Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yes, Virginia, in Such a World As This, Negatives Are Very Necessary!

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:23-28

"Always be positive -- be an upbeat person -- have a perpetual smile on your face -- do as the song of long ago exhorts, 'Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative...!'"

Many are the voices that broadcast the "positive" message in our culture. Books by the ton have been mass produced on the subject. Not a few church leaders and pastors make no secret of the fact that being "positive" on a 24/7 basis is the only way to go.

Is there a place for negatives in today's world? As I mentioned one time in communicating with a TV news anchor person who told me I was too negative -- I said to him, "Negatives are necessary in our world -- try starting your car sometime without a negative post on your battery!"

An honest search and evaluation of the holy Scriptures will reveal quite a bit of "negative" material!

God is portrayed as a God Who can either be very positive or very negative depending on the response we humans make to His call to repent of our sins and receive His forgiveness, which for 2,000 years has been graciously offered through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Let's honestly face it for once -- God was pretty negative when He wiped out the world with a flood a long time ago with only 8 people surviving -- and He was quite negative when He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, was He not?

If you dare, read slowly and ponder long on the messages of the Old Testament prophets -- a lot of very negative stuff is found in their statements.

But why did they so often talk a "negative" talk? The answer is really quite simple -- they lived in times of ethical, moral, and spiritual corruption. God called them to denounce the wickedness of their generations and to declare the need to repent and turn to God. Much more often than not the response was a negative -- "We will continue in our sin, and if God doesn't like it, that's tough -- we like things just the way they are with no changes being made in the way we now live!"

The best summary of the pattern is seen in 2 Chronicles 36 -- God's compassion (a very positive thing) -- His urgent appeal -- rejection of the appeal by the citizens and their religious and political leaders -- finally the crossing over the line -- and then judgment by God, which proved to be a very "negative" experience of the first magnitude!

More tragic than that historical event is the fact that the very same pattern is being repeated in a republic known as the United States of America!

Strangely, there are church leaders who, in their great emphasis on being "positive," attempt to point to Jesus as the One Who was very "positive" -- you know, all love and compassion all the time. Have you looked at Matthew 23 lately? And note especially that His remarks were directed toward the religious "elite" of the day.

Jesus also referred to King Herod as a "fox" -- a label which was not intended to be complimentary! Are political leaders deserving of such a negative term?

So long as our nation and the world of which it is a small part continue in their present courses of direction there will be a critical need for "negatives."

That's the way it is, Virginia, whether you like it or not!

"Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." --- Isaiah 58:1

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