Our Culture Doesn’t Believe in Sin Anymore: It’s Too Politically Incorrect and Judgmental

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t think they weren’t a “good person”. The default seems to be comparing oneself to another person who has committed worse offenses: “Well, at least I’m not an ax murderer…”

My observation is that people subconsciously continually convince themselves they are not “bad” by referring to another person who makes them look like a saint, in comparison.

Clearly, people recognize that good and evil exists in the world. So therefore, there must be good and bad people in the world, as well.

But as Michael Jackson profoundly asked back in his 1987 follow-up to Thriller, Who’s bad?

Christianity differs in ideology from the “I’m a good person” concept that our culture seems to accept as the norm.

Christianity teaches that we were all born with a sinful nature; or as Metallica put it in the title track from their 2016 album, we are “hardwired to self-destruct“.

In other words, none of us, not one, is a good person. Instead, we are all sinners.

Who’s bad? We all are.

We were all born this way. We all have our own sinful instincts to manage.

As individuals, we all have what I call our own “sin personalities”.

Some people struggle with certain issues that other people never do.

So it becomes easy to notice other people’s sins that are different from our own, as a way to make ourselves feel better about our own “lesser” sins.

And that simply brings us to one of the most obvious sins that the Bible warns against:

Pride.

But in today’s culture, to acknowledge sin is becoming perceived as politically incorrect and/or judgmental.

When we start recognizing what specifically constitutes as sin, it makes people feel uncomfortable.

Even adultery, which is included in the Ten Commandments, is now being excused by our culture:

“Well, they were really unhappy in their marriage so…”

To me, sin is sin. I don’t care which particular sin it is: I don’t believe in discriminating against another person or group of people because their sins are different than mine.

Instead, I recognize my own sins. To focus on other people’s sins instead of my own would be that sin I mentioned earlier: Pride.

We were all born this way. We all have our own sinful instincts to manage.

But to deny that sin exists… what does that do to our perception of God?

If sin doesn’t exist, because we’re all good people anyway, then we have no reason to be saved from our own destructive sinful nature; here in this life or what comes after it.

As for me, I’m not a good person. I’m a sinner.

I’m a sinner who is crazy enough to believe that Jesus was the only perfect person to live on this Earth and that by believing in Him, my soul can be saved from God’s judgment.

Yes, that might sound ridiculous. I’ll go ahead and call myself a fool for believing it.

But to believe that I am a good person, simply because my sins are different from other people’s, is more ridiculous to me.

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Dear Jack: Tonight was the Night You Prayed to Jesus to Tell Him You Believe in Him

7 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Today has officially become one of the most important days of your life. Just less than an hour ago, you prayed to Jesus, officially telling Him what you’ve been growing to understand and believe for these past couple of years:

That you believe Jesus is God’s son and that He died on the cross for your sins and came back to life to give us eternal life, and to give us hope in this life on Earth in the meantime.

You prayed to God telling him you want to life your life to please Him and help other people.

I will never forget this day. This means so much to me.

Though I knew you have been heading towards to this moment for the past year or so, I had no idea today would be the day. I felt it was important that this was your decision, not mine that I was making for you.

You and I had spent most of the day together, as we made the trip to Nashville to go see the monster trucks at Monster Jam. It was funny because for a nearly hour-long drive, we didn’t say a word to each other.

We just contemplated life and enjoyed the lack of responsibility or conversation, as I played Dierks Bentley’s Riser CD through the stereo. (You had requested Johnny Cash, but my iPod battery was dead.)

But by the time we got to the monster truck show, you came alive. We started talking and enjoying our time together one-on-one.

By the end of the day, I think the fact we had our quality time together as father and son made somewhat of a special impact on you, because you specifically asked me to read to you from your children’s Bible when it was time for bed.

After I read to you the story about how Jesus explained to Nicodemus he must be born again, it led to you asking a series of seemingly random questions about God and Jesus and good people and bad people and what Heaven will be like for people who believe in Jesus and who live their lives for Him.

Then I immediately felt compelled to say to you, “How long have you known and believed that Jesus is God’s son who died for us?”

You just smiled and shrugged, saying, “I’ve just always believed that, haven’t I? Just maybe not when I was a baby…”

Right then, I knelt down at your bed and explained, “The Bible says when we believe, we should say it out loud. I can help you pray that right now if you want me to.”

(I was referring to Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”)

You seemed grateful for the offer. You smiled and said, “Sure!”

So I guided you through a simple prayer and then answered a series of legitimate follow-up questions like, “Do I have to be baptized, though?”

I then explained that it’s the way you officially share with the world what you believe, but that when you are ready, to let me know and I’ll get it all set up with our church.

It’s interesting how you’ve made this decision almost exactly 30 years after I did. For me, it was just a few weeks before Christmas 1987, when I was in 1st grade myself.

This night has instantly become one of the most rewarding moments for me as a parent.

Years of bedtime Bible stories and Sunday mornings at our church and praying before our meals and having unscheduled conversations about God has finally brought us to this fateful point in your life.

Oh, and a monster truck show, too. I guess that somehow set the course of events, as well.

This is your story.

I love you so much.

Love,

Daddy

New Book: Unstoppable God by Tracy Goodwin (Which Answers the Question, “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?”)

I met her back in April when my son was invited to her son’s 6th birthday party. Then just a few weeks later, when our sons both won achievement awards in their Kindergarten class, I needed a seat in the bleachers for my wife and I as the ceremony was about to begin. It was then that Tracy Goodwin mentioned to me that she had a book coming out this summer; about how it’s a miracle she’s even alive.

Flash forward to last weekend, as our family was driving back from visiting my parents in Alabama. My wife sat in the passenger seat, reading Tracy’s book, Unstoppable God. Meanwhile, I drove up Monteagle Mountain with tears in my eyes; tears which I hid from my wife.

It is impossible to hear Tracy’s story and not be grateful. I think Unstoppable God is an instant cure for anyone is starting to feel jaded, asking the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Tracy’s book is, by default, the answer to that question.

To see Tracy with her wonderful family, you just would never guess what all she has been through. It is always inspiring to see a person choose to praise God during times others would question or curse God.

Unstoppable God is not a book about Tracy Goodwin. It is a book about how God worked through a person’s life who refused to give up on Him.

Like I always say, you have to either choose to victorious or you end up allowing yourself to become a victim.

Tracy chose to be victorious, through God’s divine intervention. Had she chosen to see herself as a victim, I don’t know that she would still be alive to tell her amazing story of overcoming impossible odds.

I am so grateful Tracy shared her story with me.

And to the first person who leaves a comment on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog advertising this post, you will receive a copy of Unstoppable God, as well!

Dear Jack: You Now Volunteer to Say the Prayer before Dinner

6 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

You have made me so proud this week. Tuesday night as our family held hands at the dinner table, I was just about to pray to thank God for our food and for our family, when you stopped me:

“Daddy, can I say the prayer tonight?”

I was definitely caught off guard, but I replied without missing a beat: “Of course you can, man.”

You went straight into it…

“Thank You God for this food we eat. Thank You God for the birds that sing. Thank You God for everything.”

That instantly became one of my favorite moments of being your Daddy, so far.

I pray for your soul. I want you to truly know God and how much He loves you.

We read Bible stories together. Our family goes to church, which you always enjoy; they have a really good children’s program there.  The free donuts surely help, too…

I want you to fundamentally understand in both your head and your heart what it means to love Jesus. And I know how important it is that I lead by example.

So it really means a lot to me that with no prior discussion, with no pressure beforehand on my end, with no attempt to get you to pray before dinner, you decided on your own this is something you wanted to do.

You have also volunteered to pray for our meal for the past two nights as well.

There are so many things that go through my head when I think of all I feel responsible for in raising you.

I want to make sure you feel loved. I want to make sure you have fun. I want to make sure you get a great education. I want to make sure you’re an adventurous, yet disciplined boy.

But I especially feel responsible for you wanting to please God.

Seeing you want to pray for our family’s dinner gives me a special, priceless confirmation that I wasn’t expecting so early on.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

6 months.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Dear Holly,

This past weekend while Nonna and Papa were in town for Jack’s 6th Birthday, as well as Papa’s 60th birthday, it just happened to also be when our church had its Baby Dedication Day. It was a very special time for our family- and for you.

Mommy and I acknowledged in front of our church, The Bridge in Spring Hill, TN, and in front of God, that we will do our best to raise you in a home where you see the love of Christ and where you know the ways of the Lord.

Obviously, we are imperfect parents. We have our flaws. We will fail at times.

But we have a special eternal hope and joy in Jesus. You are undeniably being raised in a Christian household- and the ceremony of the Baby Dedication makes that publically official.

Even your middle name, Joy, is based on our Christian faith; choosing to find joy in life.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Our faith is beyond going to a building once a week. Our faith is built on loving others as ourselves. How can we love God if we don’t love each other?

Mommy and I see you as a gift from the Lord. We are responsible to God for you.

Specifically, as your earthly father, I am well aware of the important role I play in being your spiritual leader.

Our church gave you a children’s Bible, as well as, a special letter to open on the day of your salvation.

http://bridgesh.com/

Just like I do with your brother’s children’s Bible that my Grandma gave me, I will be reading bedtime stories to you from this new children’s Bible. I am very proud to raise you in the Christian faith.

You are more than just a beautiful little girl. You are a soul to be nurtured.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

@howertonjosh

Dear Jack: My Grandma is in Heaven Now

5 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: My Grandma is in Heaven Now

Dear Jack,

Last weekend, our family traveled to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama so that we could attend the visitation and funeral for my Grandma; Delores “Lola” Gonzales Metallo.

Our family most recently visited her just a few of months ago in July, which made the 2nd time she was able to meet Holly.

Then the following month, while you were staying at Nonna and Papa’s house for a week of “summer camp,” you visited Grandma again.

I’m so glad you got to have that one last special visit with her. Nonna sent me this picture of the two of you, which she took with her phone:

“Special visit with Grandma. A sweet bond between a 5 1/2 yr old Great Grandson with his 81 yr old Great-Grandmother. Grandma had an old movie playing on her TV and Jack loved it. Grandma was soooo happy. She loved hearing about Jack but especially the movies he was getting to go see.”

But as of last Thursday morning, at age 81, she passed on to Heaven. No more pain or suffering for her.

One of the first things that came to mind when I heard this was the children’s Bible I read to you each night before you go to bed.

Grandma gave it to me as a Christmas gift in 1988, nearly 30 years ago. In the front of it, she wrote, “With all my love!”

Dear Jack: My Grandma is in Heaven Now

Grandma was known for her love of dogs, her ability to perfectly iron a shirt, her obsession with possible upcoming bad weather, and her fascination with anything Biblical.

She undeniably had a great effect on me developing my faith in Jesus. I think it’s so cool that I get to teach you from the same Bible she gave me.

During the visitation the day before her funeral, I really enjoyed hearing the stories from people who I didn’t know well, but who knew stories about her that I never knew.

It was much more a time of celebration than it was a time of mourning. She lived a long, full life. She got to meet all 4 of her great-grandchildren before she passed, of which your the first.

I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for her influence on my life. She was there every birthday, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, and every time our family got together; each year of my entire life.

Dear Jack: My Grandma is in Heaven Now

She meant a lot to me, obviously. And I know for a fact that she really loved you a lot.

We will see her again, though. This is not goodbye.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You are a “Fearfully Made” Gift from God

1 week.

Dear Holly: You are a “Fearfully Made” Gift from God

Dear Holly,

When you were born just a week and a half ago and I got to hold you for the first time, one of the immediate thoughts in my mind was this: How could anyone hold a perfect, innocent newborn and not sense God?

I know you were “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God. You are not simply the aftermath of a cosmic explosion billions of years ago.

I know God wove you in Mommy’s womb. You are more than just science.

You were created, beyond just your parents.

To be “fearfully made” means that we respectfully recognize God’s achievement and creativity in your existence.

As your parents, we could never simply say, “This is our child. We brought her into this world.”  It will always be much more complex than that, because God knew you before He ever wove you in the womb.

We recognize that children are a heritage from the Lord. You being here in this world is so much more epic than a Mommy and a Daddy deciding to have a baby.

Now, imagine this. You were born into a family where this all information will be intertwined into our family’s lifestyle and culture.

Dear Holly: You are a “Fearfully Made” Gift from God

Knowing that this same God who knew you before Mommy and I ever did, it’s only logical that our family is to serve Him through our lives, something we can’t do without loving our neighbors as ourselves.

And how can we love our neighbors, or even ourselves, if we can’t love our own family?

What that means to me as your Daddy is that I’ve got a particular responsibility to teach you to love. Of course, there is no better way to teach you to love than to demonstrate love to you and in front of you, along with Mommy and your brother.

Struggle will always be present in life, but it’s a matter of how we choose to deal with it as it comes. We as a family can make a daily choice to be more than conquerors, though God’s love.

So I will lead our family to choose to be victors, instead of victims. We will make a choice to do what is often unnatural to the human experience, in attempt to love each other and to love God.

Here’s a little cheat sheet I crafted to remind me:

Victors versus Victims

Victor: compliments others

Victim: criticizes others

Victor: embraces change

Victim: fears change

Victor: forgives others

Victim: holds grudges

Victor: always learning

Victim: thinks they know everything

Victor: accepts responsibility for their failures

Victim: blames others for their failures

Victor: has a sense of gratitude

Victim: has a sense of entitlement

Victor: sets goals and develops plans

Victim: never sets goals

We will be conscious of these things. We will be conscious of our responsibility to love and serve the God who fearfully and wonderfully made us.

This is the family you were born into…

We are a family where we will choose for love to be patient and kind, where it does not envy or boast, where it is not proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered.

We will choose a love that keeps no record of wrongs. We will choose a love that not to delight in evil.

We will choose a love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Because if we choose this kind of love, we will choose a love that never fails.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You are a “Fearfully Made” Gift from God