Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Theology Matters: Rejection and Selfies, from Wretched Radio

Since you need to be a member to listen to or download Wretched Radio's full-hour podcasts, I think it's a fair conclusion that it would be inappropriate to upload segments, even if I had the software and know-how to splice mp4's into smaller pieces. But I think that the goal of ministries like Wretched and others is to get as much of their content out to people as possible, so there's a tension between wanting to do this and wanting to stay above water financially. Knowing this, I think the content creators would be fine with me posting the text of a segment I personally transcribed this morning, but if I am wrong I will naturally remove it upon their request.

I just had to share this, because of how good it is.

What I passionately appreciate about Wretched Radio is the practical theology. It's not a sermon and it's not a current-events analysis. It's the best of both, and more. Hopefully when you read the transcript below, you'll understand why I try to get as much insight from this as possible. Wretched segments (1/6 of the day's broadcast) are available for free on the website: http://www.wretchedradio.com/podcast.cfm

Enjoy (broadcast from hour 2, segment 1, June 11 2014)

Don’t know if mentioned, I had the opportunity to be at the International Christian Retail Show, a couple of weeks ago in Atlanta, GA. Come and visit us if you love humidity—we’ve got it by the bucketful. There was a booth in particular that caught my attention: lots of charts, lots of graphs…I like that. There were some books by June Hunt. I’ve been intrigued by her, because I’ve read some good articles by her…Christian post…this one was called Rejection: Healing a Wounded Heart. And inside this little booklet, I wanted to see what her approach was, how she addresses healing the wounded heart…the heart that has suffered from rejection. And if the number of selfies that is being taken these days is any indication of the amount of lack of feeling loved, valued by somebody, is any indication of the amount of people that are hurting out there, then we have got ourselves a fair amount of pain going on in the US of A. By the way, speaking of taking selfies, there was a very thoughtful article, Girldefined.com, why Christian girls post seductive selfies…it was written by Christian Clark. And she talked about how Christian girls are posting selfies that they aren’t even aware are seductive. They just don’t realize it. Why? These are girls who are going to church, they’re raised in godly homes—they’re home-schooled!—and yet you see some of these pictures of these Christian girls and it’s like…What is the matter with them? Why are they doing that? And Christian speculates, because that’s normal to them. It’s not seductive to them. That’s just the way that girls pose. It’s all they’ve seen their whole life. Every billboard, every model, it’s all in some way designed to be seductive.

Speaking of being seductive, I caught a commercial last night. And it was for a product, a skin product, that you put on your face. And it makes your Ronald Reagan neck—remember Ronald Reagan? He had that, he had got himself a turkey neck, and I don’t think he ever tried to fix it. It’s like, hey, I’m 70 something, I’ve got a turkey neck—well a lot of people care, apparently. And so they’ve got a product that supposedly makes the turkey neck go away. And they showed these women—and we were watching this in High Def—and they were so made up. They showed the before pictures: no makeup, no hair, and they showed the after pictures, “hey, look at me now, I look so much younger” and everybody says “you look amazing!” – no, you look airbrushed, that’s what you look. And you look completely phony. And there was this one woman in particular. They had her so made up, and she said “and I’m 56 years old” – now, did she look 56?...Well, if you studied her a little bit you could tell, yeah, but with all of the makeup and the way they did the hair and the way they had her dancing around like a 12-year old, it’s like, well, no, but there’s something wrong here. You’re not really 40, I can tell you that. You maybe look 40, but we know you’re not 40 (it’s kinda the game that gets played). And I felt kinda bad for her. Isn’t it a shame, that you don’t have the freedom to be 56? That you can just look 56? And that the world has persuaded you that you should look 46, 26, isn’t that a shame? The world has decided, youth is in, baby. And so if you don’t look youthful anymore, do whatever it takes to make yourself—even if you just think you’re just fooling somebody—make yourself look younger. If the Bible were the predominant mindset in our country, the ditch that we would fall into, seriously, would be ‘how do I make myself look older?’ I’m gonna dye my hair gray, so that I can look like I have wisdom even if I don’t. Why? Because the Bible has a different standard and message than the world does. World system: young, vibrant, frisky. Bible: mature, steady, older, wiser. That’s the goal. That’s the persistent goal. Paul talks to Timothy—not just to Timothy, about being young, but all the young men—press on, look at the ones above you, look at the generation above you, and gun for that. Go for that. Hurry up, get to that as fast as you can. That’s the Bible message. Those poor women. There were no men. I guess with the amount of vain men we have in the world, that’ll be the next commercial. But these were just women who were trying to pretend that they were younger, and persuade themselves that life is better than what it apparently is in their mind because their skin is a little tauter than it used to be. The majority of images that women see are seductive. Pushing toward youth. The ‘look.’ And I know this to be true. I’ve seen this. We get the cards, the big thing is to send out graduation cards, of your children, to announce, here they are, they’re graduating, send some money. Hehehe let’s be honest. No, it’s just to keep in touch…and send some money. And I couldn’t help but notice…nice girls, and many of them just have a look like, um…I don’t think that’s appropriate. And they’re like, what do you mean it’s not appropriate? Where’s, what’s the disconnect? They’ve been surrounded by ‘seductive’ their whole life. For them to mimic it, that’s just what they do.

And so, Christian Clark, “Why Christian Girls Post Seductive Selfies.”  Why? I’ll just read what she said. ‘For me, I posted pictures of myself,’ I’ll just read what she said, ‘because I wanted guys to notice me. I wanted people to compliment how pretty I was.  I wanted to hear the praise and affirmation of my friends.  It was never an accident that I posted a picture of myself. It was always intentional, and planned.’ That’s honest. She continued, and this gets a little tougher, ‘The truth is, posting seductive selfies is just an outward symptom of a much deeper issue. It is a sign of a girl who is longing for something more. It is a sign of a girl who is trying to fill up her affirmation-tank through the praises and compliments of her friends.’ That’s sad to me. It’s very sad. We have to be careful, here, with this book from Jude Hunt about rejection—that someone has been genuinely rejected…or simply has a sinful craving for affirmation. I think there’s a line that needs to be watched here. If you’ve read all of these signs that you have experienced a wounded heart, that you’ve had rejection, you could think “that’s why I dress seductively or take seductive pictures or want attention, or do outrageous behavior to get attention.” It could also simply be you’ve got a sinful heart that is pride-filled, that thinks you should get more attention than you’re presently getting. Let me finish up this article: ‘a girl who craves attention from guys, and hopes they’ll notice one of her pictures.’ That’s why they do it. ‘a girl who wants to appear confident, but is weak and lonely on the inside. A girl who enjoys seducing guys by making them want what they can’t have,’ because they lust, and that’s what lust is, ‘Seductive selfies are nothing more than an image that screams “look at me.” They’re an opportunity to point the spotlight on yourself for a brief moment in the hope that someone will notice. And Christian girls are called to a higher standard than that.’

But it was a good word. We need to watch for that, with our girls. We need to watch out for that with our own girls, with our children, church girls. Why are they seeking that sort of affirmation? Could it be out of ignorance? It could be. Could it be, though, that they are pride-filled, and they are trying to get lots of attention. It could be. But it could also be that it comes from rejection and having a wounded heart. I wonder how many girls, and men, suffer from rejection. This from June Hunt’s little booklet: “nothing cuts to the core as deeply as rejection. Even death, while heartbreaking, doesn’t leave such lasting wounds.” Wow, that’s a powerful statement, isn’t it? Rejection leaves deeper cuts than death. Death is somebody dying. Maybe early, maybe not, if you will. But death is something that’s, if you will, natural. Rejection is when somebody says, “I don’t want you. I don’t need you. I don’t care about you.” “The most penetrating wound is the painful rejection of a loved one. Death itself does not pierce your heart as deeply as when you know you have been abandoned.” Psalm 34:18 ‘The Lord is close, however, to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So what is rejection? It’s something that God Himself experienced, over and over again, and still experiences to this day! Matthew 21:42 “the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” Have you been rejected, and you’re wounded, and you’re hurt, and you’re scarred? Guess who else was rejected? Jesus. Do you have an unsympathetic High Priest? You do not. You have One who knows exactly how rejection feels. And frankly if anyone should have been ‘wounded,’ if you will, by rejection, God Himself rejected? You see, I think that’s instructive for you, if you’ve been wounded.  Maybe you’ve been inclined to think ‘it’s because of me.’ ‘My husband looks at porn, therefore he’s rejected me in favor of those images. It’s my fault.’ Was it Jesus’ fault that He was rejected? Could He have done it better? Could He have been a better human? No, He’s the best thing there is. And men rejected Him. And men still do reject Him! Is it His fault? No, it’s their fault. If your husband looks at porn and you feel rejected because of you, that’s wrong, that’s just wrong. It’s his sin and his sin alone.

God was rejected in the Old Testament. Remember how He paints the picture through Hosea. He feels like a man who has been forsaken and left by an adulterous wife? Should God have done a better job and treated the Jews better? No, He did id perfectly, and yet they reject Him. When somebody rejects you, it is not you. You say, ‘but I goofed up,’ right, but it’s still not you. It’s them. It’s always them. It’s their sin. It’s not you. Mark 7:9 “you have a fine way of rejecting the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions,” said Jesus. The Jews forsook the Laws of God to create their own laws. Were the laws of God bad? Were they deficient? Were the human laws better? Certainly not. Jeremiah: they have rejected the word of the Lord. It is replete in Scripture. It goes on and on and on. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” Hebrews. If you have been rejected, make sure that a bitter root does not grow up in you. There is a way to deal with rejection, and it starts with good theology. It starts with a right belief that God has the solution and can grant you the right perspective, and it starts with remembering, first of all, that God Himself was and is rejected, Jesus Himself was and is rejected. Rejection is not the one who is rejected, it is the one who does the rejecting. The deficiency is not in you, the deficiency is in the person who does the rejecting. That helps, doesn’t it? If you do not get your brain around the issue of rejection rightly, you will get a bitter root growing up inside you. You will not feel the way God wants you to feel, and you will become controlled by the issue. Many people are controlled by the fear of rejection. Maybe you have been bitten once, and you do not want to be bitten again because it hurt. I understand that. There is a very good chance it has altered your personality.

Does the Bible speak to that?

Proverbs 29:25 “the fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” What is a fear of rejection? It is a fear of man. This is June Hunt: “If your sense of security and peace is based on the approval of others, you are on a runaway roller coaster with no ability to control when you are up or down, at the mercy of others and what they think about you. To get off of this roller coaster, you need something else to control your life and something else to control your thinking.” What is it? God. Did you not think God could deal with your rejection problem? With your pain problem? Really? This is where theology meets the road.
I was looking up some statistics, and I kept coming back to George Barna, and the number of people who have no idea, the percentage of people who are like “I have no idea how theology works, I dunno how this, I dunno what this, I dunno how this applies to my life, to my marriage, to my kids, to my career, to my—I don’t have a clue how this works” – over 80%. Is it possible that you have fallen into one of those categories, where you had no idea that theology could be so helpful? In 2 weeks, I get to speak at the Answers in Genesis conference on this subject: that Theology Matters. Theology does stuff. Theology can help you if you are struggling with a fear of man because of rejection.

*end segment*

~ Rak Chazak

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