It’s not just the lies, it’s the tragedies.
FEBRUARY 22, 2023
It’s not just the lies, it’s the tragedies. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious clichés. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been with us, we’re looking at some of the themes in a book I wrote called Laughter and Lament. And in order to get to the laughter, you’ve got to go through the lament. In order to hear the good news, you’ve got to hear the bad news. And we’ve been spending a long time in the bad news. And if you are still with me, God bless you. You are a warrior. You are one who perseveres cause this is really hard stuff. Most of it’s from a chapter in the book called Life is Hard and then You Die. We’ve talked about the nature of the world, our own sins, the nature of the sins of others that we love, the way we all get destroyed in that, and how God calls us to lament, a retching lament over that. And then we looked at the supernatural implications of that. We looked at a number of Biblical themes that had to do with Satan, and he is called by Jesus the father of lies. And because he is, the lies he tells about us, to us can get you down and put you in a bad place. But it’s not just the lies, as the television physician House said, everybody lies. It’s the tragedies, it’s the unfulfilled promises, it’s the meaninglessness, it’s the false hopes, it’s the emptiness and the despair, the destroyed marriages, the broken hearts of the unwary. And John 18:37 through 38 Jesus said.
That he had come into the world to bear witness to the truth.
And when Pilot cynically responds, what is truth? He was asking maybe the most important question anyone can ask. If I had been there and could have mustered up the courage, I would’ve said, are you stupid or what? Truth is standing in front of you and you’re blind to it. Truth stands in front of all of us and we’re blind to it too. Satan is the father of lies. He uses some of the truth to float small lies about who we are, why we were created, and what is important and what isn’t. Those lies destroy people, and when we become aware of those lies, the normal result is tears of lament. Now, I could go on and on about the darkness. Teaching you on this broadcast and writing it in the book has been very difficult because I don’t like this place. Nobody likes this place, but when Jesus bids us, go there, and he does, he goes with us. Not only that, Jesus gives us permission to experience the darkness and to cry the tears. It’s called lament and believe it or not, that lament is healing and healthy. What isn’t healing and healthy is pretending the world is a garden where we walk through the flowers with Jesus, but there are flowers. We’ll go there, but first we’ve got to stay in the darkness for just a little bit longer, so stay with me. This is from a chapter in the book called Life is Hard and then You Get Angry. This morning when I was writing this, that morning I answered a letter from a woman whose husband had just committed suicide. I was, so sorry for her loss and the pain she was feeling. And of course I prayed for her and the family, but do you know what else I felt? I was angry. I told her that she should be angry too. I even offered to teach her how to cuss if she didn’t know how. And you are thinking, are you crazy? Sometimes, but I wasn’t in that case, the truth is that she won’t walk in the light again until she experiences and expresses the anger that comes from the dark. Of course, I said more than that, but I did say that to her because it was important that she hear it. I have been doing this for a very long time, and I’ve done more, cleaned up after more suicides and then done the services for the person who killed themselves, more often than you would believe. And in those services, and it makes people angry. I mentioned the name of the person who took their lives, and I say, if Sam were here today, I would yell at him for what he did. How could he do this? And that makes people uncomfortable. But what I’m doing when I say something like that is that I’m providing a place of healing because listen to me, anger is a part of God’s economy. Anger is a place of healing. As I said, when I talked to that lady whose husband committed suicide, I told her that Christians aren’t exempt from being human. Depression is a demon, we sometimes face. And her husband, who by the way, was a Christian is home. I’ve told her that God said to him, I know it’s hard and this isn’t the way to do it, but you come on home. But with all of that being said, suicide is selfish. And a lot that we’ve been talking about is, and it ought to make you angry because anger, as I said, is a part of God’s economy, Paul said.
Be angry, but don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. Not a super fun day talking about darkness in lament, but it is so good for us to do it. We’ll continue with our exploration of Laughter and Lament tomorrow. Do hope you’ll join us. So, sticking with the same theme, you may be facing something hard in your life right now. Something stressful or painful or difficult. Well, know this, that Jesus identifies with you. In fact, Steve spoke about this in a powerful sermon called When Tears Are All That’s Left. Take a listen to part of that sermon right now and then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.
You remember the 11th chapter of John. Jesus is doing what Jesus does and then he gets a message from Mary and Martha who says the one, your brother, Lazarus. The one you loved is dying and Jesus shilly shallys. And Lazarus dies, and then he decides to go to Bethany and be with him. Martha says to Jesus, if you had been here, this wouldn’t have happened. And then she realized who she was talking to and she said, but it’s going to be okay. And then Mary didn’t even correct it. If you had been here, he wouldn’t have died. And then Jesus goes down to the graveyard and then Jesus said, come forth, and that dead man got up out of the grave and he walked. You should have been there, but I want you to see the tears of Jesus. In Luke 19, Jesus sweeps over the city of Jerusalem and I’m the patriot too and I understand. And the only other time in all of Scripture where Jesus sweeps is in the text that I just read to you. And the question before the house is this. How come? I mean, he was God. Lazarus didn’t have to die. And even if he died, Jesus was going to call him out of the tomb. The dead man was going to get up and walk. Why in the world was Jesus crying? He was going to fix it. You know, I read The Shack, have you read that book? You ought to read it. That book will get to you. Or if you read Eldredge’s books, if you read those books, what they do for our minds is they break us out of the mold and we learn to see there’s something behind the something that we thought was there. Now, this is an interesting description of what goes on with Lazarus, but what’s really going on? I’ll tell you, it’s a foretaste of a battle. If you had stood on Calvary and your spiritual blindness had been removed, you would’ve gone, whoa, wow because there would be a cosmic battle going on and one that Jesus and his legions won. And this is a foretaste of that. You know what’s happening in the graveyard in Bethany, Jesus, the Savior is doing battle with old man death. I talked to a woman in Dallas this week, in fact, last night, whose husband died. They thought he’d been killed and then they discovered he committed suicide and she’s devastated. And all he did was talk about Jesus. He’s been faithful all these years. He’s loved his family. He’s been faithful to the church. He’s given so much. And they were very generous to Key Life and we wept together on the phone. And I thought about Bethany in the graveyard where Jesus made an obscene gesture at death. And said, death, be not proud, leave this place. And death fled. And Lazarus got out of the grave and he walked. And I think that is way cool. You afraid of death? Well, if you’re not, you’re a fruitcake. You wake up in the middle of the night and say, it’s not my brother or my sister, it’s me. It’s one out of one and I’m going to die. Some of you young people don’t do that often, but I’m old and cramming for finals and I don’t even like that thought. The good news is you’re going to heaven, the bad news is you’re going on Thursday. I’m not happy, but I think of the graveyard in Bethany when Jesus did battle with death. Death be not proud.
Mm, so powerful. Again, the name of that sermon is When Tears Are All That’s Left. Listen, if you are going through it right now, could we send you this sermon on CD? Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that sermon CD. And if you’d like to mail your request, just go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Again, just ask for the CD called When Tears Are All That’s Left. Finally, have you ever considered partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is pretty easy actually. You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.