There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

disrobing depravity

I grew up in a very typical Midwest Methodist home, where there wasn’t a lot of hugging and kissing. My life has been a response to that.” –Hugh Hefner, founder and CEO of Playboy Magazine.

You might say that our depravity expresses itself most clearly in how we either shift blame elsewhere for our actions or at least minimize our own contribution to what we’ve done. I know in my soul that when confronted with my absence of integrity, my first response is to look for a scapegoat, or to minimize the significance of my action. So depravity is kind of like the chameleon that wants to blend in and have everyone believe it isn’t really there. It lurks; it slinks, but it doesn’t want to be found.


  Small Groups Nazi wrote @

Hefner’s comment is similar to the reaction of one who goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. “The cancer is a response to my genetic makeup.” One might say. But do you not treat the cancer, no matter what the supposed cause may be?

It occurs to me that we get so accustomed to our own depravity that we don’t really even notice it anymore. Like the Psalmist cries to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Ps 139:23-24). God must be allowed to exam us, seek out where we are ill, and purge the depravity from our lives. We are diseased, and the symptoms are so much a part of our physical make-up that often they must be pointed out to us before we are able to recognize them.

~Bonnie L.

  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

“We are diseased, and the symptoms are so much a part of our physical make-up that often they must be pointed out to us before we are able to recognize them.”

so how do you foster a community whose members are willing to have such things “pointed out” to them and are willing to do the pointing out–but in a such a way that it doesn’t devolve into a rebuke-fest where somehow love gets sacrificed for the sake of enforcing holiness? (sorry for the run-on) That’s the kind of community we’d want, but one that continually eludes us.

  Bonnie wrote @

Hmmm… I haven’t even begun in my quest to answer that question. This is a huge issue. From my perspective, we want Biblical community (which I believe is a “correct” desire, derived from a healthy, Scriptural view) but what does that look like? How do you show tough love without being tough to love? Hebrews 10 asserts that we must “stimulate” (NASB) or “stir up” (ESV) one another toward love and good deeds (v. 24). While in verse 25 it says we are also to meet together and encourage.

My thought recently is that the answer may lie in the model proposed in Galatians. 5:22ff asserts the fruit of the Spirit, and our need to “live by the Spirit.” I don’t think it’s coincidence that Paul follows this passage with instruction in 6:1 to restore, in a “spirit of gentleness” (referring back to 5:22?), those “caught in a trespass.”

Paul repeatedly asserts that sanctification is both personal and corporate. But has anyone ever seen a working community model of corporate sanctification? What does this look like? Is the concept far too idealistic to actually work in a society steeped in post-modernity? The more that I try to work through this concept it seems I come up with far more questions than answers. Any thoughts that could help me out of my quandry?

  Forky wrote @

Actually, Patrick, that wasn’t a run-on sentence. It was just long.

A run on sentence would be one like this can you see where this became a run-on sentence I’m sure you can.

I’m a little confused. From the post anyway, it seems to me that it’s a matter of understanding why we do the things we do–then deciding whether or not we want to do something about it.

Now if you’re talking about becoming (and I mean this in a good way) behavior police, well. That’s tough because nowadays nobody wants to judge anybody else or be seen as a party pooper.

  Seth wrote @

I think it’s definitely our responsibility to lovingly confront our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ. But I think it’s important to remember we are commanded to do all things in Love. (“For he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. -Romans 5:8. And “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” -Romans 5:10)

To dovetail with the topic at hand, Paul also says in 1 Cor 5:12, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”

I think from that verse (although he’s referring more to troublemakers and those living in sin) it’s clear that we have a responsibility to encourage others towards Christ. And to also understand our need for Christ and to humbly accept the words (whether in Love or not) of our fellow believers (and even those non-believers who are aware of our sin!).

  Seth wrote @

This post has been removed by the author.

  Lindsay wrote @

At Baylor, my freshman year, I heard Dudley Callison or Callahan (not sure which one is his last name)speak about this subject and he said something that has continually spoken to me….that before you can confront someone with their sin, you must mourn and cry for it yourself-that it affects you that deeply that you know that your own caring is not self-interested but rather with deep care and concern, as I would interpret approaching an illness that must be faced and healed. I greatly feel that the problems we face in this arena are due to the fact that we carelessly confront without thought, concentration, or prayer–if we are to speak, maybe it should be with the same lovingkindness of God and aversion to petty judgment.

My questions are often what justifies this type of “pointing out”? When a friend just needs a friend, and someone to accept them as they are, how do you step in with your two cents when an ear is the major need?

Hi from DC! Saw the blog and thought it was super cool. Miss you guys!! -Lindsay

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