Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

Every New Years I get the question: “Have you made any New Years resolutions”? A few years ago I began to wonder what causes so many people to seek new beginnings by the breaking of old habits. It seems like every year I hear someone say: ‘I am going to quit smoking, quit drinking, quit being so mean, quit using drugs…. It seems that we are always trying in our own energy and power to “quit” doing something that we don’t particularly like about ourselves but have justified to ourselves and others. There is this dichotomy in human beings that allows us to think that we can mentally, socially (and maybe by our new found virtual reality) even physically, insulate the particular human from the particular habit. Its called compartmentalization. Once we have successfully isolated (compartmentalized) ourselves from the evil that we do, it becomes much easier to dilute the “judgment of evil” that some have placed upon the bad act. If we are really good at this diluting of our conscience, we can even rationalize (tell ourselves rational-lies) to the point of the bad act becoming palatable, even an acceptable part of our personality and therefore reasonably expected by those around us. Psychology in the last 100 years has sought to de-fault sin beginning with moderately bad habits. We can see this de-fault psychology in much of the advertising today. The commercials generally begin by excusing our lustful habits this way: “Its not your fault that you are (fill in the blank).” The “blank” might be “overweight,” “a smoker,” etc. It could be anything. The point is, that we are being excused and nothing is our own fault. You are just a victim.. If we are rude, it is because we had poor upbringing. If we are drunkards, we were “predisposed.” If we are sexual addicts, even if we can’t remember, we must have been molested as children. If we are lazy, it just requires “genetic tolerance” from those around us. Flip Wilson made a pretty good living back in the 80’s blaming everything on the devil. Not so ironically it was also back in the 80’s that a man literally got away with murder with “the Twinkie Defense.” The gist of the case was that the man who committed murder could not control his own actions because of so much sugar in his system from eating an excessive amount of Twinkies. Even our legal system has fallen into the social clutches of a humanistic, politically motivated de-fault (no fault) system. Even some churches have taken on this easily digestible psychology and made it their own marketable theology. The faulty idea is that if people don’t experience guilt, they will at least feel better. And maybe then they will act better? I actually had a person several years ago tell me they heard that someone was leaving our church because they thought that coming to church should always make you “feel good” and sometimes they left the church where I was then preaching under conviction for their sins. The inference was that this feeling of conviction should never happen in a place associated with Christianity. This lack in very basic Biblical understanding has led to massive heresies in our society and major social ills. Somewhere along the line these no-fault churches have become popular and in the eyes of the world been measured for success by the popularity and feel good sermonettes. The answer to this of course is “read your Bible.” Read the history of Jesus preaching. Look at the hatred the religious leaders had for Christ, for Paul, for Nehemiah and for anyone willing to take a stand on the whole truth of God’s word. Popularity and feeling good was never a measure of the Christian’s success. Christians have got to learn to stand on God’s Word, not on what is acceptable to the world, not on what feels good to the person, and not on what they resolve to do to fix their own sin. This year resolve to give your whole life to Christ. He changes everything from the inside out and it won’t turn you wrong side out in the process.

Happy New Year!