If it fits in your purse, it’s not a real dog.
What’s been seen can’t be unseen. What’s been done can’t be undone. They are only accompanied by shame, doubt, guilt, regret, and the like.
In this, restraint is the highest liberation you can know.
The human heart is massively hungry, much more so than the stomach. Our longings are true and profound. Yet we have only been offered the shallow sense of momentary satisfaction instead of being given something that would truly sustain. In the absence of such an answer, most of us have bought into the futile pursuits of our society, and we are still utterly bored.
If our primary desire was material or physical only, it could somehow be satisfied physically. Pleasures and pursuits of an earthly nature cannot ultimately satisfy the human heart because our desire is not limited only to the physical realm.
The hunger doesn’t go away and the longing doesn’t disappear, it just finds new ways to resurface. With all the stimulation offered, it is easy to find a new thing each week until we are both overloaded and bored with life at the same time — overloaded with what’s available and bored with every last ounce of it.
Something is fundamentally wrong if you give yourself fully to something and it still leaves you wanting . . . or even worse, ashamed.
This is one reason why Jesus Christ is so intriguing: He is simultaneously too much and never enough, both inexhaustible and overwhelming, nearer than our very breath but categorically distinct from anything conceivable.
Son, never answer any question that begins with, “If you were on a deserted island and you knew you’d never see me again . . .”
It is always a trap.
In fact, never answer hypothetical questions.
We all long for things such as love and belonging, peace, joy, to make an impact, and even to live forever. The blunt person might say this is a good description of heaven. But to be with God in heaven requires two things according to Christianity: sacrifice for our sin and relationship with Him while we live — in that order. Sacrifice for wrongdoing is a common theme running through every ancient culture and still permeating our own.
Since we have all done wrong, we can only offer a sacrifice for our own individual sin; my sacrifice for my sin and you for yours. But once I sacrifice myself for my sin, I cannot live and be in relationship with God, which is the second requirement. This is the classic catch-22, like what we see in “The Gift of the Magi”. There is not enough money for a gift, so the giver sells the thing most precious to them to obtain the gift. Only after do they find out that the complement to the gift was destroyed in the process. It’s like selling all the salt to gain only the pepper.
If a sacrifice must be given first and the relationship formed second, then the solution seems logical. If a perfect human — perfect in the ultimate sense: perfect inception, perfect qualities, and perfect life — were to offer themself as a sacrifice, an imperfect human would benefit.
If this human were actually more than a human — eternal instead of temporal, all-powerful instead of weak — then their sacrifice would extend not just to one human, but to all of imperfect humanity. The acceptable sacrifice of one perfect human would be an umbrella of mercy covering every person who has ever lived.
No wonder that, amidst a chapter about the sacrifice of Jesus on the crucifixion tree, the speaker exclaims, “His banner over me was love” (Song 2:1–4).
Through Jesus the demand for justice is fully satisfied so that we may embark on being fully satisfied in relationship with God.
When we look now at the two requirements to be with God in heaven, it seems it was all a ruse. God did what we could not do in order to give us what we wanted all along: heaven. God the Son took on our debt of sacrifice so we could take on the joy of relationship.
Justice is always couched in the language of measuring something against a perfect standard. If the thing falls short of what is right and good, we call it unjust; if it upholds what is right and good, we call it just.
But unless a theistic framework is used (and, I believe, specifically a Judeo-Christian one), no individual can level accusations of what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, and of what we ought or ought not do.
The two options then become:
When Marcus Aurelius wrote that injustice is impiety, I believe he was being perfectly rational and I think he was right. Injustice is an affront to a perfect being. But be certain of this: that thought came from the seedbed of theism. It could not have come from anywhere else and it cannot find its ultimate expression apart from an eternality imbued with perfect justice.
Social justice without an eternal anchor in futile.
If justice is real, then eternity must exist.
If there is no eternity, then there is no true justice.
We may gain slightly better circumstances in our life, but gaining true justice in life is exceedingly rare, if it even occurs at all. Yet we all long for justice, hope for it, believe it is a real thing, and fight for it. So if we do not gain it in this life, then we must acknowledge the possibility of its fulfillment in the next. This also means that “the next life” will not be in this world, as some propose.
It is hypocritical for an anti-theist to rage about God commanding slaughter at a few defined instances in the Bible, yet they do not rage against the perpetual daily slaughter of innocent children by abortion.