God – everything outside of man, and everything within the being of man. There is no part of anything that exists that is not obligated to give glory to God. It seems that we, at least American Christendom, have lost sight of this as a whole. We are caught up on trying to convince the lost to try Jesus so they can have better relationships, or a better future after death. We have taken the most glorious Being and demeaned Him into a slave to that only finds fulfillment in serving His created man. An example of this can be see in how the average pastor warns his people against divorce (if at all). We are told how much horror it causes in the family, and the ripple effect among relatives. How it damages the children. We’re given statistics of how many troubled teens come from broken homes, etc. Very few Christians are ever taught that marriage was instituted by God to image the love He has for His people. They’re not told that divorce makes a distorted claim about the gospel as, without saying any words, it screams that God is not faithful no matter how unfaithful we are. (I’m not going to get into the topic of divorce here, I’m just using it as an example of how people are given pragmatic and man-centered reasons to keep God’s commands.) We should do what we do to glorify The KING of kings, we should tell men to obey their Creator because He is worthy, regardless of the practical implications. This is true worship.
There is a question that was put to me about 4 years ago that challenged me… it has stuck with me ever since. I find it helpful in examining my heart – whether I am longing to glorify God or if I am serving Him because of what I can gain from Him. It short, but sharp: “If you knew you could serve God with all your hear, soul, and might all your life, and He would still send you to hell; would you still serve Him?”
Our imaging God, our worshiping Him, our prizing Him as our EVERYTHING is paramount. Why?
He is worthy!!!
- This means we are to represent God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the fullness of Trinitarian character and attributes revealed through the Scriptures. (Romans 11:33-36; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Revelation 5:12)
The “This” is referring to how we are to glorify God and worship Him. We worship by representing His truth – the truth of His being. We glorify Him by proclaiming what He has revealed about Himself. This glorifying worship can be in the form of music (or other art forms), literature, relationships, etc. It is the imaging of Who God that we worship and glorify Him. This is what He created us to do.
Paul tells us in Romans “from Him (Christ) and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory for ever. Amen.” The other passage that Camp lists that states it clearly is Revelation 5:12 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. ” Scripture is abundantly clear that we, believers, exist to glorify God. All of humanity was thrown into the bondage of sin. Man the part of God’s creation that was to image Him, has rejected being that image bearer and instead is in revolt. God has chosen to bring some men/women out of that God-hating bondage (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) and conform them into the image of His Son. Even our sanctification is to bring glory to The Son. We are to do all we do to give glory to our Maker!
Some think that taking an attribute of God and spotlighting that is fulfilling this purpose; but it isn’t. Aaron and the children of Israel did something like that when Moses was up on the mountain and they made a calf of gold. Aaron looked at the calf and saw an attribute of Jehovah for he declared to the people, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” We are guilty of creating our own golden calves when we take on aspect of God and present that out of context. We are to represent God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture – the God of Justice as well as the God of mercy. We are to proclaim God’s wrath along with God’s love. Painting a warped picture of God doesn’t glorify Him in the least. As His children, we should desire to represent God, by His grace, according to the fullness of His character as He has revealed Himself through Scripture.
I was listening this week to a message by John Piper and he made the point that the majority of our life is really overflow. The things we say, gestures we use, “little” decisions we make almost without even thinking… all these are done out of an overflow of our core belief structure or perspective of reality. This is why sanctification is so important. As we become more like Jesus Christ those actions that are “overflow” will be conformed into imitating HIM. So this second theses of Steve’s isn’t so much an attempt at causing us to focus on our outward actions and strive to make them conform to a standard (this is where legalism tends to find it’s nutrition), but in causing us to be changed by beholding the face of God. In other words, I would urge you that the first action of Jesus Christ to begin to follow by God’s grace, is that of always looking to The Father. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. ” He kept His eyes on The Father, and so should we. We are conformed to Him when we are consumed with Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Psalm 73 (read it here http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2073&version=NASB ), is a great help to me. I go through times where I struggle with my faith in The LORD and this is one of the passages in which God strengthens my heart.
The psalmit begins with an affirmation “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!” It’s good that he starts with this for what follows lines up with the experience of the doubter. The author of this psalm lets us know that he doubted also, but has come through those doubts and states the surety of a truth before walking us through the dark valley he traversed. He affirms the light at the end of the tunnel before taking us through it.
“But as for me, my feet had come close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped.” He describes has he had almost completely fallen away from the truth he initially stated. He was weighed down with doubt and attributes it to being consumed with the appearance of the wicked stating “As I saw the prosperity of the wicked…” This is problem. This is when the cares of this world are at their strongest – when we’re staring at them. Whether it be financial prosperity that lures us, intellectual respect, the belief system of the majority, peace and enjoyment among friends, etc; when we get our eyes off of Jehovah and see things through the temporal or naturalistic lens, we loose heart. We begin to entertain thoughts like those of the psalmist, “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence…” These thoughts may sound more like this to us, “The God you were taught as a kid is not real, look at the majority of scientist and even the average Joe – they don’t even believe in Him!”, “How could God be real and this bad thing still happen to me? Maybe I’ve just been fooling myself.” Or “Where is God anyway, is He there? My world seems like it’s falling apart!”
The sure-fire way to stay in this situation is to continue to do what started it. This is the lot of those Jesus spoke of in His parable of the soils. Those who’s sprouts are choked out by the cares of the world. But by God’s grace, He will not let His children stay here long. (Why He designs our trials like these is for another day.) He will turn our eyes and hearts back to Him. Just as the Psalmist tells us, “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight, until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. ” He goes on to describe the certain destruction of those who do not fear Almighty God, and then describes himself through all this. “When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.” Looking back on his doubts and struggles he professes himself to have been senseless. This is interesting for it’s while going through these doubts he thought himself to had been foolish for believing in Jehovah; he had doubted the wisdom in not living as the ungodly. Now, having seen God afresh, he professes his doubtful time to be marked by ignorance and his mindset as that of a brute beast. Yet even in his ignorance and weakness he sees God’s grace through it all – “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.” Through it all, God had the psalmist. Through it all God was holding on to this doubting, weak creature, guiding him and will in time bring him to be with HIM.
The psalmist closes up with praise to the God he doubted initially. He declares that there is no one in heaven beside God, and nothing on earth he would rather have than Jehovah. He knows his own strength will fail him, but God is his Sustainer. It is good for him to be close to God, so he has made God his refuge. We come full circle now and see why he says as his opening statement “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!”
As I read this psalm, I am strengthened; for the world has it’s wise, it’s rich, it’s successful; and they look wise, rich, and successful. The cares can grip tightly, and there are times where I feel I am being strangled by these worldly cares. My steps are slipping, and I feel like I’m almost gone. It seems the wicked are wiser than me, it seems they have their act together, and I’m over here by myself living in a delusional world or I’m not having as much fun as they are. But God in His grace, revives me. He Who is able to keep me from falling holds my hand and guides me. There is a reason Scripture speaks of those who persevere to the end as His people. It is most definitely a fight, and by His grace, His people do fight. We are weak, but our God is strong and watches over us. We are foolish and ignorant, we are unstable and doubt the God Who created us and reveals Himself to us. We are quick to forget His mighty acts, for we easily are caught up by what we see now. Like Thomas, we are quick to believe only that which we can see; but God opens our eyes to the reality of Him. Soli Deo Gloria!
Steve Camp has drawn up a document titled “The 107 Theses – reclaiming a reverence for God in ministry.” The document can be read in total here
My aim is to work through each of these theses statements, addressing at least one a week, interacting with the Scripture texts as well as the truth stated in order to challenge myself as well as those who read.
1. “All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God-with our chief aim being to glorify God and worship Him forever. (Job 40:6-41:34; Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9: 23-24) “
This is a powerful statement to make initially, and I believe is the summation of what is to follow. Just reading the Job passage is sobering. God challenges Job and by the end we (Job and the reader) realize that man’s not as big and bad and we think we are. Part of our problem is we fail to really see ourselves in light of God and His greatness. We tend to think ourselves pretty highly when it comes to our worth. We (Christians) give lip service to God’s being God, but when it comes down to it, we have to side with Job in saying “I have heard of you with my ear…” We have heard of Him, but not really experienced HIM in the way Job was being confronted. When questioned by God, Job was left speechless. The questions God posed to Job were questions prompting Job to compare himself to the Almighty. Just the sheer power of God ought to cause us to see that we are nothing and that He is everything and to be regarded as such.
The Psalmist tells us in chapter 29 of the Psalms that we are to ascribe unto The LORD to glory due Him. Jeremiah tells us that the one thing we have God’s permission to boast in is not our wisdom or strength, but in knowing HIM. We were created for His glory, and it’s in knowing Him and reveling in that knowledge that we glorify Him. It is in realizing this purpose and in living it out that we should do all we do to glorify Him and to also produce a high view of God in the hearts and minds of others. In short – all we do is worship of The Almighty.
What I see indicative of the “church” today is just the opposite. Ministry is man-centered. Whether it be the pastor trying to generate revenue so as to build his ministerial dream, or whether he’s in the ministry “just ‘cause I love people”. The books written are intent on convincing man that God thinks him special and really wants to make great things out of him, if man will only recognize the hidden potential that is clear as the sun to God. The music becomes shallow, the Sunday sermons become dry, God is not to be found anywhere near our social clubs we call church; yet we don’t realize it because we’re to busy dancing our golden calf as our preacher yells “behold your god!”. Ministry isn’t done in worship of Jehovah, nor with the aim to generate more worship of Him. Humanity is the god most worship today, so much that we even have god bowing down to man. We love this god because He so worships us, how could we not love someone who so prizes us above all else?!
But ministry is not primarily to help people, rather ministry is to exalt God. The main purpose of Sunday morning church isn’t to evangelize the lost, the reason for worship music isn’t to try to draw the youth in hopes to keep them drug-less and pure, and the primary motivator for mission work is not because we just love people and can’t stand the thought of them not going to heave. Yes, we long to see the lost saved and thank God for each new profession on a Sunday morning. Yes, we are thrilled when youth come to worship The LORD! And Yes, we long to see God save men from hell. But these are not the primary reason we do these things. If so then we are guilty of idolatry, for we serve who we worship. Paul admonished us that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.
May God have mercy on us and grant us repentance that we may return to true worship. May the songs we sing, books we write, and ministries we develop have this as their primary aim – to glorify God and worship Him forever.
Today my sister said “I do” to the love of her life. (There’s a good chance my next few post might have somthing to do with the wedding, sorry in advance for those who are like “get off it already!”)
I had the priviledge of ushering in those attending as well as my Maw-Maw (Grandmother on my Mom’s side) and my own Mom. It was a great joy to see lots of my old friends, some I grew up with, some I watch grow up, and some who watched me grow up. I felt like I was getting more hugs than the bride and groom – it’s a blessing to be loved. But back to what I was saying… I would sit people and one of the questions I asked (aside from “would you like a fan?” it was stink’n hot!!) was “Bride or groom?” so I could sit them accordingly. Every wonder why? Ever wonder why we separate the witnesses like that? And then have the bride and groom walking between the two? Then when that part’s over we have a reception. These things make my mind hearken back to the whole covenantal theme. Mind if I explain? Good, ’cause I’m gonn’a! =)
Let’s go back “briefly” to Genesis, chapter 15. God makes a covenant with Abraham, and does a VERY significan thing in that He walks the covenant aisle without Abraham (but I won’t talk about that… for now.) Remember what The LORD was walking between? Halves of animals. That’s vital, for those halves had meaning. One of the things represented by them was the covenant curse. What was said at such a ceremony was something to the effect of “If I don’t uphold my covenant promise, my what happened to these animals be my lot!” Now the meaning of The LORD walking through alone takes on more form. Had God permitted Abraham to walk through, Abraham surley would have invoked the curse on himself. But God promised to make of Abraham a great nation, God promised to redeem all nations through Abraham’s Seed. God needed no help from Abraham. Had Abraham gotten involved, had it been contingent upon Abraham keeping some part of the deal, then it would not have come to fruition. He proves that later when he tries to help God out and just creates a problem with Hagar. Then he lies about who his wife is, claiming she is his sister, and “jeopardized” God’s promise by giving a king free reign to sleep with his own wife! God kept the king from doing so, but look at how the man that every Jew aspires to be like, and every Christian stands in awe of, was lacking faith right when it seemed to matter most!
In the covenant ceremony, those halfed animal parts were reminders, helpers if you will, to spur the two parties that walk between them (humanly speaking, as God needs no incentive to keep covenant) of the seriousness of their vow and the curse for breaking it. So all those witnesses present have a responsiblity to help the newly married couple, and encourage them in their covenant keeping toward each other.
I’ve got nothing surprising to share really, other than that one of things the wedding did was take me back to Genesis and see God walking through the halves as He was making a covenant. That a covenant contains precious promises, witnesses, responsibilities, and curses for breaking it.
I will say this in closing, maybe you will see why I am so fascinated with covenants. God gave Adam what theologians call “The Covenant of Works” in the garden. Through Adam’s disobedience, he invoked the curse on all of humanity. But there is another covenant, one that was made among the persons of the Trinity. One where the Father covenanted with The Son to give Him a people, those for whom He would die for. The Son became flesh and was made a curse for men. The very covenantal curse that was on me, He took on Himself. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for me. He ransomed sinners by His death, and The Father is brining those sinners to His Son, Jesus Christ. There will be a day when all creation will witness the Son meeting His bride face to face. We will then enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb – a reception like no other!
Just something that went through my mind today as wedding stuff was taking place – Covenants.
I was brought up being told the quaint saying “Any dead fish can float downstream!” But I think this little fish story is misapplied all too often, for the current is not always bad, and it’s possible to “fight” against a current simply because we’re dead fish floating in a counter-current.
The problem is that either side can quote this to their prospective proselyte in opposition of the opposing side that currently has the loyalties of the desired recruit. For example: An atheist could tell an individual who was raised in a Christian home that the only reason they are Christians is because they were raised to be such. This may, or may not be true in reality; but the only one who really knows that is the one who professes Christianity. Yet the same could be said by the Christian to the atheist who was raised in a non-Christian home. Or, the one raised in a Christian home could determine to not be a dead fish, so he swims against his upbringing and becomes an atheist, or agnostic, or just plain apathetic toward God (practical atheism) just for the sake of it. The one raise atheist could do the same, and profess Christianity simply because he was raised without religion. So just because we’re going against the current doesn’t mean we’re right; and just because we may be floating in the right current doesn’t mean we’re right.
So how do you know? That’s the question I asked myself.
To float is wrong regardless of the stream! Just because you may be running with the right crowd doesn’t mean YOU are in the right. If you’re floating down stream you’re still in the dead fish category regardless of the direction of the stream; and if an opposing current that is strong enough comes by then you’ll float along with that one. This is the fault of parents depending on “positive peer pressure” in raising their children. All they’ve done is taken dead fish out of a stream flowing south and tossed them in a north bound stream – ‘problem is, is that the fish are still dead! Sure, it may keep them out of certain areas of immorality for a while, but they couldn’t swim upstream if their life depended on it. They don’t need a new stream to float in, they need life.
To go against the current, is not noble (or right) by default. Some people think that questioning the norm places them in a category above all the other “simpletons”. They refuse to be a dead fish and just float down stream. The problem with these fish is that they’re not fighting the current for the sake of truth, but for the sake of rebellion. In reality, they’re just as dead as the “floaters” because they’re simply floating in a stream that runs opposite to the one they’re “fighting”. One could liken it to being caught in an undercurrent. These fish can’t evaluate things on the basis of truth – they’re lifeless, and if the undercurrent gets weak enough, they’ll float the other direction just the same.
In both of the previous instances, each fish were dead because both were controlled by the stream it was in. A fish that is alive may swim upstream, or down stream depending on the alignment of the current with the direction he knows he needs to be traveling. The one thing he NEVER does is permit the stream to dictate his direction of travel. The stream doesn’t represent truth or falsehood; it is simply the direction of the majority in which he is living. This majority may be right or wrong, but never either by default. If he assumes the majority is always right then the majority will determine his direction. If he assumes the majority is always wrong then the majority still determines his direction. Truth, then, becomes relative to the current.
By now you’re probably wondering why I am messing around with these stupid fish/current analogies anyway. What’s all this about? Well, so often we let those around us determine what we believe about an issue. We do not examine things in light of God’s truth; rather we accept it as true if the “right people” commend it to us as such. Whether we are in the right stream or not is irrelevant since we don’t accept the issue based on God’s Word, but based on those who are in the current with us. I know one individual, whom I love dearly, that will not examine a theological position because it seems to be on the rise among young believers – it’s popular. Yet the current position they hold was popular not too many years ago (and is still popular in the denominational circles they lives in). Right or wrong, they are simply floating down stream. Yet, I have another good friend who is open to evaluating everything they have ever been taught, but it seems their rationale isn’t because they are seeking truth, but because they assume that EVERYTHING in the “stream” they were previously in is false. The past things are guilty by association. I would argue that this, too, is a dead fish. Both are floating in their respective streams, but looking at the other stream and foolishly thinking they are swimming against it. The only way to not be controlled by the current is to be controlled by something, or Someone rather, outside the current – JESUS.
Get your eyes off the current.
“Give up everything you have, carry a cross, and hate your family. This sounds a lot different than “Admit, believe, confess, and pray a prayer after me.” ” (from chapter 1 of Radical by David Platt)
I’ve been thinking about what true discipleship really looks like. If I think about what I have given up to “follow” Jesus, up to this point, I can’t really think of anything. As I stated in a previous post, I feel like my heart has been put in a wood chipper and shredded to bits, yet it’s not as detestable a feeling as it may sound (the Christian life is full of “paradoxes” and this is one of them). I’m craving to be sold out, hating myself for making some of the decisions I have in the past and the effect that I see those decisions have on my family. They have been infected with my own materialism, and I don’t know what to do!
To completely candid with you, I even have a fear that if I sell out “too much” it may cost me my family, or my children may walk away from Jesus because their daddy was a fanatic. Yet, no sooner does these fiery darts enter my mind that The Holy Spirit reminds me of His Sovereignty over all things, of Jesus’ words that literally scared people off when He told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood, or to forsake all things and follow Him. The one thing the battle smoke cannot hide is the real issue – do I really believe Jesus is Who He claims to be? If I do, then my obedience to His words is a “no brainer”, for disobedience is not an option.
I’m not talking about taking a week off work for a missions trip where I can come back and tell people quaint stories about how blessed I am to live close to a McDonald’s and how everyone should go on at least one missions trip in their life. I’m talking about a total life renovation! What would my life look like if I were a radical Christian? What would have to change? How would I employ technology, money, home, food, spare time, family time, etc differently than I do now? These questions, and others in the same vein, are what is slicing my heart to pieces. It slices because as much as I would like to put myself in the “radical” category, I cannot do so and be honest. I am no where near the caliber of disciple as Peter, James, John, Matthew, Paul, or Stephen. Quite simply, and very ashamedly, I have offered to The LORD that which costs me NOTHING!
Oh, Father! Please forgive me for being comfortable in an “American Christianity”. Grant me grace, LORD! Work in me the desire to follow You in reckless abandonment, and the will to do it. Turn the hearts of my wife and children to Yourself. LORD, I want us to burn for You with passion. Don’t let this be a brief spark that dies out , but may it be a fire that is kept ablaze by Your Holy Spirit.
Instead of my writing a post,I want to share a chapter of a book that I have been afraid to read lately. Since beginning to read this chapter today, I have ordered the book. I feel as if my heart is being pushed through a wood chipper, yet simultaneously I am craving to be what this book challenges me to be – a true disciple of Jesus!
Please, at least read this chapter!
There’s another challenge I have in raising my boys, and that stems from the fact that they are my sons – they got daddy’s sin nature. Dealing with depravity is not an easy task. I see me in them, and it can be infuriating, discouraging, deflating, and more. And to make matters more convoluted, they each seem to have mastered a different facet of my sin nature. So while one takes pleasure in agitating his little brother to the point of inciting him to cry out in desperation, or likes to flaunt that he has something the other doesn’t; my second born has mastered manipulating others through emotions. He can appear innocent when he was the one throwing punches while the adult’s back was turned. Then there’s the baby – yes! Even him!! He can pitch a fit to get his way. Whether he legitimately needs something or just plain wants it, he cares nothing for anyone save himself.
Understanding the total depravity of man has helped me grasp the goal of disciplining children. (Now, granted, I don’t always operate under what I’m about to say because I myself still have a sin nature; but by God’s grace I strive to implement what I’m about to share.) The better I understand what Scripture teaches about man’s depravity, the more I was able to discipline with grace. Before I understood these things, I would get so angry at my children for doing the bad things they did. Not realizing that part of what made me so irate was that I saw myself in their sin, I was angry as I knew they knew better than to do it. I also knew there were others, people who thought I couldn’t do a good job and we looking for that “I told you so” moment, who were watching me, and my children’s sin was embarrassing me. Then God showed me my own depravity, and His grace became all the more magnificent! Not too long after, my theology began to affect my practice in child training. Their sin was not made to be a trifle, instead it was made all the more grave; yet the outrage at their wickedness was not the same. Their transgression was not against me, but God, so I need not take it personal. And they are doing what is natural to them; so instead of disciplining them out of shock that they would do such things, I knew their heart condition and could deal with it more appropriately. I know that when my children sin they are acting according to their heart’s desire. My goal of discipline is no longer behavior modification, for that is simply hanging pretty fruit on a dead tree. My goal is heart orientation. Their heart is the problem. So the times they exhibit their depravity need not embarrass me as I know they are bound in sin. Instead, it saddens me due to their bondage in sin.
Dealing with depravity should cause us to deal with compassion. I realize this issue is much deeper, I am not attempting to expound on the subject. I simply wish to emphasize one aspect of learning biblical truth – that dealing with depravity has forced me to deal with the heart, and to do so in a more loving way. Not that I mitigate the judgment given as a result of their offense; rather that judgment is dealt to them in grace – as a parent should discipline his/her child.