I have talked a lot about how people make excuses to justify the sins they commit. Almost everyone does it to some extent, but there is one excuse I hear more than any other; abuse.
The type of abuse may vary but it is the main thing people seem to leap to when justifying something they have done wrong. We all have been abused to some extent because we are surrounded by other sinful people. Because of the things others have done to us or taught us to think, we basically act as though we can't change what we are doing. We take the blame and put it on someone else because they hurt us in some way. Crazy as it sounds, when someone gets abused they are actually more likely to start abusing other people the same way as compared to never treating someone else that way.
I was very guilty of this and probably still am sometimes. I went through all kinds of crap as I was growing up and it really sticks with you. Anyone that knows me well knows I have been struggling with depression for a long time now and I didn't even know it until recently. The sad thing is, I learned a lot of behaviors from my family that I then did myself. It would be very easy to just hold on to them forever and blame my family, but the reality is I am accountable for my own actions and so is everyone else.
No matter what circumstances you are in, past, present, or future, you are the one accountable for how you respond.
You can't do anything about what other people will decide to do or the things they will teach you as you grow up. You also can't do much to control the things your friends might try and pressure you into, but you can always decide for yourself if it is right or not. Even though it may not seem like it, there is always a choice and you can do the right thing, even if it requires sacrifice on your part. The key is not allowing other people to determine who you are going to be. You have to choose to be righteous no matter what the cost, and there is never truly an excuse to do anything different.
I know how easy it is to fall back on abuse as an excuse, the things people do to us can really hurt and scar us for life. No matter how deep the scar is though, we have to stop making excuses and change into the person Jesus wants us to be. There will always be an excuse. Something to justify any action we might take, but Jesus died so that we could be more than that. We have the power to become so much better because we literally have God at our side guiding the way. So let's stop blaming the past for how we are now and let it die with our old selves, because that is what happened when we came to Christ. The old you died, and a new creation was born right there. Don't get held down by the things that are better off buried with the old you.
There is an issue that the Church has faced since before Jesus died on the cross and rose again 3 days later, that issue is fake Christians. Before Jesus died it was Judas, someone who followed him everywhere and followed his teachings to such an extent that when Jesus said someone would betray him, no one knew who was going to do it aside from Jesus. In modern times we have the same issue just on a far larger scale and it is exactly what Satan wants, we are casually playing into his hands and acting like we are doing the right thing while we do it. Lets talk about what we are doing wrong and how we need to go about fixing it.
In modern Christianity people have this focus on being totally nice and accepting of anything and everything to make the lost feel welcome. It doesn't matter what there particular sin is, people treat them like family and “love” them as they are. Christians give them half of the gospel and ignore the parts that might make someone feel guilty because it might scare them away. By the end of this process we get what seems like a new follower in Christ. Everyone celebrates because they are saved now and have a relationship with Jesus! The problem is, more likely than not they aren't saved and they don't know Jesus at all. These “converts” will more often be one of two things, false converts, which will either fall away the second things get hard, saying they have already tried Christianity and know it to be false, or they will be the weakest Christians ever with no foundation in the Word of God at all.
This is the best possible situation for Satan, a bunch of people trying and walking away from the faith making it seem less believable to others and people that will continue calling themselves Christian but will have no clue what it is to really follow Christ. Now you are probably thinking, “why does Aitheros think this way about all these new converts?” and the reason is simple: They never heard the full gospel, they never understood why they needed to be saved in the first place. They continue walking around thinking they are good people because all they have ever been told by Christians is that God loves them as they are, which is true but not in the way they say it. God loves us all enough to die for us, but he does not love what we do because we always lean towards evil when left to ourselves. Without Christ, we are destined for the Lake of Fire, a place of eternal torment, because God is going to put us there to punish us for the evil we have done. God is righteous and just, he can't allow evil to go unpunished, so while he loves us all he will also do what needs to be done. Don't assume someone knows what you haven't told them. He showed his love for us by taking on that punishment himself, but we have to repent and put our trust in him to accept that gift of salvation. If you never truly understood that you were worthy of Hell, what do you think you are being saved from? Consistently, people that hear a half gospel think they can earn their way to heaven by being generally good people, and this is exactly how Satan wants it.
As long as people think they can earn their way to heaven, as long as Christians are only preaching half the gospel instead of the whole thing, Satan is winning. We don't have to let it stay that way, all we have to do is follow Jesus's example and preach the full gospel and preach it urgently. Don't be afraid to use the law to make someone feel guilty, that is exactly what it is for. Don't be afraid to lose friends or even family because Jesus warned us that could happen and he is more important no matter what. If you want to truly show that you love someone like God does, give them the full truth so that they can really get to know Jesus right from the start. Don't feel the need to make everyone feel accepted, because frankly God doesn't accept us as we are. He takes us in and he molds us into what we are supposed to be and when judgment comes, we will be sinless because Jesus took our punishment for us and we will be seen in his righteousness, not our own.
Someone asked a question recently that has had me thinking quite a lot; are violent video games alright to play?
After a lot of thought, I believe the answer is yes, because in almost every case you are playing as the hero fighting evil. There may be death portrayed but no one actually dies. In general, there is nothing wrong to be found here unless you are someone playing games with a lot of hate. Just like lust is adultery of the heart, if we hate someone Jesus says we have murdered them in our hearts, and just like lusting after a character in a game counts as adultery/fornication, I believe it counts as murder if you truly hate a character in the game because it is a heart issue.
Now this thought process led me to think even harder about things and I think there is something to be said about the types of games we are willing to play. Violence isn't automatically evil but there are other things that are, like murder, sexual content, stealing, and so on. After thinking about it for a long time, I have concluded that as Christians we shouldn't be playing games that make you do these things. There are many games now days that either straight up make you the villain or give you the choice to be the villain if you want to be. I believe the former should be avoided altogether because why would any Christian want to be the bad guy on purpose? It goes against everything we are and we should not indulge in sinful behaviors we would be against in real life. I personally am incapable of it, even back at a time when I started to play something as a bad guy, I was never able to get very far at all. It really just bothers me despite it only being fictional characters. I don't think I am the odd one out for this, and until now I wasn't that worried about it, but as Christians games like GTA or God of War shouldn't even be on the table because why would you want to be the villain? I think this speaks to what is in our hearts and if you actually enjoy running around being terrible, that is something I think you should take some time to really think about.
This leaves the games which leave the choice up to you, and I think these fall under your discretion mostly whether you want to play them or not. If the game has made it so that to 100% it you have to do the bad play through, that is something that you should keep in mind because that is a game pushing you to make very immoral choices intentionally. If you are someone that seems to hang out more on the bad side and actually choose to be evil on purpose when you play these games, I would say avoid them because they aren't healthy for you. If you are someone who always wants to be righteous, than I don't see any issue so long as you have no intent to actually do the bad side of things just for the sake of it.
We always need to be cautious with what we do as Christians, we never want to enjoy being evil, even in a fictional universe. We need to avoid even appearing to be evil and do all that we can to follow Jesus Christ. That means never playing games with sexual content, with grotesque violence just for the sake of violence, and games that make you the bad guy. I am not saying this is an easy thing to do, especially in modern times where we seem to slip more and more by the minute, but it is what I believe we are expected to do. So please try and keep all of this in mind when you are looking for a new game to buy.
Finally, if you own games like GTA, my advice is simple: break the disk and throw it out. You will be much better off without those types of games in your life, I promise.
There is something that has been true throughout all history when it comes to people, we always care more about how we look to other people as compared to how we actually are. That is something I think needs to change, and we are all guilty of it to some extent.
The church as a whole as far as I can tell is messing up, people don't seem to care about actually being moral, it only matters to look that way. Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone, but it does apply to the majority. People seem to think if you say Jesus's name a lot, go to church on Sunday, maybe pray for some people and give money to their church or some charity, the wrongs they hide aren't a problem. Let's not forget about mission trips that are more like vacations for a bunch of teenagers! I am aware that not all mission trips are pointless, but that is a topic for another time, most of them are just for show. People and churches want to look good and so they do these things to remind everyone around them, “We are good Christians!” but is that really the case?
While people are doing these things, they are also going home and watching and playing whatever they want. They make a show of being amazing Christians, and then when they are around non-believers they act like them. These people make a show of being awesome and change into totally different people at home and it even shows in the things the churches do. We send people on mission trips for teenagers instead of spending that money on things that will actually matter. We are literally surrounded by atheists and the church sends a bunch of teenagers to another country for what is basically a vacation with some physical labor for charity. The buildings are falling apart, the congregation barely cares about God or the bible, but it's all good, we went on a mission trip! Let's not forget that statistically in any church you go to, they say 50% of the men watch pornography. I don't trust statistics that much, honestly the number is probably higher and the reason for that is simple. Not too many pastors are actually talking about sexual sin, that is something we would rather brush under a rug. Same thing applies to divorce and many other things we are doing wrong all the time, and it all comes down to caring about how we look instead of actually being better.
Instead of preaching about the hard stuff, pastors talk about Jesus over and over again along with the things any Christian would already know with a little extra historical info. The reason for this is fear of offending their congregation by telling them the truth that God expects more of them. We live in a world where telling people the truth and expecting them to live it is actually offensive. The only thing people want to do is put on a show, go home, and live their usual sinful lives without a thought towards God unless they need to put on a show again. Because of this, the world thinks there are actually a lot of Christians but as I say a lot, there really aren't that many of us. A genuine convert would be incapable of caring so little. I am not saying if you sin you aren't Christian, but if you don't genuinely care, if it doesn't bother you at all, I am worried about you. We don't want to be like the Pharisees and just pretend to be holy, we need to actually be holy so that we stand out and are obviously set apart. As long as you are just putting on a show and living like a sinner you are not only hurting yourself, you are hurting those around you. We set the example for new Christians and for those outside of the church. If they see you live just like them, they aren't ever going to change or think your faith is even worth anything.
Please understand that sin isn't just some random rule that God has put in place for us, it is for our benefit and it is genuinely evil to sin. Sin hurts you and it hurts those around you, even in ways you don't perceive. God doesn't need us to be perfect but he needs us to try to be perfect as much as is possible at all times. We are gonna fail and stumble but that doesn't mean give up and do whatever you want. Let's be the best Christians we can be and set the example God wants us too! Live it don't just put on a show.
When we have a sin problem there is always a tendency to make an excuse for why we do it. I think it's time we stopped making excuses and just handled the problem!
We all do this, it's hard not to make an excuse to justify whatever it is we are doing. The reality is that we are all accountable for our own actions regardless of the circumstances around us. The world is fallen, there are always going to be things around us pushing everyone towards sin but none of them can force us to sin. There is never going to be a time that you have to sin, even if means dying. That's right, I am telling you even if someone has a gun to your head and is telling you to sin, you should choose death in that scenario. However terrifying death may be, it is still more important to not sin. I am aware that as Christians we are saved regardless of what we do wrong but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter anymore, if anything, it matters more.
I hear it all the time, “Oh I only lusted because she dressed immodestly!” or maybe, “I can't afford the music/game unless I pirate it so that's what I do!”. Both of these people for some reason believe that they haven't done anything wrong because of external reasons. I wish these things were uncommon, but they aren't. The truth is even if someone is completely naked and posing sexually in front of you, it is still possible to not lust after them. Those thoughts are yours. It is also true that you aren't entitled to anything, I don't care if someone makes their song 1,000 dollars, or if it's not for sale at all, you have no right to steal just because it's out of your reach. We as Christians need to do better than this. I would expect this sort of thing from atheists but I mainly hear it from Christians. These excuses only hurt us and help us to ignore the real problem; ourselves.
We can always find an excuse to justify anything that we do, but the truth is it's all on us. We choose to think or act a certain way, it doesn't matter what is around us. I know that this world can make things harder but it is always up to us to set an example and be better. As Christians, we are set apart from the world and God has high expectations of us. Let's stop making excuses and get down to the real problem of our hearts and minds. Let's strive to be better regardless of what the people around us are doing. Understand that no matter what you are going to be the one held accountable for your sin, it doesn't matter if your family and friends do it too. It could even be your church doing it, but if you know it's wrong, you shouldn't. In fact, you should be speaking out against it and trying to make a change in your personal relationships. This all might seem very hard to you but I promise it is exactly what God expects of you.
Now I am not saying to just risk yourself all the time and that you should be immune to all sin, we still need to be careful with what we expose ourselves to. But whatever may happen, don't make an excuse for why you sinned, take full responsibility and own it. That way you can begin to make real progress instead of just shaking your fist at the world around you for making you that way. We can all do better, so let's get to it and stop making excuses from here on out!
It is always awesome when we take a step forward in our walk with Christ by getting past a sin we have struggled with. It's easy to get excited when we do this, but we should never let our guard down and here is why!
When someone stops sinning in a certain way it is one the best possible things that can happen, it is genuinely exciting! We thank God and spread the word that you no longer have this struggle and everything is going great. But then a problem begins that I don't think people really notice as it starts. After a short while away from your sin, you begin to think you are totally immune to it forever. I have some bad news though, you aren't. You are always capable of falling back into it if you leave yourself vulnerable. God can do amazing things in our lives but he doesn't promise complete protection from sin, it is up to us to avoid evil things and to be constantly praying and staying in contact with Him.
If God was just going to handle it all, you would have stopped sinning the second you put your trust in Jesus, but you always have a choice, even to do wrong.
No matter what, we have to do everything in our power to avoid sinful things. The area where this is most prevalent is sexual content, as one might expect. I swear, I can't write an article without bringing that trash up, but it's relevant. It is easy to think because you walked away from porn and stopped lusting after people that you are in the clear now. No sexual content is a risk to you so long as you don't watch outright pornography! I am sorry to say that you are wrong, it is still a risk to you and in the world today, basically everything is trying to get you to fall in this way.
No one should play or watch things with sexual content, but someone who struggled at one point even more so. You have already shown you have a weakness in that area, don't leave yourself vulnerable to it out of pride. Pride is the weakness of almost every person out there, and it can take you to some very bad places. As long as you aren't God Himself in the flesh, you shouldn't even risk yourself with these types of things because you are vulnerable. With that in mind, another thing you may not have considered is how much you risk others with the arrogance of being immune to sin.
When you play or watch something, you tell the world this is okay, this is harmless, even if it isn't at all. You think because you aren't going to sin that it will be fine, but in reality you are putting anyone that knows you at risk. Let's pretend you actually are immune to sexual content, what happens when a friend who isn't immune finds out the kind of things you watch or play? They will try it out themselves and find that it isn't safe at all, but by then it's already too late. You have propelled them towards sin by your example. Another case would be someone totally innocent walking into it and having that innocence taken away from them, even if they don't outright fall into sin. We should stay innocent of evil things as much as is possible, and it isn't right for you to risk other people this way. It's also worth mentioning that when you support the things with that kind of trash in them, you are telling the developers of those things that you like that stuff, which of course will make it spread even further into more things causing yet more people to stumble. We like to think we have no impact at all in this area, but just imagine if every Christian actually stopped buying the things with sexual content. Those places would change it up instantly from the massive drop in profits, especially if we were vocal as to why we weren't buying, watching, or playing.
The fact of the matter is no one is immune to sin, we all struggle in one way or another and we need to be aware of it always. Never let your guard down just because you stopped sinning, you are still vulnerable and need to stay vigilant. For your sake, and for the sake of everyone else around you.
Dedicated to making strong disciples of Christ.
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