Moses said, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving Yahweh your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life ...." Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
I try really hard to avoid the tabloid newspapers on the magazine stands at the checkout counters in stores around town, but every once in a while, I read the headlines on the covers and I'm hooked. I've got to know what's inside. Well, one day I saw that all these so-called stars were saying pretty bad things about Taylor Swift, calling her names, saying she's a liar or something like that. Now, I kind of like Taylor Swift. Her music seems uplifting, she seems like a good influence to a lot of young people today, especially girls; so, I had to know what all the hubbub was about.
Well, it came down to the fact that some guy named Kanye West wrote some very dirty, nasty lyrics about Swift in one of his rap songs, and she didn't like it, and here it goes: here's the controversy, ready? He called her to tell her he was going to say something about her in his song and when he sang it, she didn't like it. So, I guess because I call you that makes it okay to say filthy, nasty, hateful, misogynistic things about a pretty nice girl. I guess, in the modern understanding of things, that's all right. Well, not in God's way of doing things.
So many in our world today have not only lost their way, they are racing towards the bottom of morality, civility, and just being a human being, for crying out loud. I realize we are all sinners and, as Jesus says, only those without sin have the right to cast stones at each other (see John 8:7). But the Bible never says that just because we're all sinners who can only be saved by grace, that proudly sinning and proudly unleashing debauchery, like it's no big deal. In fact, we should strive to be better, to do better, to treat others with respect and love, even beyond what they deserve, because Christ has saved us by grace through faith.
When Moses says, "I've set before you life and death, blessings and curses," it was for the purpose of choosing life. This is serious business. Souls are at stake with our foolishness today. Lives are being ruined with our desire to hammer each other, to defame each other, to treat each other as less than human. Choosing life is way beyond some political call to action. It's a call for us to try to be human beings again to each other, to protect the weak, to lift up the hurting, to speak well of each other, and put the best construction on what someone is doing -- until you know for sure what they are up to.
I don't know if the controversy is going to die down or not. I've all but given up on the Hollywood culture, the music culture, the pop culture. But then I'm reminded of the Lord I love, the Lord I serve, and He doesn't give up on anyone so easily. Choose life is His call for Christians to live as people who cherish life, yes, who are willing to call out those who defame, diminish, even destroy life, but also as those who seek to hang in there with people who may be in the clutches of such destruction -- to remind them too that Christ died for sinners like us all, so that we all might have life and have it to its fullest extent, abundantly eternal.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, save us from ourselves. Give us a sense of civility and humility again as a society, but even more, change our hearts and let us begin to model the very love we've received in You, model it to others. Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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