What the Bible does at its base is deliver a simple message of grace, salvation and righteous life that is not difficult to understand. Sure, there are complexities within aspects of certain themes in the Bible, yet the basic message of the Bible is simple: While we were still sinners Christ died for us (Ro. 5:8). The Bible seems to become more difficult to understand when some of the shadows of our world cast their lot on biblical truth—directly at times but more often our minds are simply distracted by counter-messaging by the world in sights, sounds and words that sound innocent but are damaging to a worldview centered around God and His truth that causes our transformation rather than our conformity. The following are examples of the worlds efforts to play on our sensibilities, emotions and even our ignorance at times.

Pictured here is a coffee mug designed to be a gift from a husband to his wife and it reads, in part: “To my wife. I didn’t marry you so I could live with you. I married you because I can not live without you… I just want to be your last everything.” Aww how sweet. Call me cynical but come on, really? And I was once a young man who even wrote poetry to try and lasso the young lady I’m married to today. The truth is… reading between these lines at a husband’s subtext of emotion are the words: “When I die, I want you to feel so miserable that you won’t live without me.” Shoot, he’s more morbid than I am cynical. The truth is… within the man delivering this coffee is likely the self-talk of loneliness and toxicity of passing it on to the family to whom he ministers. The truth is… as a godly, loving husband the first commission of my calling is to pour out of myself living water for my wife and family to consume (Jhn 7:38). If I do this then I’ll someday leave my wife so eternally fulfilled that she will never, ever feel alone. I know that if I was gone my wife and children would miss me. My job, therefore, is to be the kind of man that inspires them to say, “Now that was dad, talking about Jesus all the time.” In my fallen nature I’d like my wife to be just a little miserable without me but the truth that I should be living and passing on should inspire my wife say, “Every walk we took at sunset moved us further from lonely and closer to home with the Christ.”

How about this one: “Forgiveness: It’s not because they deserve it; it’s because you do. Sometimes forgiveness is about loving yourself enough to move on” (stevemaraboli.com). I mean… OK, some will disagree with me but as a discipleship-counselor I’ve begun telling people, “Stop trying to forgive yourself. Forgiveness takes a minimum of two and should take three: You, them and God.” I don’t think it is splitting hairs for me to delineate between “forgiving myself” and accepting God’s forgiveness. Forgiving myself is just giving myself a pass while accepting it is letting go of guilt with the permission of the offended. Forgiveness was embodied by Christ and His Spirit in us is now not just our ability to forgive but the only avenue on which forgiveness gives way to new life. So, take out your Bible’s and pour into these sister-scriptures: 1 Peter 4, Romans 12, and end with the following.

The truth is…

“… Christ is all, and in all. 12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. 14In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity…  17Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
(Col. 3:11-14,17 NASB 2020).