Tag Archives: Chrsitian

The Sins of the Father

Read Exodus 34:5-7

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”  (Romans 3:25-26, NLT)

One of my favorite films is The Wolf Man. Of course, the original 1941 film with Lon Chaney, Jr. is my absolute favorite; however, I also loved the flawed but still awesome 2010 remake with Benicio Del Toro. The unrated extended version is the one to watch if you are going to take my recommendation, as it takes more time to develop the characters and scenarios than the theatrical version did. The music by Danny Elfman is brilliant and the special effects by Rick Baker won a much deserved Academy Award for Best Special Effects.

SPOILER ALERT: I will be discussing in this devotion some major plot twists in the 2010 Wolfman film, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it spoiled, now is the time to stop reading and go watch the film first. In that film, Lawrence Talbot is an actor who is estranged from his father and brother. One evening, following a stage performance of Hamlet, his brother’s fiancee, Gwen Conliffe, visits Lawrence asking if he has seen or heard from his brother. Of course, he hadn’t and Gwen pleads with him to return to his father’s home to search for his brother.

To make a long story short, he does return home and his brother turns up dead, torn apart by what seems to have been a wild animal or beast. As you get further into the film you begin to quickly realize why Lawrence was estranged from his family: his father. There was something off about him and the audience quickly picks up on that. He’s distant, ice cold, and downright creepy. There’s a hollow blackness, an abyss, in his eyes and you just can’t help but feel he’s hiding a secret.

You also find out that at a young age Lawrence witnessed what we first are led to believe was the suicide of his mother. Later, however, we find out that her death was not a suicide, but accidental homocide by his father. You see, Sir John Talbot (Lawrence’s father), had been bitten on a hunting trip and, upon eventually turning into a werewolf, he attacked and killed his wife. Lawrence witnessed this, went into shock, and was subsequently sent to a mental institution to be treated for his “psychotic delusions”.  Over time, Lawrence repressed those memories; however, they surface once his father reveals the truth about his curse.

As it turns out, it was also his father who attacked and mauled his brother, because his brother was going to get married to Gwen, whom the father has a clear and creepy love interest in. As you can see, there’s A LOT wrong with the father in this story. Again, to keep this as short as possible, prior to knowing his father’s dark secret, he is bit by a werewolf (who happens to be his father) and is thus cursed to become a werewolf himself! The father’s sins are passed on to his son, who then passes it on to others as he terrorizes his village and even London as a werewolf.

This reminds me of our Scripture passage for today, where God warns that the sins of the parents will be passed down from generation to generation, causing calamity for many as a result of wickedness. While people aren’t cursed with lycanthropy in the physical/literal sense, it is clear that we are born into families that all have their levels of dysfunction. Each family is filled with human beings who are sinful by nature. Tragically, those sins are passed on to the children and so on and so forth.

Racism, oppression, injustice, inequity, poverty, hatred, bigotry, violence, and all of the sin and evil we see in the world are the result of this curse that is upon humanity. In Christianity, we call that the doctrine of Original Sin, which came up on the first humans and have passed on to each generation since. The good news is that, unlike Lawrence, we have an much better solution to this curse than a silver bullet. Our solution is Jesus Christ, who took the curse of our sins upon himself and died for us so that we might be free from sin and death and inherit eternal life! WOW! What good news, right?

All that is required is that we believe in the ONE who has saved us, turn our lives over to Him and allow him to change us from the heart outward. If we do that, though we will still fall short and sin, that sin will not hold sway over us and it will begin to break the chains of sin that affect the ones we love. This is the Gospel message. Today, I challenge you to reflect on your life and on the sins that affected you as well as your own sins that have affected others. Pray for forgivenness, open your heart to Jesus Christ, seek reconcilation with those you’ve wronged if possible, and begin to life for Christ who saved you!

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.” – John Wesley

Lord, help me fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but you so that I may joing you in hell shaking and kingdom making. Amen.

God’s People, part 263: Jason

Read Acts 17:1-9

“Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.”  (Acts 7:57-58, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Part 263: Jason. Now, if you are like me and really, really into the Halloween season and horror movies, you might be scratching your head and thinking, wait a minute, Jason Voorhees was in the New Testament of the Bible? Well, I am sorry to disappoint any Friday the 13th fans out there, but this is not about Jason Voorhees, but about a gentile Christian whose name happened to be Jason. To make up for not having Jason Voorhees as the subject of this devotion and, honestly, that would be are hard one to pull off (though don’t tempt me), I used Jason Voorhees’ image with a minor modification to remind you that it is NOT THAT JASON.

All jokes aside, I can imagine most people didn’t realize that Jason was a Biblical name, but it very much was. In Act 17, Paul and Silas found themselves in the Greek city of Thessalonica, which was where Paul wrote his letters to the Thessalonians to. As was his practice up to this point, Paul would go into the cities and immediately go to the synagogues in order to bring the Good News to diaspora Jewish communities.

This, of course, was met with mixed results. Some people found Paul to be very convincing and became believers in Messiah Jesus; however, others saw Paul to be problematic and stealing away people from their communities of believers. What’s more, they found the teachings about Jesus to be against what they understood the Messiah to be and so they believed that Paul and Silas were leading people astray.

Often times, as was the case in Thessalonica, the leaders of the synagogues and other devout Jews would take to the streets in order to hunt Paul and his companions down, have them beaten, arrested and/or expelled from their cities. That is exactly what happened in Acts 17:1-9. As anyone knows, when communities of people get angry, they form mobs and storm the streets.

That is what these leaders and people did. They went to the house of Jason, where they believed Paul and Silas were. As it turned out, they were not there. So, one might imagine that the mob went back out into the streets to search for Paul. Nope. Reason and mobs don’t go often go together. Instead, this angry mob siezed Jason and some other believers in his household and took them before the town council, after which they were thrown in Jail and made to post bail.

There’s an important lesson here for us to learn. I am sure, individually, the members of this mob were decent people who loved God and were trying to safe-keep their faith. Gatekeepers are important when it comes to religious integrity, to a degree; however, mobs and mob mentality are NEVER godly things and they often lead to people getting persecuted, hurt and even destroyed. What’s more, decent people turn into abhorrent monsters when in a mob.

Let us be the anti-mob. It is very easy for Christians to get into the mob mentality. I have seen it happen in churches, were a large group of people suddenly and angrily turn on a pastor or other leaders. I have seen it on Twitter, Facebook and Social Media, where a group of Christians berate and belittle other believers for holding different beliefs than them. Mob mentality, whether in person or virtual, is not godly and we, as Christians, are called to be the anti-mob, where we view all people, whether we like them or not, as beloved children of God created in His image. Let us be challenged by this and continue to grow into who God has created us to be.

“There is nothing more foolish, nothing more given to outrage than a useless mob.” – Herodotus

Lord, help me to live my life and approach differences, even conflict, with your wisdom, discernment and love. Amen.