Demand and Supply

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The title is not a mistake. Let me explain.

The news reported that President Trump wanted to use the money seized from El Chapo’s drug empire to fund the wall.

Various news organizations reported that El Chapo’s cartel was responsible for 100,000 deaths (murders) over the last decade and that El Chapo’s personal worth was around 17 billion in US dollars. If true, that would go a long way in funding a wall.

I wish to say at this point that I’m not against the wall. I am all for safe and legal immigration but what we have now is certainly not legal nor safe for US citizens or the masses trying to get in. If a wall helps, so be it. Ultimately a wall will not help all that much with the drugs for one simple reason.

The reason is Demand and Supply. If there is a demand someone will supply it if there is money to be made.

El Chapo was a business man-an evil one, but a business man none-the-less. Think a Mexican god-father here. What does a business do? It sells what people want. A business or a godfather makes money by supplying a particular demand.

Consider our own laws regarding prohibition. Alcohol was banned but it did nothing to curb demand. The laws may have made alcohol harder to get but bootleggers (like the Capone mob in Chicago) managed to supply the demand.

As long as Americans demand drugs there will be an El Chapo seeking to supply them. This does not exonerate an evil criminal; but it does say something about those choosing drug addiction.

Yes, I said choosing drug addiction. I would grant that addictions feel like a disease but on the other hand it’s a disease a person chooses to get (or risk getting).

The human heart is the problem. Scripture is quite clear about our propensity to sin and worship gods other than the God of the Bible (Rom. 1:18-32). Walls, fences, barriers can assist in controlling a problem or a life-dominating sin but unless the heart changes the best you can hope for is some behavioral change that may or may not stick.

This does not mean drug addicts will not need rehab; in many cases they do.

I say use El Chapo’s 14 billion to help drug addicts get off the drugs and to educate others as to what drug addiction actually looks like and how it destroys lives. My prayer is that Christians would be involved so they can point to Christ as the person’s ultimate solution to our biggest problem. That would be change that sticks.

Breaking free from that which enslaves.

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Lying to Self by Misinterpreting the Facts (Matt 7:1-5, 12)

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Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10 ESV)

This was my passage one morning some time ago in my devotional. In the author’s commentary (Tabletalk Magazine) on the passage he said this:

“Each of us is prone to different sins, but if there is one transgression that we all have committed, it is the sin of lying…The great man of letters Mark Twain was surely on to something when he said, ‘A man is never more truthful than he acknowledges himself a liar.”’

I found this to be an alarming statement since I consider myself to be an honest person. This is not to say I’ve never lied. Certainly I have I just don’t remember when. Or do I? Oh yes, there was that time back in 1977 when I told this whopper. Or was it in 1971 when I was bragging about something?

If you are like me, and you are, then you’ll minimize your lying to a few select occurrences way back in your past and like me, consider yourself an honest person. We’re so blind to the depth of our sin and so anxious to appear righteous that we are hopeless minimizers of our own problems. Here’s what the commentator said next:

“Twain’s statement, no doubt unintentional on his part, captures an essential biblical truth: ‘All men are liars’ (Psa. 116:11) Born in Adam, we come into this world with a view of truth that winks at the twisting of facts for the sake of personal benefit.”

Think about that for a second-we will wink at the twisting of facts for the sake of personal benefit. Ouch!

We like to confine those kinds of tactics to politicians but the fact is we all do it!

Each of us lives out our lives not on the basis of facts, but on how we chose to interpret facts. In other words, our perception of the facts becomes our reality. Consider an example with tragic consequences:

I once counseled a couple where the woman was convinced her husband was cheating on her. The situation was complicated by the fact that early in the marriage (some 25 years before) he had done so. He had repented she had forgiven him when it had happened.

Fact: The husband cheated on his wife 25 years prior.

Fact: The husband had repented.

Fact: The wife had forgiven him.

They both agreed to the facts and until the last year or two the incident seemed to be regulated to their distant past.

What happened is that this poor gal began to interpret various current circumstances as evidence that he once again was cheating on her.

When he worked overtime, it was because he was with another woman. Never mind his check stub showed overtime and he could produce witnesses that he indeed was at work when he said he was.

When something was out of place in their home it was because some other woman had been there to mess things up. The husband’s denials fell on death ears.

The woman would not even listen their adult son who told his beloved mother she was acting irrationally.

In this woman’s mind all types of circumstantial “facts” led her to conclude the husband was cheating on her again. She really believed she had figured it all out and had become a prosecuting attorney determined to be proven right.

The poor woman had worked herself into a “suspicion frenzy” and was driving herself crazy and her husband as well. There was nothing the poor guy could do to prove his loyalty or put her mind at ease. Her perception was her reality. Her interpretation was the only interpretation.

“Born in Adam, we come into this world with a view of truth that winks at the twisting of facts for the sake of personal benefit.”

I felt a great deal of sympathy for them both. The one time victim of adultery had become the victimizer with a heart of bitterness that blinded her to alternative interpretations of circumstances.

What she wanted; what she desired, no demanded, in her heart was an absolute guarantee that her husband had not cheated again and would not.

The husband even produced a hand written statement repenting again of the first offense, swearing he had not repeated the offense and committing himself to her alone.

She would accept this and did not accept my counsel that at some point she just had to trust God explaining to her that we all are fallible and that speaking in absolutes from a human point of view does not recognize the weaknesses of our own hearts-even hers.

I further explained that we are so messed up we do not realize that even when we have facts we will twist the interpretation of those facts for the sake of our own benefit.

The poor woman did not understand this. She did not recognize that she had turned herself over to serving an idol of security. The normal desire to want security from her husband had turned into an absolute demand fueled by his long-ago infidelity. She could not or would not grasp that she had become a slave to her idol and looked to that idol as “her savior.”

Jesus dealt with the issue of judging righteously in Matthew 7:1-5:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5, ESV)

Sadly, the poor woman would not apply this passage nor any other and left counseling convinced that I was involved in the conspiracy.

“Born in Adam, we come into this world with a view of truth that winks at the twisting of facts for the sake of personal benefit.”

This is an important truth. Jesus summed up what our attitude should be when interpreting the facts:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Lying to Self by Misinterpreting the Facts (Matthew 7:1-5,12)

Leave a comment

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10 ESV)

This was my passage one morning some time ago in my devotional. In the author’s commentary (Tabletalk Magazine) on the passage he said this:

“Each of us is prone to different sins, but if there is one transgression that we all have committed, it is the sin of lying…The great man of letters Mark Twain was surely on to something when he said, ‘A man is never more truthful than he acknowledges himself a liar.”’

Read more at Missio Dei Fellowship…

 

Defining Emotions

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As a certified biblical counselor (ACBC) I am often confronted with the power of emotion and the havoc that emotion can play in a person’s life.

In the past week I’ve seen this played out numerous times. The case of Eliot Rodgers and the massacre he perpetrated comes to mind first.

We live in a highly therapeutic  culture that takes an evolutionary, non-cognitive view of emotions especially at the popular level. This explanation of the non-cognitive view is found  in Pastor Brian Borgman’s Faith and Feelings book.

Emotions? Cognitive or not cognitive?

Emotions? Cognitive or not cognitive?

The non-cognitive view is generally an evolutionary perspective that sees emotions as a physiological change in feeling ( e.g. sweaty palms, racing heart, euphoria), which is claimed by the person experiencing the change (fear, happiness, etc.) In other words we are subject to our emotions and not ultimately  responsible for them. They are something that happens to us, physically and chemically. We cry and feel sadness. We feel anxiety because our hearts race.

The non-cognitive view is the prevailing view in our therapeutic culture and frankly, it’s the prevailing view in many evangelical churches. It means, among things that emotions are sovereign and that humans are nothing more than a “bag of chemicals” to use counselor Elyse Fitzpatrick’s phrase.

The other view of emotions is the cognitive view. Again, here is Borgman with an explanation:

The cognitive view of the emotions sees the emotions as based on beliefs, standards, judgments, evaluations, concerns and thoughts. The emotions and reason are interdependent. The emotions are not simply impulses; they are indicators of what we value and what we believe…The  emotions reflect and express the inner man, the heart, the soul, the mind.

Borgman’s explanation of what emotions are is the biblical explanation. The contrast between the non-cognitive view and the cognitive view could not be sharper especially when we realize we are responsible for our emotions! The old “I can’t help how I feel” simply does not line up with  Scriptural teaching.

It should be quite clear that if emotions influence motives and conduct then we had better be able to do something about controlling them. And Christians should look to the Scriptures as to how to do that.

Borgman concludes, “the emotions are more than feelings; they tell us what we value and what we believe, producing desires and inclinations that affect our behavior.”

If this was not true then the apostle Paul’s words below would not make any sense at all:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

For more on the cognitive view of emotions follow the link to an op ed by David Brooks in the NYT. His comments on human nature are helpful.

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