faith, Light

Selma, Kinda’

This post isn’t really about Selma, and it’s not really about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  But it occurred to me as I watched the movie the other day, as I watched this scene:

Coretta:  If I ask you a question will you tell me the truth?
Martin:  Yes.
Coretta, mustering courage: You know I’m not a fool. Do you love me?
Martin:  Yes.
Coretta:  Do you love any of the others?
Martin, with a slight gulp: No.

Apparently that scene stood out to my daughter as well.  As we were discussing the movie (which was hard to watch but which I highly recommend) on the way home she asked, “Why are leaders so often cheaters?”

“I don’t know, some women throw themselves at power and perhaps it’s too much to resist.  Perhaps powerful men think they deserve a few perks. It’s too bad the moral character and determination of which Dr. King so eloquently spoke did not extend to his own sexual  conduct.”

I thought of King David as I watched that scene, specifically I thought of God’s words to David, via Nathan:

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?

And if all this had been too little, David, I would have given you even more. 

That is one of the saddest sentences in the entire Bible.

I wondered if God would have given Dr. King even more.

How many of us have missed out on the more?  How many of us have disqualified ourselves from doing, having, being more because of sexual sin?

Reuben did:

While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. Genesis 35:22

Perhaps Reuben thought it was no big deal, his dad heard about his antics but may not have done anything about them.  Scripture does not record a confrontation, or consequences, until chapter 49:

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.”  Genesis 49:3-4

And then there’s Esau:

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  Hebrews 12:16

It’s interesting that Scripture pairs sexual immorality with squandering an inheritance.  I can’t help wonder how many young people, who are squandering their purity, will one day weep bitterly, “Bless me—me too, my Father!”

I’m not saying that God doesn’t redeem and forgive.  I’m just saying that there is a constant tension in my heart and mind between God’s holiness and His compassion.  And I think that tension is supposed to be there.  Holiness is the vertical beam and compassion is the horizontal beam.  Tension and balance hold them in place.

[Duncan], Creative Commons

[Duncan], Creative Commons

Without holiness there is no need for compassion.  Without compassion there is nothing upon which Jesus can outstretch His arms.

I love Christians like Glennon Doyle Melton who encourage us to embrace and enjoy our messy lives.  Who show us that it’s okay to give ourselves a break and accept that our lives are going to be hard and good, that we are going to make mistakes and it’s okay.  Because there is no joy in serving the taskmaster of perfection.

At the same time I cannot ignore the Nazarite vow.

And I cannot ignore Jesus when He said,“When much is given, much is required.” And, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Or His Father, who said, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

There is a beautiful scene recorded in Revelation chapter 5.  I highly recommend reading the entire amazing chapter.  Here’s a snippet:

But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain….And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

I wonder if this heavenly scene took place just as Jesus was fresh from the cross.  The Lamb, looking as if He had been slain.

“I wept and wept because no one was found worthy.”

There were a whole lot of people who were not mentioned in the Bible.  A WHOLE LOT of God’s people who did nothing to contribute in any notable way to His purposes.  I don’t want to be one of those people.

“Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes?”

“I would have given you even more.”

Sexual sin diminishes spiritual effectiveness.  It just does.

There is freedom, grace and joy in cutting myself some slack and there is power, effectiveness and close fellowship with God in pursuing personal holiness.  May the tension within me maintain an effective balance.

I don’t know whether this stream of consciousness will make sense to anyone but me, but may we all maintain an effective balance.

Because this dark world needs SO MUCH more.

© 2015, The Reluctant Baptist


27 thoughts on “Selma, Kinda’

  1. kylefonzo says:

    Wow. One of the most refreshing blogs I’ve read in a very long time. Excellent delivery, compelling perspective, and very convicting, sobering approach.
    I’m a single 26 year old male endeavoring to live above the elements you covered. I can attest that although it goes against our very nature, it can be done. Not without the assistance of the Holy Ghost, or the abundance of mercy and grace, but when one cooperates with God, He keeps them under His wings of safety. I’m convinced that with a made up mind, there isn’t any sin we can’t live above.
    While reflecting on King David, I began to consider the ripple effect his decision on the rooftop played in his life. Paul said “When I would do good, evil is always present.” Had David refrained from returning to that place of mental torment and pleasure, he may never have fallen. A man with a weakness, a woman bathing. Although he noticed her speedily, I’m not sure he sinned until he returned there again. As a result, a marriage was shattered, integrity was lost, an innocent man was murdered, a widow mourned the loss of one she loved, a child that was born in suffering would later die, only to contribute more agony to a mother who had already buried her husband, an entire seed was tainted, and David lived the rest of his life keeping a secret. All because his flesh was appeased, and he returned again and again until the rooftop experience no longer sufficed. He got what he wanted. And he paid for it until he died.
    May God help us to say no. May He grant us the strength to stay under His covering until He blesses us with all good things. He is faithful to deliver, so long as we don’t get ahead of Him or behind Him.
    I apologize for the length, this is very out of character for me. But your words stirred me and reminded me of how important it is to cooperate with Him. And to speak out against these things when the entire world is endorsing compromise. The word of God is still exactly that. This isn’t only a truth to live for, it’s a hope to die for. Somebody will stand for Holiness, and though I’m beyond unworthy, count me in.
    May God bless you richly.


    • No need to apologize – well thought out and well written comments of any length are always welcome. The ripples of David’s weakness indeed spread far and wide. I, too, listed some of them in The High Cost of Forgiveness. And then there was the tragic rape of Tamar and the ensuing death of Amnon; Absalom’s coup attempt and David’s humiliation when Absalom slept with his wives and concubines on the roof of the palace and finally Absalom’s death – all part of “the sword shall never depart from your house.”

      David did not keep his secret for the rest of his life, though, as many modern David’s try to do. He kept it for awhile. He kept it long enough for his bones to waste away and his strength to be sapped as in the heat of summer. But God loved him too much to leave him in that miserable condition, so He sent Nathan… And then, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven…”

      May the Lord send Nathans to all the Davids out there whose bones are wasting and whose strength is sapped.

      May God bless you richly as well. May He strengthen and support your conviction to “live above.” May He plant you like a tree beside streams of living water and may you bear much good fruit in your life.


  2. This post is so powerful, relevant and eloquent. I’ll be endlessly sharing it.
    I think every young person (every person, really) needs to hear it.
    Thank you. May 2015 bring with it God’s immeasurable favour, endless fun and much fruit.


  3. I read your post from home, probably because of the title and I loved it and couldn’t wait to comment when I got to work. Thank you for saying the truth the way the truth should be said. These stuck to me “And if all this had been too little, David, I would have given you even more. ” AND “Sexual sin diminishes spiritual effectiveness. It just does.” I join you to conclude may we maintain an EFFECTIVE BALANCE. Thanks for sharing.


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