DON’T DO IT AGAIN!
January 22, 2001
Many of my past epistles have come from the heart of a stretcher-bearer. This epistle is coming from the heart of a stretcher bearer and a crusader. I am like a baker who has been trying to bake a loaf of bread to perfection for the past thirty years. Every so often, after testing and sampling a loaf, I changed a few ingredients and try again. I let a few people sample my bread and have gotten applause for my baking skills from some, while others said, “There is something missing. Maybe it needs a little more of this and a little less of that.” I have also offered the bread to my Lord, who is a connoisseur of good bread and fine wine. He encouraged me to fine-tune my ingredients. I have done that. I believe that the many ingredients are now in balance. Those ingredients that were previously omitted — in particular, that all-important salt, has now been included. All along, my bread had tasted more like cake than bread. My words may have tasted good, but they were not always nourishing or healthy.
Years ago these words were birthed into my spirit, “When God tells you to do something, don’t ask for a second opinion.” I have quoted those words many times and even inscribed them onto coffee cups. We made a sign with those words for our local Community Bible Church. It is hanging right above the drinking fountain. After some ten years I still enjoy quoting those words. But they paint only half of the picture. Above the drinking fountain there should be another sign, which reads, “When God tells you not to do something, don’t ask for a second opinion.” That is the salt that was missing from my bread. It is exceedingly tempting to emphasize the “dos” and ignore the “don’ts.” The “don’ts” have never been very popular. They have never attracted large crowds and many tithers. But without the “don’ts” we offer a wimpy Gospel and a wimpy God. We fill our churches with lukewarm believers that God will spit out at the end. Now, if you have the courage to read on, I will come to the heart of this epistle. You will be eating a loaf of bread that will nourish and challenge your soul. Be warned, it will not be politically correct!
“The blood of the martyrs is the fuel for the crusaders.” It is pain that often produces purpose, passion, and compassion. The parents of the teenagers massacred in cold blood at the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado cannot resurrect their children. All the grieving, all the tears, all the new laws, all the lawsuits, all the anger cannot breathe new life into them. But the grief, pain and anger can be and must be turned into action if this kind of bloodshed of innocent children is not to be repeated over and over again. The real villain can be and must be exposed so that he can be put into chains and our children be protected from future assaults. And that is what is happening. I am aware of one Darrrell Scott, who lost his teenage daughter Rachel at the Columbine High School. He is now crusading on behalf of those children who are still walking the halls of our schools. He will not allow us to forget those who have been killed and those who might yet be killed by other assailants. You can purchase his first book, “Rachel’s Tears” and soon his second book, “Chain Reaction,” if you want to join a crusade to make our schools and world a safer place for our children and grandchildren.
There is also the mother who founded the organization MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. After she lost a child to a drunk driver, her pain was turned into purpose. She became a crusader. New laws are now on the books that increase the penalties and fines for drunk driving. There is a new and growing awareness that drunk drivers are potential killers, potential murderers. She has raised up an army of crusaders that continue to make us aware that alcohol and driving a vehicle is a deadly mixture. Good for her! We applaud her! She has turned a personal tragedy into life for others. Yes, that is what a crusader is all about — turning a personal tragedy into life for others.
There are thousands of worthy causes and thousands of crusaders; and we are to applaud all of them even though we cannot identify with all. It is my prayer that God will also lift this voice out of obscurity and let it be heard in schools, seminaries, courts of law, government, the church and the healing professions. I am an advocate for the mentally ill. I am an advocate for every person oppressed by the devil, injustice and ignorance. I am an advocate for every person who counsels or receives counseling, is prescribed drugs, has had a lobotomy or receives shock treatment to balance or control their thoughts and emotions. Whether these people live at home, are in prisons, mental institutions, or are walking the streets, my heart goes out to them. My heart is bonded with theirs. My heart is also bonded to the caregivers of the mentally ill. It is not an easy job. We must be generous and remember that it is mostly ignorance and not malicious intent that causes someone to be misdiagnosed or for the wrong prescription to be written.
At one time or another we have all been guilty of wounding someone. Someone who believed, acted, dressed, talked, or walked so differently, that we pronounced him sick, crazy, insane, stupid, “off his rocker,” a pervert, or some other technical or more fashionable term. Every time we do that we run the risk of committing the unpardonable sin. Jesus spoke these words to guide and restrain our hearts and lips: “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” (Matthew 5:22-23, The Message). Let me explain why I am so adamant about adhering to Jesus’ commands.
Some thirty years ago, in the middle of the night, this writer had the need to cry out his anguished heart to God by praying in what is referred to, as “tongues.” It is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that was given to the Church after Jesus was resurrected. Those who are not familiar with this gift may read about it in the Book of Acts and also in the first letter to the Corinthians. My prayers were intended for God’s ears only and no one else’s; that is why I secluded myself in a far corner of the house. When I came out of my prayer closet, an ambulance was waiting in front of the house to take me away. A pastor and a psychologist had been contacted. They both sanctioned the calling of an ambulance. They had both agreed that my conduct was out of order and that speaking or praying in tongues indicated a “disturbed” mind. I did not contest the abduction and thought, “Maybe someone in that ambulance needs to hear about Jesus.” And they did. What happened subsequently was at first very painful, but subsequently was life-changing for this writer and for many others. Birthed out of the pain of being taken to General Hospital in Los Angeles during the middle of the night and subsequent events, a new man was created—a crusader! God took my cold and self-centered heart and exchanged it for a heart of flesh. Now it is not only a heart that is able to feel the pain of others, it is a robust and strong heart, willing to crusade on behalf of those exiled into obscurity.
Jesus spoke these words to the learned men of Jerusalem, “Truly and solemnly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men and whatever abusive and blasphemous things they utter; but whoever speaks abusively against or maliciously misrepresents the Holy Spirit can never get forgiveness, but is guilty of and is in the grasp of an everlasting trespass.” For they persisted in saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3: 28-29, The Amplified Bible). Additional verses about the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be found in Matthew 12:24-32, Luke 12:8-10 and I John 5:16-17. The last mentioned reference reads as follows: “If you see a Christian sinning in a way that does not end in death, you should ask God to forgive him and God will give him life, unless he has sinned that one fatal sin. But there is that one sin which ends in death and if he has done that, there is no use praying for him. Every wrong is a sin, of course. I’m not talking about these ordinary sins. I am speaking of that one that ends in death.” (The Living Bible)
Thirty years have passed since that painful night. Not everyone who manifests the gifts of the Holy Spirit is diagnosed as insane or schizophrenic today as I was. Yet, there are still some individuals and denominations who will not allow these gifts to be in operation in their lives, in the lives of others, or in their church. I issue a stern warning to individuals, pastors, denominations, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors: Do not place yourselves in a position where you may commit the unpardonable sin. Do not call unholy what Jesus calls holy, insane what is sane. Do not call unclean what is clean or clean what is dirty. Do not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit. Do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit lest you speak death and damnation to your own souls. I also issue a stern warning to those who teach at universities and seminaries. I issue a warning to those who write our textbooks. Revise what you have written and repent to God and to all you have violated. If the world has sanctioned your position as doctor, teacher, lawyer, lawmaker, priest or pastor, you have an awesome responsibility and the ability to influence lives by the words you speak or write. Our written and spoken words can cure; and our words can cripple or kill. Our laws can protect the innocent or protect the guilty. We are all accountable to God for the words we speak and write, the songs we sing, the movies we make, the pictures we paint, the laws we pass. Those elevated to a place of authority have a greater need to be right, gentle and kind than anyone else, because they have opportunities to either heal or wound a greater number of people. Do not wound and violate God’s little ones who cannot defend themselves. Do not exile them into obscurity or diminish them as individuals by your words or diagnoses.
The cup of God’s indignation is running over. Enough is enough. Yes, God is a God of grace; yes, His mercy is greater than His judgment; yes, His mercies are new every morning; but there is a time when we will have violated that grace once too often. Being soft on sin, being soft on crime is not a good definition of God’s grace! The story of the woman taken in adultery in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John shows us the heart of Jesus, the heart of God. The story concludes, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, sir,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” He did not say, “Go and sin some more.”
If I do not go by “The Book,” God will throw “The Book” at me. If the Church does not go by “The Book,” God will throw “The Book” at the Church. The walls of the Church as we know it today shall crumble. The walls of the Church are already crumbling. The Church has been defiled. The Word of God has been compromised. Where is the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom? We call Jesus our buddy. We have lost respect for His name, His holiness, and His laws. We have disgraced His grace. We have taken that part of His Word that feels good and spit out or ignored the rest. We have created our own personal gospel that makes room for the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. We have soiled His holy temple with lust, perversion, and filthy lucre. Anything goes! I was horrified when I read these words written by one of my favorite authors, Henri J. M. Nouwen, now deceased. The book, “Sabbatical Journey”, was published posthumously in 1998. He died of a massive heart attack in 1996, two weeks after he made his last journal entry. Given the opportunity to review his most private thoughts, he might not have consented to their publication.
Friday, September 29, 1995
Andrew Sullivan’s book, “Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality”, is one of the most intelligent and convincing pleas for complete social acceptance of homosexuality I have ever read.
Andrew Sullivan is a Catholic. He is just as open about being a Catholic as about being a homosexual. From his writing it becomes clear that he is not only a Catholic, but also a deeply committed Catholic who takes his church’s teachings quite seriously. That makes his discussion of the church’s attitude toward homosexuality very compelling.
My own thoughts and emotions around this subject are very conflicted. Years of Catholic education and seminary training have caused me to internalize the Catholic Church’s position. Still, my emotional development and my friendships with many homosexual people, as well as the recent literature on the subject, have raised many questions for me. There is a huge gap between my internalized homophobia and my increasing conviction that homosexuality is not a curse but a blessing for our society. Andrew Sullivan’s book is starting to help me bridge this gap
As far as I am concerned, it is unthinkable for this priest or any priest, theologian, and author to write or speak words that contradict the Word of God (see Romans 1:18-32). The full text is referenced at the end of this epistle. Even after reading the above words, my love for this priest remains strong; but I shall no longer recommend his writings. He has not only defiled himself, but also the church with which he identifies. It is often our need for love and acceptance by man and or the fear of man that causes us to compromise the Word of God. I have been equally guilty and publicly ask for your and God’s forgiveness. Can Jesus embrace a bride that has defiled herself? He cannot! His bride will be without spot or wrinkle. The very heart of God has been offended.
To the prostitute, the fornicator, the addict, the thief, the murderer, the lawbreaker who repents, Jesus is saying, “Where are thine accusers? Go and sin no more.” He is not saying, “Go and sin some more.” Jesus came to forgive and cleanse us from sin, not to condone it. The Church indeed shall crumble if it condones or winks at sin, sin of any kind. We ask our guests to remove their muddy boots before entering the house, not after they have soiled the carpet. If they are not willing to remove their muddy boots, we do not allow them to enter our home. Likewise, in my Father’s house there are many mansions, but there is no room for unrepentant sinners, not a single one. There is no room for rebellion and insubordination. It’s time for us to remind the sinner, “God loves you. Jesus died for your sins. You are forgiven. DON’T DO IT AGAIN. Go and sin no more.”
It’s time for us to add the required amount of salt when we bake our bread. It is time to highlight those words God has spoken that have been swept under the carpet or made to sound so tame, they don’t sound like sin any longer. We have eaten cake far too long. We have become lukewarm and wimpy. We have remained babies. It’s time to eat some solid food. It’s time for us to eat the meat of “The Word.” It’s time for us to be Father pleasers and stop being man-pleasers and self-pleasers. It’s time for us to become responsible adults. A responsible adult obeys all of God’s laws and teaches them to his children.
The cup of His indignation is running over. Can you not sense that your own life is hanging in the balance? We are maintaining instead of attaining, coping instead of winning, peddling as fast as we can without getting anywhere. Can you not hear the distant thunder? Can you not feel the walls of His Church being shaken at their very foundation? I can. Cleanse your own temple first. Run for your life if your community, your church, or your denomination has defiled itself. Jesus said, “Not all who sound religious are godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. At the judgment many will tell me ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about You and used Your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
(18) For God’s (holy) wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. (19) For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God (Himself) has shown it to them. (20) For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made—His handiworks. So (men) are without excuse—altogether without any defense or justification. (21) Because when they knew and recognized Him as the God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God, or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking—with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning and stupid speculation—and their senseless minds were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools—professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves. (23) And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles (buildings, boats, cars, money, people, material goods, etc.). (24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their (own) hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, abandoning them to the degrading power of sin. (25) Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen.
(26) For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural functions for an unnatural and abnormal one; (27) And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burned out, consumed) with lust for one another, men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong doing and going astray, which was (their fitting) retribution. (28) And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome; (29) Until they were filled—permeated and saturated—with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, (and) malice. (They were) full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. (They were) secret backbiters and gossipers, (30) slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance (and) boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents. (31) They were without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless (and) merciless. (32) Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. ROMANS 1:18-32 (The Amplified Bible)
Do not keep this loaf of bread for yourself. Break it into many pieces and feed the multitude.
The Lord’s baker of fresh bread,
Peter D. Laue
About six months ago this writer had the following strong and profound dream. He was standing on a traffic island. He had poured several pounds of salt all over the island. Gusts of wind were picking up the salt and blowing it across several lanes of traffic into a large parking lot. It was not clear if the parking lot was intended for a shopping center, a church, or both. The writer saw himself acting as a traffic cop, raising his hand toward oncoming traffic and shouting, “REPENT, REPENT, REPENT.” Some of the cars stopped, people got out, knelt on the street, and repented. Many of the cars, however, went right on by as if they did not hear or see the traffic cop. This went on for quite a while until the traffic cop was so exhausted, he was unable to speak the word “REPENT” one more time.
As I, Peter, completed writing this epistle, I realized that it was the fulfillment of the dream I’d had six months earlier. Some who read these words will hear my voice and stop; but many will just drive on by.
(The full meaning of the dream was revealed to “the dreamer” only by and by. It culminated in a story that was posted in September of 2010 under this title: Who Will March with Me? )
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