29 June 2010

Desperate Choices

When I worked in public safety I never understood why women would dial 9-1-1 and ask for help because their husband, boyfriend, and/or baby daddy was beating them and then beat the officers to the jail to post bail for their man. Often they were there before the booking process had begun. And then I became an instant single parent and I got it. "He may beat me on Friday night but Monday there will be food on the table to feed my kids." Choices of desperation.

When I worked at a Christian university I never understood why parents would pay outrageous sums of money in tuition to send their adult children to a Christian school that they wanted no part of attending. They had no intention of taking their education seriously, especially their spiritual education. Then my kids became young adults and made choices not to follow or believe in God and I got it. Mom and Dad are willing to pay big bucks to expose their beloved offspring to a little bit of Jesus...hoping that faith will rub off on them and they will live in obedience. Again, choices of desperation.

I once took a call as a volunteer firefighter. It was so long ago that it was before 9-1-1. A woman called the firehouse screaming and begging for help. Her ex-boyfriend couldn't deal with her decision to break up with him. He was parked in front of her home, he handcuffed his arm to his steering wheel, doused himself with gasoline and promised to use the lighter in his hand if she wouldn't agree to come back to him. She lived in a rural area, she was terrified and needed help. While she was on the phone to me I could hear the explosion. He wanted to control her and when she refused to let him, he gave her something to remember for the rest of her life. His final choice was desperation. A desperate attempt to prove he had the power.

Desperation and logic seldom travel together. It isn't impossible but it is unusual to see them working together congruently. Extreme emotion seldom allows itself to be bridled and contained. It demands expression and notice. It looks for a quick pressure relief valve and bubbles to the surface using character flaws and besetting sins to find freedom. My professors taught me that the situations of life don't cause our behavior, they are merely the context that allows the content of our hearts to be seen. When you squeeze a sponge and dirty water comes out, it's not the pressure that made the water dirty. The dirt was there to begin with.

When King David saw Bathsheba bathing he could have averted his eyes but he allowed himself a moment to admire a beautiful woman. That admiration turned to coveting, which turned to adultery which led him to make choices of desperation and a man was sent to his death. A man who was loyal and true, literally serving King David with his life- Uriah the Hittite was dead in an attempt to cover David's sin. What if the story ended there? What if Nathan had never come and exposed David's sin? Perhaps Psalm 51 would never have been written. How sad that would be for all of us who have found ourselves face down, repenting of sin and crying out for a new heart. It's really speculation but the point is a worthy one. Without Nathan's confrontation of David, who knows if repentance would have ever followed? Who knows what other choices of desperation would have been made before David did repent.

The topic of Liberty University and Dr. Caner is already all over the net and my blog has been no exception. It is amazing to me that so many would rush to defend the nonsensical statement made by Liberty and see it as exonerating Dr. Caner. Now I see on Face Book that Dr. Norman Geisler has stated publicly that he "totally supports" Dr. Caner. I can only shake my head. First of all, what makes Dr. Geisler think that those who have confronted Dr. Caner and are asking him to be accountable before God for the things he has said are not supporting him? It is more loving to confront someone in sin than to pat them on the back and tell them, "It's OK, we all misspeak from time to time." Dr. Geisler says that Dr. Caner has corrected his statements. Where? I would love to see them and post them on my blog for everyone to see.

I honestly can't comprehend why this situation is so difficult for so many. Why can't those defending Dr. Caner understand the magnitude of the offense of a man misleading people from a pulpit? Listen to Dr. White spell it out for you on this Dividing Line. Try to bridle your emotions and listen to what he says without presupposing his agenda. Why is it so hard to understand that there is no animosity in confronting him. Quite the contrary, a call to repentance is a loving act. When you call sin what it is, there is a solution to it in the Word. There is no solution for mistakes and misstatements. What's more, desperate choices get bigger and more desperate until and unless repentance occurs. Read the desperation in Psalm 38 and the beautiful plea for repentance in Psalm 51. That's the kind of desperation I pray for Dr. Caner and us all.

Psalm 51:10-17
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 {Then} I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; {then} my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise.
16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
(NAS)

6 comments:

Ex N1hilo said...

Amen and amen.

Paul Burleson said...

This is absolutely one of the sanest, clearest, insightful, biblically astute blog posts I've read in some time. Thank you and may your tribe increase.

rosemarie said...

Paul- Thank you for your kind words. I have been blessed to be taught by men and women of God who weren't afraid to tell me the truth nor were they afraid to confront me in my sin. I didn't much like it then but I am so grateful now. Confrontation, conviction and repentance are such wonderful gifts.

John Fariss said...

Very well thought out, very well said. It brings to my mind a comment from my Old Testament professor in seminary many years ago. Someone asked him about his grading scale for tests (he had a reputation for very hard tests). He answered that if someone "faithfully regurgitated" the information he gave them, that was average work, and was worthy of a "C". He added that if they "faithfully regurgitated" what he taught plus "integrated into it their own life experiences," he knew they were really engaging the material, so that was worthy of a "B". The student then asked, "What do I have to do to get an "A"? "An 'A'?" came the reply. "To get an 'A' you'll have to do all that PLUS say it in such a way that when I read it, I say, 'Wow! I wish I had of said it that way'." He hesitated, then added, "Of course, I give very few A's."

Rosemary, you are worthy of an "A".

John Fariss

rosemarie said...

Thank you, John. You're far too kind. I read your profile and perhaps we both relate to the desperate choices folks make that end up needing public safety interventions.

nada said...

Amen, great post. I'm going to be checking out Today on the Dividing Line, and you keep up the great work Rosemarie! I'm going to link your blog on my site.

Stacy Harp