Generation Cedar

I read the first chapter of Job to my children this morning…again. I love the book for many reasons and its richness amazes me each time I read it again.

This morning I was drawn to the character of Job and it challenged me.

Job is characterized by two things and it is mentioned twice in the first chapter:

“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”

and again:

“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ “

Some versions describe Job as “a man of absolute integrity who feared God and avoided evil”.

It struck me how counter-culture this description is. We live in a day that so idolizes tolerance and misrepresents the character of God that to even use language like “evil” is considered “quacky Christian”. Worse than that, “evil” is no longer defined by what God has said it is, but rather, what our definition is. And as such, “evil” ceases to even exist because, well, that’s really too mean of a word anyway. But God praises the men who recognize evil and shun it.

Why are we so quick to let the popular consensus determine our theology? “God hates evil and so should we” is just not en vogue anymore and so we neatly skip over it.

But God makes the rules and He esteems those who shun evil and shuns those who love evil. Shouldn’t we be about the business of figuring out what it is He hates and become haters of it too, and figuring out what He loves and become lovers of the same? Is it really so controversial?

“Lord, let it be said of us that we possess ‘perfect integrity, fearing Him and avoiding evil’.”

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32 Responses

  1. Brilliant post, Kelly.

    Interestingly, I had a dream about you and your fam just this morning. I was visiting and talking with you and all your kids, who seemed so mature, inside your new finished house. I remarked at how it seemed like nothing had been touched (physically or otherwise) by any tornado or storm, and how you’d all survived my worst nightmare. A peaceful feeling 🙂

  2. Excellent points. And I was struck by verses 20 and 21: “Then Job…fell down upon the ground, and worshipped…”

    Wow, WORSHIPPED! In response to losing virtually everything and everyone the Lord had blessed him with! “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Would that I would be so rooted in the Lord that worship would be my early response to suffering!

    Thanks for this post today…very challenging and edifying.

  3. I suppose most of it depends on how you define ‘evil’ and ‘shunning’. Every Christian group is going to have a different version of evil and how to shun it.

  4. Really, Jennifer? Is it that clear?

    This blog speaks of the evils taught in public schools. However, Kelly grants that there are “special” circumstances that allow for moms to send their kids to public schools- if they are single and have to work, or if their husbands don’t support homeschooling.

    So, here’s a situation that’s not so clearly defined. Is public school “evil?” Or are only components of public school evil- such as the teaching of evolution in science class, a random teacher’s liberal rant against Bush in history class, the teaching of inappropriate novels in English. Does this smattering of “evil” taint the whole system? (Galatians 5:9) And if public school is really evil, how can even a single mom participating in such evil be tolerated?

    Life is NOT always black and white. Evil is not always clearly defined. Even for Christians.

    1. The Bible is Very Clear on what is Evil. We can see evil around us.We are to love the things God live righteous lives and to Love People! I have to address the issue of “Is Public School Evil”..I went to public school..I am not an evil person..A mom is NOT
      and evil person if her child goes to public school..There are evil things that can happen in public school..or anywhere for that matter..the store..the home..the church..or anywhere. I think the big question is..”What does God Say about evil”..It’s in his book..Praying that everyone here has a Blessed Day today!!

        1. The Bible is not mysterious, God made the Bible very clear to the common man. Evil is spelled out in black and white. In fact God tell us to “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Rom. 12:9), therefore we need to only open up the Book and read what God wants us to abhor (hate) and what to cleave to.

          Romans 1:21-32 is a long passage to copy here, but some of the specific evil described therein includes:
          Dishonor to our own bodies, changing God’s truths into lies, worshipping the creation more than the Creator, changing the natural use of our bodies, unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.

          Galatians 5 talks about the specifics of evil as well:
          “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:”

          God has listed evils in Mark 7, Matthew 15, and other places as well.

          And just in case the lists of evil are not clear, God gives is a list of things opposite to evil (Galatians):
          “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

          It’s so good, let’s keep going, “ And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

          If there is a question of whether or not a specific act is evil, then God gave us this verse:
          “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:22

          I’m not trying to brow beat anyone. But I thought I’d write out the list of evils, (for those people who are like me and don’t take the time to look up verses referenced), just to remind us how “black and white” the God’s Word is.

    2. I think a case can be made for what is objectively evil (say, breaking the Ten Commandments) and subjectively sin (eating meat sacrificed to idols or not).

      You cannot subjectively say that because you are in a bad marriage, adultery is OK for you; nor can you say objectively your brother is sinning because he in his weakness chooses one educational system over another. The stronger is to bear with the weaker and not cause him to stumble.

  5. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Hating evil, being lukewarm. Especially how it relates to the church body. Your post help meld my thoughts together. Thanks!

  6. Love the book of Job, we can learn so much from this historical account. Great thoughts, Kelly. May we, as Christ followers, be in this world and not of it! 🙂

  7. Great thoughts! I’ve been mulling over similar ones, myself, recently. Just wondering how you all are doing, and how the new house rebuilding is coming along. I get a sense that there is much peace where you are right now!

  8. My 19 yr old step daughter just moved back in with us, pregnant, unmarried, and tells us she is a lesbian. Everyone (including Hubby, pastors and friends that I before thought were very stand up Christians) get upset with me, because I tell her flat out, that she is sinning and she needs to repent and that being gay is EVIL, it stated it clearly in the Bible. It is a sin, therefore a choice, not something you just are… and therefore something that you can turn away from.

    I constantly tell her that just like God loves her no matter what, we love her no matter what. But I can not sit by and watch her sin against God with evil intent, without telling her the truth. Others have told her, “that as long as she is happy…. God forgives everything…as long as you ask forgiveness it’s ok… Soddom and Gomorrah were in the OLD testament, not the new so that doesn’t apply to today! Don’t take the Bible Literally, it’s just a baseline”… Christians who are telling people it’s ok to sin, as long as your happy, and you ask for forgiveness… nothing said about TRUE repentance. it’s so sad. I feel like I am the only one around that sees what is happening today, and hates it! Thanks for this post… I don’t feel so alone anymore!

    1. Katie,

      My heart hurts for you and your family. The world SCREAMS lies to our kids and sometimes it’s loud and sometimes it’s subtle. It’s Spiritual Warfare. When our oldest daughter went through a very rebellious period, I was afraid for her. I PRAYED long and hard for the Lord to protect her. She had some things happen in her life that began to waken her up. There is nothing wrong with you speaking the Truth to your daughter…Then I would recommend (and you may all ready be doing this)…Show Her That You All Love Her More Then Anyone Else In This World!!!…Even when you don’t feel like it..there were plenty of times I didn’t feel like it..Help other children in the home to see this as the spiritual warfare that it is.Help them to forgive her..forgive her..That doesn’t mean that you don’t speak Truth to her!! I Will be Praying for you..I’m sorry if I overstepped here but I just wanted to share with you what I firmly believe brought our daughter back to us..Prayer..hours of it..and Love that was so Strong that she knew at the end of it all that we loved her more then those who said they did but didn’t really!!It has been 5 years now and she has shared stuff that went on behind the scenes and I just had to forgive her for all of it..I also had to deal with my Anger over alot of it. Anger and unforgiveness will send our kids right out the door..

      1. Ladies, this may seem a strange time to make a book recommendation, but there’s a very powerful Christian author, Melody Carlson, who writes wonderful Christian YA books. One series is called the “True Color” series and covers a variety of gritty subjects. One of these is called “Bright Purple: Color Me Confused” and is about a girl who discovers that her best friend is a lesbian. This friend came from a Christian home and the protoganist has no idea why she’s now gay; she’s totally conflicted and at first treats her badly because of it. I think the book presents a brilliant Christian balance of kindness and truth, with many revelations on the matter. Hope it may help.

        Will be praying for you guys, Katie!

    2. I feel very, very sorry for your stepdaughter, Katie. What she needs now is a family that will love her unconditionally. She obviously is not getting that love from YOU! And yes, you can go on and on about how you tell her that you and God love her, but actions speak much louder than words. I hope she is able to find a home away from you where she and her precious baby find the love and strength that she needs to continue on with her life.

      And YOU feel alone? Are you listening to yourself, Katie? How do you think your stepdaughter feels? Oh that’s right, her feelings are inconsequential since she is the one who is supposedly the sinner. People like you make me sick.

  9. I began to type a really long comment. Then I realized it was a book, and decided this would do. My heart is heavy today and has been for the last couple of days over this exact issue. There are just some things that God has made so clear and my heart aches when Christians want so badly to appease the flesh that they choose to see it as “grey”…sigh.
    I am thankful though for the Christian friends who have rallied alongside and stood for God and His Word…so thankful.

    1. Oh Katie, you should see some dating and even marriage advice from secular guys who advocate subtle manipulation, or even jerky behavior, from guys to women.

  10. Michelle and Laura, did you come on here just to mock people of different beliefs? You’re not helping anyone. I really don’t know if you’re aware, Michelle, but homosexuality is an exception to the biological rule and people with it often lead harder lives, physically as well as mentally. Yet in this culture, we like to pretend that sexuality doesn’t matter; we like to pretend that children without fathers do just fine, and hookups are ok, and women can have loose sex without consequences because “men do”. THAT is why Katie feels alone; she’s trying to help a daughter who’s in the most fragile position of her life, and do so in a culture that could either condemn her, or try to persuade her that she needs no one to help raise her baby and it’s fine to be of any sexual persuasion there is. She’s in a rock and a hard place, with people like you saying there’s not even a problem.

    1. Unlike most people on these so-called “Christian” blogs, my intention is not to mock people who do not believe the same thing as I believe. And my comment was not about beliefs at all. It was about showing love to another human being who desperately needs it at this time in her life. Apparently Katie is not someone who is going to provide this kind of love to her stepdaughter (and as a stepmom myself, that horrifies me).

      And I did not come here to discuss homosexuality either. That is not the point. My point is that it appears Katie came on this board to seek sympathy for herself and assurance from other like-minded people that SHE is the one suffering, and her stepdaughter is the terrible one who created this mess.

      If she truly is trying to help her stepdaughter, she would not be coming to a blog and airing the supposed wrongdoings of her stepdaughter and how her lifestyle is now EVIL. (Just typing that makes me wonder what is going on her mind to do such a cruel thing to that girl.) Instead she would be gathering her stepdaughter into her arms and assuring her of the unconditional love that is there for her, and to stop harping upon the poor girl to confess, repent, seek forgiveness from everyone.

      And I praise her husband and friends for getting upset with her for the cruelty that she is inflicting on her stepdaughter. They need to step in and stop it immediately, though. I could never, ever imagine treating my husband’s daughter that way.

      So stop playing into her game and telling her how right and wonderful she is. Tell her to get off her high horse and step up during this difficult time.

      1. I re-read her post, Michelle, and you’re correct, she was very cold to her stepdaughter. She needs to improve her treatment. But her motives are not corrupt; she’s worried terribly about her step, and she believes her step is choosing what she’s doing; to her, it’s like her step saying that she’s now into drugs. She’s handling things terribly, but I can’t blame her for being utterly confused and wanting to be firm; her step had sex out of marriage with a man and now she says she’s a lesbian? She’s jumping from one strange sexual situation to another. And she’s not getting ANY help from foolish people telling her it’s all ok and the Bible’s not literal; that’s utter bunk.

        1. And you need to know something else about Christians: being good does not mean being NICE all the time. We get accused of being fake when we’re too nice and cruel when we’re too firm, and there’s a good reason for this: we need a balance. Jesus was the most Loving Man of all time, but He was NOT always nice; He never once retracted even His harsh teachings.

      2. Because Katie knows what will happen to her stepdaughter if she doesn’t repent of her homosexuality. She may be the only one in that family willing to tell her the truth. To you and the rest of “the world” it may seem cruel, but to all who believe what God has to say on the subject in His Word, it is one of the most loving acts you can do for an unrepentant sinner. Katie is afraid for her stepdaughter’s very soul. Correct me if I’m wrong, Katie.

        Yes, pray, pray, pray, Katie. You can love on your stepdaughter and her baby and remain faithful to the Truth.

        1. Jennifer, you are correct about her being concerned for her stepdaughter. I was a bit harsh in my judgement of her for that. I know she is terribly scared right now, and I understand that. There is nothing wrong with being frightened. I just don’t believe the best thing to do is to go onto someone else’s blog and spell out your story for everyone.

          And I too am a Christian. I know that being nice is not always how it goes. The point I was trying to make was that on a lot of these blogs that I have read, if you do not 100% agree with the author or her minions, you are labeled a troll, sinner, hell-bound heathen, etc.

          And Jane, are you suggeting that Katie’s stepdaughter will go to HELL if she comes out as a lesbian? I sincerely hope not. Jesus loves us all.

          1. Your last sentence implies incorrect biblical theology (which is just a simple way of saying “what we believe about the Bible”, not intended to sound flowery). The original post was about “evil” which, despite what we agree on in the gray areas, homosexuality is declared, among many other things, as “evil” in God’s sight. As such, “Jesus loves us all” does not trump His emphatic judgement that will one day be executed. His love requires His judgement and evil will be judged. And yes, those who practice evil (without repentance) will be judged. It’s horrible, terrifying and it should prompt us to stop at nothing as we warn others of such judgement and offer them, instead, the love of a Father for His children. No matter what we believe as Christians, we must believe this or we do not hold to a true belief of Scripture.

          2. Yes, Jesus loves us all. But He doesn’t love our sin. Are you suggesting that homosexuality is not a sin or not evil in the sight of God? That an unrepentant practicing homosexual will not be judged and condemned to hell for eternity?

            As for the labels, I don’t know if you’re a troll, or a hell-bound heathen and I don’t see any comments labeling you as such. But I do know we’re both sinners, and I never want to forget what a depraved creature I am.

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