Perspective changes everything. If a person is willing to change their perspective, it can literally change their life. Let’s give a new perspective to the Third Commandment in relation to First Baptist Church and, Jack Schaap, former Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
The Third Commandment. What it means.
“The Third Commandment also has not fared well in English. Lo tissa et shem Ha-Shem Eloheikha la-shav is usually translated as “You shall not TAKE the Lord your God’s name in vain.” Many people think that this means that you have to write God as G-D, or that it is blasphemous to say words such as “god-damn.” Even if these assumptions are correct, it’s still hard to figure out what makes this offense so heinous that it’s included in the document that forbids murdering, stealing, idolatry, and adultery. However, the Hebrew, Lo tessa, literally means “You shall not CARRY [God’s name in vain]”; in other words don’t use God as your justification in selfish causes. The Third commandment is the only one concerning which God says, “for the Lord God will not forgive him who carries His name in vain” (Exodus 20:6-7). The reason now seems to be clear. When a person commits an evil act, he discredits himself. But when a religious person commits an evil act in the name of God, he or she discredits God as well. And since God relies on religious people to bring knowledge of Him into the world, He pronounces this sin unpardonable.” — Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy
As a religious cult survivor, it is comforting to know that all those that have carried God’s name in vain to suit their own selfish causes will not be pardoned for it. There is no distinction between male and female or, religious denomination. Everyone will have to give account to God for the abusive ways they manipulated scripture, manipulated people, spiritually abused others, emotionally abused others, sexually abused others, physically abused others – all in the name of God or under the “guise” of religion. The abuses that are hidden under the guise of religion are rampant and have been hidden for centuries while the victims have been silenced, shunned and shamed.
If only religious leaders could rightly divide the scriptures, learning and teaching the truth as it should be taught. Grace and compassion are missing. “Unconditional” love is missing. You know. . . that kind of love that loves people despite their shortcomings, despite their sins, despite the way they dress, despite what they believe? Well. . . maybe you don’t know about that kind of love since it is not taught or practiced in many religious institutions. As a result of the twisted theologies and teachings, many are blinded by “conditional” love instead of “unconditional” love. People that practice “conditional” love:
- Only love those that live and believe as they do.
- Only associate with those that live and believe as they do.
- Shun others that live and believe differently.
- Isolate themselves and their families from the rest of the world.
- Silence opposition to their religious beliefs.
- Fight against independent thought and questioning of religious authority, dogma, rules and bad behaviors.
- Usually practice a “fear-based” system of worship that keeps them in bondage to the church, the church leadership and the twisted dogmas.
- Live their lives in religious bondage and do not even realize it.
- Serve men and their religious institutions instead of the living God.
- Hide abuses for fear of retaliation from religious leaders.
“Conditional” love is rooted in selfishness, control and power. “Conditional” love is all about the individual or organization while “unconditional” love is rooted in GOD and OTHERS. Make the distinction in your life and learn to love others as God loves you. It will not only change your perspectives regarding others, it will change the way you treat them!
It’s time for people to wake up and realize that “conditional” love toward others is not of God – at least, not the God I know . It more suits the god of this world instead.
Now, let’s look at this in relation to Jack Schaap and First Baptist Church of Hammond:
If you have not read the sentencing document that I posted, I urge you to do so: Sentencing Memorandum
Although there are many parts of this memorandum that stand out, I would like to point out that First Baptist Church of Hammond turned their backs on the victim and her family. Jack Schaap turned his back on this family, his family, and his congregants by committing the crime and exposing them to the aftermath of humiliation and shame.
Reading this memorandum broke my heart. The letter from the mother to the courts talking about how they were treated by First Baptist Church and the “after effects” of all of this on her daughter, was heart-wrenching. How could a church do such a thing to a “loyal” family in their congregation? Answer: Conditional Love and Selfishness. How could Jack Schaap do such a thing? Answer: Conditional love for his congregants, his family, and Selfishness.
This family did something that no one is allowed to do in religious circles. They exposed an abuse by leadership. Sadly, they are reaping the consequences of that action. First Baptist Church’s actions toward this family do not mirror Christ, do not show Love and do not edify the body of believers. Instead, it shows a lack of basic human kindness and love. It also shows a lack of INTEGRITY. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole,complete). In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold [Wikipedia]. First Baptist Church also showed a lack of ETHICS. They “say” what they believe and do NOT practice it. “God is a God of ETHICS.” — Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. First Baptist Church just showed the world that they are not a church that practices ethics by the way they have outcast this family and deserted them in their time of need. They just showed the world that they have no integrity.
Genuine love is missing. Without love, they have NOTHING and ARE NOTHING. Doesn’t God say that they are “…as sounding brass”? God is not part of a ministry that does not show love and lacks integrity and ethics. The most important time in a person’s life to be a testimony of Christ and his love is when tragedy happens. To withdraw the milk of human kindness, love and compassion shows the world how heartless, unloving, uncaring, selfish and hateful a person(s) or entity is. It doesn’t matter what First Baptist Church of Hammond says anymore, they have failed the test of INTEGRITY. They chose their “reputation” of good works over the lives of a family in their church. Who in their right mind would want to be a part of a ministry where the potential lies for this to happen to them? Think about it. But all is not lost. They can change if they WANT to. The first step in that change would be approaching this hurting family and HUMBLING themselves and apologizing. THEN, receive them back into the sheepfold they have been cast out of, showering them with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Simple fix.