Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Cure for a Darkened Heart & a Depraved Mind


 I read a story this week about a 25 year old woman in Pakistan who was stoned to death (via bricks) by a crowd of 20 men, many of which were her relatives...her brothers, her cousin, AND HER FATHER. 

Her supposed crime was that she was choosing to elope with the man she loved rather than marry the groom chosen by her family.  In their eyes her actions were unforgiveable and would have brought shame and disgrace upon the family.  Her father later admitted to killing his own daughter and expressed no regret stating, “I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.”

Regardless of cultural or religious differences, it's hard to even fathom that any father could so brutally kill his own daughter. 

As I read the article and reflected upon the horror of it all, the only words that I feel appropriately describe her father's action and attitude are HEARTLESS & RUTHLESS.

And I asked myself, how does one become so unapologetically heartless and ruthless?

I recently studied the second half of Romans chapter 1 in which Paul writes about individuals whose hearts are darkened and whose minds are depraved as a result of exchanging the truth of God for a lie and worshipping anything and everything but Him.  As these individuals willfully suppress God's truth, they become filled with every kind of wickedness...heartless and ruthless attitudes and behaviors included. 


 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The Message version translates it this way:

28-32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!

In the original Greek, heartless means without love or affection; brutal.  The word ruthless means without mercy, lacking compassion, unconcerned with the plight of others.

To be so utterly heartless and ruthless to his own daughter, there is no doubt in my mind that the heart and mind of this Pakistani father is depraved.  He has exchanged truth for a lie and worships himself.  And worst of all, just like the Scripture teaches, he shows no remorse for his wicked actions.

Yet before I judge this father entirely, this verse (and the previous verse in Romans 1) remind me that any time I worship and serve anything other than my Creator God I am making myself vulnerable to a depraved mind in which any of the 21 vices listed could ensnare me. 

When I worship myself, my relationship with Keith is full of strife.  When I worship success, my actions are arrogant, boastful, and greedy.  When I worship the perfect female body image, my mind and actions are senseless and envious (and sometimes even slanderous toward other female body types).  When I worship humans, desperate to please man, my mind and actions are deceitful and senseless.  And yes, when I worship "religion," my mind and actions are sometimes even heartless and ruthless toward those who aren't as "holy as I am." 

Bottom line:  When we exchange the truth of God for a lie & worship and serve created things, our hearts will become darkened and our minds will become depraved.  And when this happens, we will absolutely do "what we ought not to do."

Sometimes we cannot believe the wicked actions of others, but we mustn't forget that there is "no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).  We ALL need the saving grace of Jesus to pierce our darkened heart with His light and to heal our depraved minds with His truth.

Our kids need Jesus just like anybody else, just like that Pakistani father.  I'd like to pray for their hearts and minds today.  Will you join me?

Jesus,

I pray my kids would consider it worthwhile to know You.  I pray they would not suppress the truth nor exchange it for a lie.  Would you draw them to Yourself and fill that hole in their heart that longs for meaning and purpose.  May they faithfully serve and worship You, and You alone.  I pray You would protect them from the slippery slope of idolatry.  May their hearts never become so darkened and their minds never so depraved that they become full of every kind of wickedness.  And Lord, when they do struggle to keep You at the center of their hearts, may You open their eyes to the depravity of sin.  May they trust that obedience to You brings freedom and peace like nothing this world has to offer.

 

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