40 Years of Roe v. Wade. Bad Attempts to Correct Bad Behavior?

image credit to repentchurch.com

image credit to repentchurch.com

We recently passed the 40th anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. Research holds that 55,772,015 known cases of abortion have taken place since then. Put differently, in this time, our country alone has aborted what would amount to the 24th largest country on the planet today. Imagine if the entire nation of Italy was eradicated. That’s equivalent to what we’ve done.

Last week I commented on how a western worldview shift into naturalism has affected our collective national ability (or unique inability) to process suffering. This week I’m suggesting that it has drastically altered our perceptions of life.

Case in point, Oxford professor and genius biologist Richard Dawkins was caught up in a Twitter controversy recently. The incident resulted from Dawkins’ encouragements to a young woman lamenting that she would have a difficult moral decision to make if she found out that she was pregnant with a Down’s Syndrome child. See Dawkins’ response:

blog - dawkins

What I do appreciate about Dawkins is his unapologetic candor and the consistency with which he presents his worldview. See, to Dawkins, a secular biologist, evolution is THE operating principle of the world. It is governed by immutable natural laws and it is credited with the progress that mankind has made over the years. While some might argue this is a trite and cliché oversimplification, it nonetheless holds that evolution operates on the premise of “survival of the fittest.” Since this is the case, it then makes no sense to bring into the world human life which would be permanently dependent on other human life. This life wouldn’t advance the cause of humanity but instead hold back the refining process of evolutionary genetic cleansing. Bluntly, a Down’s Syndrome child is not likely to make our species “fitter.” So, according to Dawkins, for the child’s sake and for the parent’s sake, that child has no place in this world. That’s a consistent naturalist viewpoint.

While I mentioned I appreciated Dawkins’ consistent viewpoint, there are some obvious errors and internal inconsistencies that come to light whenever he speaks, especially about what he perceives to be “moral.” First of all, Dawkins is less qualified to comment on what he supposes to be “immoral” than anyone, because there can be no naturalist argument made for morality. As I’ve stated before, any moral argument can only be made based on some form of an appeal to God. An evolutionist’s appeal to morality doesn’t work because, to an evolutionist, if morality exists, it’s merely a developed survival mechanism. With a naturalistic mindset, there cannot be a right and wrong, only a survive or not survive, only an improve life conditions or not. An evolutionist cannot make the argument that it’s “wrong” to bully at school or “wrong” for a more powerful people to oppress a weaker people. This is merely an advancement of the species. The strong eat the weak. Many evolutionists can and do make the case that “moral developments” are part of the evolutionary process, but that still doesn’t make an issue right or wrong, only wise or unwise. In other words, evolution could only possibly account for moral feelings, not moral obligation. What logical right would any one of us have for imposing right or wrong for another on the basis of our personal feelings.

And to be consistent, in the same way that Dawkins doesn’t have a right to push his feels of morality, I don’t have a right to push my personal feelings of morality on him. If that’s our attempt to overturn abortion, I don’t see that ever standing much of a chance. It hasn’t thus far.

Furthermore, when Dawkins is discussing “morality” he’s really only talking about his personal logic. Since his highest goal is the advancement of the species, he deems it inappropriate (i.e. “immoral”) to do anything that might hinder human advancement. Understand though, in regard to every other law we have in society regarding the definitions and standards of the protection of human life, there is nothing illogical about thinking abortion to be a heinous crime. Quite the opposite.

So, for instance, if scientists discovered in outer space the exact same cluster of cells that exist in a pregnant woman in her first term, what would they conclude? Would they say, “We’ve found a zygote on Mars!” Of course not. They would make no reference to a zygote or a fetus or an embryo or any other number of words that 100 years ago would have readily been challenged in a game of Scrabble. No, at such a discovery they would proudly herald, “We’ve found LIFE on Mars!” Why the difference? I’d suggest that Satan’s main means of spiritual deception has historically been to distort words (Gen. 3:1-5; Matt. 4:1-11).

“Well,” someone says, “but that organic matter inside a woman doesn’t prove that it is FULLY a human.” Again, based on the Bible, I’m convinced that it is (Psalm 139:13, 16; Psalm 51:5; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:41, 44). But, let’s just say we don’t know. In a case where there is uncertainty about human life, doesn’t it make the most sense to err on the side of caution? For instance, hunting season is a big deal here in the Midwest. Let’s say a hunter goes out on opening day, sees a rustling in the leaves and that’s the best look he can get. He’s 50/50 certain it’s a deer. Should he pull the trigger? If that rustling is, in fact, just a neighbor kid playing in the woods, should he not be prosecuted if he kills the kid? If he says, “Well, I wasn’t trying to kill a CHILD,” or “My friend standing next to me who knows a lot about hunting said he was pretty sure it was a deer,” does that let him off the hook entirely?

My point is that abortion doesn’t even make consistent sense with our own self-imposed social definitions and standards for the protection of human life.

All that said, impassioned speeches and coherent logical arguments against abortion, while undeniably well-intentioned, haven’t seemed to move the needle too much over the past 40 years.

I’m convinced this is not primarily an ignorance issue (which could be solved through education) or a philosophical issue (which could be solved through debate). This is primarily a heart issue. According to St. Augustine and Martin Luther, sin is basically the human heart “incurvatus in se” (“turned in upon itself”). In other words, sin means I care more about my feelings and my logic than God’s feelings and God’s logic.

image credit to conservapedia.com

image credit to conservapedia.com

Generally speaking, the research on why abortions take place seems to bare this out. For all of the discussion about extreme hypotheticals (e.g. abortions in the case of rape or incest), almost no abortions appear to take place for these reasons. They seem to primarily take place because attachment to this little life would be personally inconvenient to me. Put differently, my heart is turned inward upon my wants, feelings, and logic, not upon God or this child. This is a heart problem.

According to the Bible, there is only one tool for remedying sick hearts – the healing power of the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus was the Father’s Son from eternity past. They were inseparable, connected by a cord of intimate love and service. To pay for my selfishness, God suffered the unthinkable – the Father lost his Son and the Son lost his Father. On his cross, Jesus, the ULTIMATE innocent life was cut off. And we heard the cries of a murdered Son, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Seen for what it is, this is as heart-wrenching and stomach turning as any horrific story or imagery you’ll find online when it comes to the destruction of a vulnerable child.

But why? Why would God voluntarily do such a thing for us?

The Bible says it was so all of our mistakes might somehow be washed away. So that all the life we’ve hurt might somehow be put back together. So that all of our sin might somehow become undone. So that death might somehow become life.

Three days later, that same Son was raised and he proceeded to repeatedly tell his friends and family that they were forgiven and that he desired “Peace (to) be with you” (Luke 24:36; John 20:21, 26).

What can change the nation’s heart about abortion? The grace of Jesus. The Ultimate Innocent Life loved us enough to be prematurely taken so that we, the offenders, would be pardoned of murder. When we clearly see that injustice, we’ll start to see this one too.

A positive development, there seems to be a rising sentiment against abortion in America. While the "cause" of this remains unclear, I personally believe we may be on the verge of a profound spiritual change in our nation.

A positive development, there seems to be a rising sentiment against abortion in America. While the “cause” of this remains unclear, I personally believe we may be on the verge of a profound spiritual change in our nation.

A Uniquely American Problem With Suffering

image credit to doingthewillofgod.com

image credit to doingthewillofgod.com

(The following is largely a summary of insights gained from PART ONE of Timothy Keller’s Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering.)

The Problem of Suffering

In philosophy, the attempt to reconcile the idea of a loving God with the suffering experienced in this world falls under a category called Theodicy. It is, admittedly, an intellectual problem.

Every statement of this problem is a version of the ancient Epicurean version:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” — ‘the Epicurean paradox’.

If God is powerful enough to make us happy, if he’s capable, why doesn’t he just do it? Does he not love us? Does he not want what’s best for us? Does he not want us to be happy?

From a finite human standpoint, this is a problem. It’s a problem for everyone who believes in God. Culturally, many have adjusted by choosing to not believe in God. While this smacks of an attempt at revenge against a God you now believe doesn’t exist, nonetheless, it appears to be an increasingly popular one for young westerners. What’s interesting though is that it doesn’t actually get rid of the problem of suffering. In fact, eliminating God now actually gives you less resource for dealing with the inevitable suffering of life.

Dr. Paul Brand, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating cases of leprosy around the world, has said:

“In the United States … I encountered a society that seeks to avoid pain at all costs. Patients lived at a greater comfort level than any I had previously treated, but they seemed far less equipped to handle suffering and far more traumatized by it.” – Dr. Paul Brand, The Gift of Pain, pg. 12.

Is this true? Are we Americans actually LESS equipped to handle the unavoidable pains of life than many of our less educated, less technologically advanced, less progressive counterparts on the planet?

America is the “Land of Opportunity.” America is the country that teaches children “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up so long as you work hard and put your mind to it.” In other words, America is a country that strongly believes that we are the controllers of our own destiny. In the culminating line of the Back to the Future trilogy, protagonist Marty McFly asks his mentor, the Doc, about events that might cause the future to be altered. And the Doc, enlightened by his many travels, now proclaims, “Marty. The future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one!” That’s American thought in a nutshell. We love it. And we all unavoidably operate, to some extent, with that mentality.

Do you see, however, the problem this presents when suffering arises? If the future is what I create, and the present is misery, that means that the suffering I have before me is not simply a product of a flawed world, but it’s the direct result of me making wrong decisions in the past! This DOUBLE suffering. It’s suffering combined with crippling regret.

Dr. Brand may be on to something – we’re ill-equipped.

Historical Positions on Suffering

The vast majority of the world has historically believed in God/god/gods or at least some notion of higher power/force over mankind. As a result, every culture has been able to make some sense of suffering. For instance…

Hinduism (a form moralism) – Suffering is seen as the result of failing to live rightly. Commonly known as karma, the cosmic scales have tipped against you because of your selfish behavior. If you repent of your bad ways, you will bring forth newer, better life.

Ancient Greek Stoics & Buddhists (a form self-transcendism) – Suffering is largely the result of heightened attachment to the that which is material and transitory. Detach your heart from mere sensory perception and you will find greater happiness.

Ancient Northern Europeans & Muslims (a form fatalism) – Suffering is inevitable. Deal with it by surrendering your will to the fate of an omnipotent, inscrutable God.

Ancient Persian Zoroastrianism & more modern Marxism (dualism) – Suffering is caused by an ongoing battle between the forces of good and evil. Sufferers are necessary casualties of a war that is constantly purging evil until good is victorious.

To process all of this suffering, moralistic cultures call sufferers to live differently. Self-transcendent cultures call sufferers to think differently. Fatalistic cultures call sufferers to embrace one’s destiny nobly. And dualistic cultures call sufferers to put one’s hope in the future.

So, how does this differ from modern westerners? Consider the thoughts of biologist Richard Dawkins, whom I’d personally consider one of the top several influencers on American thought today:

“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. … In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, pgs. 132-133

What, according to Dawkins, is the purpose of suffering? That’s right….there is none. If you find yourself suffering, that means nothing much more than random misfortune. There’s no purpose. There’s no meaning. There’s no silver lining and thus no relief. Try drinking from that cup when your cancer is discovered and see if you find any satisfaction. Even more of a challenge, try explaining this to your child when he/she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. “Sorry. You had some bad luck.”

This reality – western thought’s inability to attach meaning to suffering – does not disprove atheism/agnosticism, nor does it prove theism. It does, undeniably, suggest that Christianity (and for that matter, really any form of theism) provides remarkably greater resources for processing suffering than modern western thought.

In other words, while suffering is indeed a problem for the believer, it is, nonetheless, an even greater problem for the non-believer.

Philosopher Charles Taylor has said that as belief in God has faded from the west, so has a sense of cosmic ordering or meaning to life. In what he calls the western world’s “anthropocentric turn”:

“The sense begins to arise that we can sustain the order [of the world] on our own….Western society’s “highest goal is to … prevent suffering.” –Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, pgs. 373-375

That’s the hollow place we find ourselves today. The purpose of life is to prevent suffering. The purpose of life is comfort, feeling good all the time…until we die.

Dawkins says life is meaningless, so be as happy as you can while you’re here, regardless of how that might affect others. He’s a consistent thinker and I applaud him for that. But I challenge you to find me one person, even Dawkins himself on the right occasion, who doesn’t truly sense there has to be more to life than that?

A Uniquely Biblical Approach to Suffering

While you may find Christians on occasion offering “pat answers” about human suffering, you won’t find the Bible doing such a thing. The Bible offers a multifaceted, balanced, remarkably nuanced view of suffering. Some suffering appears to be a direct result of God’s righteous anger over rebellious unbelief (Gen. 19:1-16; Numb. 16:1-20; Acts 5:1-11). Some suffering appears to be corrective chastisement, altering the thoughts, attitudes, hearts, and behavior of God’s people (Jon. 1-2; Gen. 22:1-19; Job 42:1-6). Some suffering appears to come not despite, but directly because of our attachment to Jesus (Matt. 16:24; John 15:18,20; 1 Pet. 4:12-16).

While many Christians are inclined to confidently offer sentiments about suffering, often to alleviate the awkwardness of being in the presence of someone who is suffering, that Christian is often hastily assessing what he/she does not know. Study the wisdom literature of Scripture and you simply will not come to a neat synopsis on the causes of or prescriptions for suffering. Proverbs tends to emphasize the justice of suffering, i.e. that much of our suffering is related to our own wrongdoing. Job and Ecclesiastes, on the other hand, specifically cite how much of suffering is not caused by us.

It’s not black and white. It’s not even gray. It’s largely unknowably mysterious.

Consequently, a Christian must be very careful not to arrogantly proclaim why specific suffering has occurred. Even though making sense of suffering is a natural impulse, the confident WHY of suffering is a line that even inspired writers of Scripture learn not to cross.

So the first uniquely biblical teaching on suffering is the claim that no one, except God himself, understands the “whys” of suffering in totality.

Still, while we cannot know why suffering always occurs, what God does reveal to us is what he’s willing to do about it. He comes and suffers with us, and even more than that, for us. Let me say that again so that we don’t too quickly bypass this incredible claim that no other religion dares to purport. Because of his great love for us, God voluntarily suffered…

With us“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb. 2:18), and

For us“We do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9)

That’s all you need. See, you and I really don’t need to know why we’re suffering. If we did, would we know how to stop it? For how long? Would we prevent aging entirely?  Death?

Ultimately, while it’s a curiosity, it makes little difference why we’re suffering. It is an inescapable part of the human experience. What we really need to know is that our suffering will one day come to an end AND that while we endure it, we won’t have to do it alone. The gospel proudly proclaims that God loves you enough and is powerful enough to do both.

Current American thought is uniquely ill-equipped to deal with suffering. Fortunately, the gospel is uniquely equipped to remedy that.

image credit to inspireafire.com

image credit to inspireafire.com

Newsweek Proves Itself to Still Be Uninspired Literature: quick thoughts on last week’s controversial article

blog - NewsweekOne of the larger stories in the Christian world to start the new year is the cover article on Newsweek,The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.

Written by Kurt Eichenwald, the article has caught a good deal of attention, especially from fairly offended conservative Christians.

In the article, Eichenwald makes a variety of anti-authority claims about the Bible regarding apparent contradictions, alleged forgeries, and perceived misinterpretations of what the Bible is actually saying against what many conservative Christians have understood it to say – “crazy claims” like the idea that the New Testament teaches Jesus’ divinity.

Eichenwald’s article is long and pretty disjointed. It has a very “Also, did you know about this!” feel to it, which makes it difficult to address in a coherent way. Furthermore, there are so many skeptical attacks that are worth attention here (and I hope to do so in my own church in a future Bible Study), but for our purposes today, let’s just take a look at 5 or so quick takeaways.

1) Sensationalistic Journalism

Quite a few writing techniques that give modern media the “sensationalism” label are in play here. Eichenwald begins the article by referencing some ambiguous, ominous “THEY.” See, this is effective because he’s creating an antagonist that no one who is reading the article would see themselves in – so he doesn’t offend anyone. But, as you’re zealously grabbing your torch and pitchfork to help take down this evil “They” who’s ruining the world, you realize that he’s talking about a caricatured picture of conservative Christianity. So, okay, you see immediately that this Newsweek article is going to be a non-believer’s attempt to deconstruct the Bible and his social commentary on American Christianity.

2) The Hypocrisy of Many “Christians”

After his scathing introduction of the straw man who even the most compassionate of us would find unsympathetic, Eichenwald says, “The Bible is not the book many American fundamentalists and political opportunists think it is, or more precisely, what they want it to be. Their lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established.” Alright, he’s starting to reel me in, at least on this point. Eichenwald calls these people “cafeteria Christians” or “God’s frauds” (how’s that for inflammatory language). But, I believe he’s largely right on with this point. To me, the train of thought that currently poisons American Christianity can be summarized in three short phrases – “Yes, I’m a Christian. No, I don’t believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Yes, I think I’m a pretty good person.” As far as I’m concerned, this is public enemy number one with Christianity: 1) cultural assumption of Christian faith; 2) lack of respect, especially amongst professed “Christians,” for biblical authority; 3) disguising religious moralism as Christianity. This perfect storm breeds hypocrisy and confusion, ultimately generating a palpable animosity towards Christianity in modern American culture.

Eichenwald’s point here is familiar – the hypocrisy of American Christianity – people (esp. politicians) who thump the Bible for their own personal convenience. In biblical terms, they’re called “Pharisees.” Eichenwald is saying that their lack of biblical familiarity is embarrassing for them. While I’m not sure he recognizes how ironic he’s being, there’s certainly some truth to Eichenwald’s assertion – perhaps more than ever, we have many people who label themselves as Christians who don’t either know about or believe the central claims, major themes, or compelling characters of the Christian Bible. We have “Christians” who don’t read their Bibles. However, while we both agree that more Biblical literacy would be good, Eichenwald seems to believe that if people read their Bibles more, they would come to his conclusions. I contend they’d come to many of the opposite.

3) Trusting the Bible?

Under a section titled “Playing Telephone with the Word of God”, Eichenwald says,

“At best, we’ve all read a bad translation (of the Bible)—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.”

I’m not even sure where to begin with this. At times, the author comes off like a 5th grader calling a 1st grader stupid for not understanding how the world works. And yes, I understand it sounds a little arrogant and patronizing to refer to Eichenwald as a 5th grader or Newsweek readers as 1st graders, but it seems inescapably clear to me that he hasn’t ever really studied anything about textual transmission. And I’m guessing that his argument here would only work on someone who has never really studied the topic either. Biblical recording was not a Kindergarten game of telephone! You have guys whose lives were dedicated to recording a text that they perceived as divinely inspired. Consequently, manuscripts were copied with great care and detail. The greatest archeological find of the twentieth century, the Dead Sea Scrolls, proved exactly that point. Furthermore, if any outrageous claims or mistakes were found in a manuscript, the original community of readers would have functioned a bit like Wikipedia – it was self-correcting. No writer would have gotten away with inserting unsubstantiated claims. That’s why when Paul makes incredible claims about a Risen Savior he points to hundreds of living witnesses whom he wants his readers to consult (1 Cor. 15:6). False claims would have been (and in the case of the Gnostic Gospels were) dismissed as fallacious.

4) Bart Ehrman and “scholars”

Next, the author starts quoting Bart Ehrman, the main “scholar” he cites in his argument. If you don’t know, Bart Ehrman is the darling of many academic, liberal skeptics of the Bible. He’s very bright and he’s considered to be a leading voice in original text studies…I should say, considered so by many liberal skeptics. He’s appealing to them because he once considered himself an evangelical, he graduated at the top of his class at his Christian schools, and then he took a turn for agnosticism. And now he’s got an ax to grind. Understand that, to some extent, he’s allowed to teach biblical studies at public universities precisely because he’s NOT a Christian. It’s virtually impossible for an evangelical Christian to chair a department of religious studies at a public university and teach what they personally believe to be the truth. Consequently, it’s nearly impossible in today’s society for a conservative Christian to somehow be deemed “scholarly” by mainstream media.

If you actually take the time to read through or listen to Bart Ehrman, you get the impression that, like many notable atheist voices, he’s comes off much less like an unbiased atheist and much more like a ticked-off theist. Don’t take my word for it. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert has launched a couple of basic points that Erhman didn’t handle particularly well. Better yet, watch his debate with Dinesh D’Souza. It’s lengthy, but make sure you get to the point where Erhman basically exposes the cause of his unbelief – HINT: it’s NOT textual evidence. Supposed textual criticisms are merely his rationalization for his unbelief. Ehrman’s unbelief ultimately stems from the fact that he cannot reconcile the idea of suffering with a loving God who deserves worship. In other words, while Erhman holds some impressive degrees, he’s as biased as the rest of us, and his faith or lack thereof corrupts his objectivity.

5) Apparent Biblical Contradictions, Forgeries, and Inaccuracies?

Is the famous story of John 8, the woman caught in adultery, authentic? Is the end of Mark 16 authentic? Is 2 Peter authentic? What about doctrinal claims central to Christianity: Does the Bible really teach the Trinity? What about difficulties with biblical genealogies? Multiple and contradictory Creation accounts? What about the historical claims like the political corruption of the Council of Nicaea or Constantine’s forcing of books into the Bible? Honestly, in the world of Biblical defense, these are fairly Little League arguments that have been addressed countless times for centuries. None of it is new. The only thing that’s truly “new” about them in 2014 is, as the author pointed out, that we are now apparently biblically illiterate enough that they work on us. I didn’t find one single thing in Eichenwald’s article that I hadn’t heard, nor heard an explanation of, before. While I can’t work through every claim, I will point you to some sites that offer thorough explanations: carm.org; answersingenesis.org; leestrobel.com; apologeticspress.org; livingwaters.com. These are just a few of my favorites.

6) The “Man Without the Spirit”

Near the end of the article, Eichenwald says, “None of this is meant to demean the Bible, but all of it is fact.” Again, all this really exposes is that this is the best sense someone who doesn’t have faith can make of the Bible. He doesn’t understand that calling the Bible a corrupted Word of Man is demeaning to it or to Christians, and he is entirely blind to see the difference between facts and his personal opinions. I’m not sure we can hope for anything better. The Apostle Paul tells us Eichenwald simply CANNOT understand: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

So, what, if anything can we take from the article?

It’s easy and understandable to get offended at someone mocking, even if not intentionally, that which you consider holy. The natural (i.e. “fallen”) human instinct is to fight back. Consider today’s terrorist bombings in Paris. One of the gunmen was caught on video shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” — an apparent reference to the newspaper’s 2011 caricature that angered Muslims and led to a firebombing of its offices. In Islam, when someone mocks God, the noble thing to do is to destroy the infidel. In Christianity, when someone mocks God, the noble thing to do is say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 24:34) A Christian group that responds to Eichenwald with hatred is no better than the hypocritical, unchristlike, biblically illiterate people who Eichenwald claims we are.

Instead, perhaps we can take some of his accusations to heart. Perhaps even apologize.

Maybe some of us do tend to cherry pick in judgment whichever sins are most personally convenient for us. Maybe some of us do tend to primarily seek to compel faith, spiritual gifts, and sanctified behavior through political legislation. Maybe some of us are even a bit biblically illiterate. For these and a host of other sins, we can listen to Eichenwald’s (albeit misinformed) encouragement to repent, and confess with David, “For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” (Psalm 25:7)

Repentance and a turn to the God of grace and limitless forgiveness is always a blessing.