THE INTOXICATING EFFECT
(THE MILEY CYRUS SYNDROME)
I Cor.5: 9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove that wicked man from among yourselves. (NASV)
Jn.3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Will there ever come a time when followers of Jesus truly understand the nature of the gospel? What are people hearing as they sit in pews? Who really cares about souls anymore? Believers now view people by their sins and not their souls. Condemnation of lost sinners is intoxicating to the self righteous nature. Jesus suffers and dies for lost sinners and yet the church treats them like pariahs while they mock and ridicule them. When I was a long haired, violent drug dealer many church people would have condemned me and stayed clear of my company. Thankfully Jesus did not feel that way.
I call it the “Miley Cyrus Syndrome” because she seems to be the target du jour. Here is a girl who was raised in a hedonist home which ended in divorce and she was groomed for Hollywood and came into great wealth at an early age. And now she seems almost out of control and headed for disaster unless something happens to her life. And instead of believers praying for her they castigate her for being an element of a declining moral culture. Let me enlighten everyone, how can something decline when it is completely fallen to begin with?
Do we even believe the gospel anymore? When did our commission change from spreading the good news about Jesus to pontification about the behavior of sinners? And if the church will not be Jesus to these people and reach out in gospel love then who will? Her sins disturb your pious soul? Well your sin disturbs God as well. This business of a sin caste system is nothing but self righteousness all dressed up as morality.
In a diabolical but ingenuous deception the evil one has used that which is right to accomplish a great wrong. The devil has urged us to take up the morality we have learned by God’s grace through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and use it against lost souls. And just why has that happened? It is due in large part because we have fallen in love with America and we seek a more religious and moral culture because these demonstrative sinners irritate us. We watch the television not through redemptive eyes but so we can see sinners committing sins which provide disapproving fodder for our lips so everyone will see how moral and holy we are. I do not care how moral you really are it is all due to the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was so loving to wicked sinners that He was often criticized for keeping company with them. We have so changed the gospel until it is now little more than a church doctrine which provides a ticket to heaven. We have more compassion for an injured animal than we do for a lost sinner marching toward eternal destruction. Carnal politicians stand up and decree a socialism which they believe takes money out of their pocketbooks but are they moved by lost sinners living one heart beat from a lost eternity? How many true believers have had children or grandchildren who have gone far away into the world and have no sense of Christ? And what do we desire? We beg for people to pray for them since we desire to see them come to Christ or even return to Him.
But how would we feel if the church we attended castigated them and called them names and mocked them and their sin? And does someone know Christ who is related to Miley Cyrus and is praying for her? Are they comforted when they hear the most vicious things said about her? Oh, you say, she doesn’t have anyone who loves her praying for her. Ok, then why don’t you stand in the gap for her? Or for anyone?
Self righteousness is an emotional narcotic. It soothes the flesh and creates an inward feeling of acceptance and superiority. How many times have we seen some preacher or professing believer speak virulent words of condemnation about a cross section of people including music and Hollywood celebrities, liberal politicians, and openly gay people? They say the most unkind things and claim they have a divine moral mantle to do so. And then, low and behold, that person has an affair and sometimes divorces and marries his mistress. I have seen it many times. And what is so frustrating about that scenario? It is because that person was so judgmental and spoke with such disdain about those who commit such sins and yet here he is now doing the same thing.
We have never been called to condemn the world or the sinners in it. We are called to a gospel ministry which includes compassion, kindness, and sharing the everlasting gospel. But people like Miley Cyrus provide great target practice for the fallen and self righteous heart. And yet Jesus was accused of being a friend to sinners. How far have we strayed? The problem is that we love our lives and we see some sinners as invading our moral space and contaminating the moral ambiance we have come to enjoy. Did you hear what I just said? We LOVE OUR LIVES in direct disobedience to the words of the Savior we profess to follow.
Please, please understand what I am saying and how it directly countermands all that Jesus lived and taught. Please understand that when we condemn sinners we condemn ourselves as well. Please understand that we now embrace a life that is completely unchristian and yet we call ourselves Christian. Please understand that our Jesus is now a doctrinal puppet who dances to our own thoughts and desires. Please understand that we have isolated our doctrines and once they are in place we are free to think and speak and act anyway we deem is necessary in order to maintain the life we have come to love. And again, please understand that we have come to love our own lives.
Rev.12: 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Stop. Think. Meditate. Consider. Pray. Inquire. Seek. Wonder. Open your eyes and your ears. Look around. This is not Christianity at all. This is a religion called “America” and it has millions of members. Its apostles are the founding fathers. Its Bible is the Constitution. Its Easter is the 4th of July. Its enemies are sinners or unpatriotic citizens or Muslims. And in this religion you can believe in whatever god you chose. You can believe in Joseph Smith’s god, or Ayn Rand’s god, or Donald Trump’s god, or Bill O’Reilly’s god, or Rush Limbaugh’s god, or you can believe in no god at all. As long as you believe in America you are a brother in the faith. It is no longer about the redemption of sinners. It is about the rejection of sinners. It is our inalienable right!
If that is the religion you desire then it is ready and waiting. It is practiced at most local establishments. But please, if you use the word “Christian” make sure you add an asterisk like this – Christian*.
*Warning! This form of the faith continues to evolve. We experienced a major move of God a little over two hundred years ago. We actually believe the New Testament words if they remain in their rightful place – the printed page. You are welcome to join us and feel the intoxicating effects of the condemnation of sinners as well as our complete commitment to ourselves. We love our own lives and are real proud of it!