Heartfelt Gratitude is Rare

We can find reasons to complain every day of our lives. After all, we live in a broken, messed up world, and life doesn’t seem unfold like we wish it would many times. People, including family and friends will wrong you, good health will elude us, authority will exploit you, flat tires tend to happen when we are running late, there never seems to be enough money, well, and then we can talk about politics, taxes, healthcare, scandals, etc. 

Some folks seem to just like having something that gives them reason to complain. Simply listen to the conversations around you; there’s a lot of complaining going on.

But I would say there is far more to be grateful about if we pause for a few minutes to count our blessings. There is a difference in saying “Thank you” and truly being thankful. Heartfelt thanksgiving should flow from a general heart of gratitude. Anyone can focus on the frustrations of life, but gratitude is a choice. People who really understand the heart of God realize we have so much to be grateful. 

For example, aren’t you grateful for your next breath? Even on our really tough days, we have so much to be thankful for compared to the majority of the world’s population. Maybe we should spend more time being grateful than complaining. Maybe we should spend more time presenting our requests to God immersed in a thankful heart instead of being anxious and stressed out. (Phil 4:4-7) 

Maybe, just maybe God REALLY meant it when He inspired Paul to write Phil 2:14-16, “Do EVERYTHING without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” THEN you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. 

If we all focused on all the reasons we have to be grateful and allow a thankful heart to dominate our thinking, our lives would have much less stress and anxiety. I think it is important to be consciously aware of how blessed we truly are; being grateful affects our entire outlook on life.

Being grateful refocuses your minds and hearts on God’s faithfulness and blessings. It stabilizes our thoughts and emotions in a positive place instead of the slippery slope of negativity. Being consciously aware of all we have to be grateful for makes us more understanding, sensitive, kind, and patient. It also has an on-going deepening affect on our personal relationship with Christ and our spiritual development journey.    

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’d be more thankful if…” Have you ever had that kind of thought float through your mind? It would be so much easier to be grateful if my circumstances were better or if my health was better, or if finances were better, or of my relationships were better. 

It is so easy to allow our gratitude to be governed by our circumstances and emotions or by what we are unhappy with rather than by all of our blessings. Pick the topic; health, relationships, business, finances, etc. No matter how tough it is for you, there are others enduring much more over-whelming circumstances.

So let me ask that question again.  What are you thankful for, even now, in the chaos that is 2020?  Maybe you should take a few moments and to “count your many blessings, name them one by one, and you’ll be surprised what the Lord hath done”.

Faith Needs to be Fueled by a Grateful Heart

The only truly lasting motivation for Christ-follower to continue following Christ is because we want to please Jesus Christ out of a deep heart of gratitude for all He has done for you.

Fear of hell is not a lasting motivator. People who choose to “follow” Christ because they don’t want to go to hell are usually not very good at actually following Him in obedience, surrender, humility, etc. Only those with deeply felt gratitude consistently will lay down their agendas, opinions, etc to follow Christ wherever He leads them.

Now, I don’t deserve to be saved, much less be in ministry. All that God does in us and for us and through us is by grace through faith. So out of a deep, abiding, heartfelt gratitude for the fact that I have a personal relationship with Christ, I want to actually give my life to Jesus Christ, and I want to serve Him in any way possible. Surrender is made easier when there is deeply felt gratitude.

I know that your heart is like my heart, and my life goal is to one day stand before Jesus Christ and have Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” At that point He says that it will be worth it all. You won’t be in heaven five seconds and you’ll say, “Why didn’t I serve more? Why didn’t I give more? Why didn’t I love more? Why didn’t I obey more?”

Hebrews 11 is the classic chapter on faith. Verse 6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  If I’m not walking in faith, I’m not pleasing God. The Bible is even more specific when it says, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” If I’m not walking in faith, I am walking in sin. That’s strong stuff!

Faith is visualizing the future in advance. It is seeing the future in the present. Every great achievement began when somebody saw it in advance. We didn’t put a man on the moon until one day JFK stood up and said, “Let’s put a man on the moon.” When he said that, the technology had not even been invented.

Faith is believing when I don’t see it. Some things have to be believed before they can be seen. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.” You have to see it in advance.

Faith is obeying when you don’t understand it. Abraham is a classic example of obeying when he didn’t understand. He was about 75 years old, and God asked him to give up all his security. God said, I want you to leave. Pick up everything and get ready for the greatest adventure of your life.

The scary part of it is God gave Abraham no details. Abraham says, “Where are we going?” God says, You’ve never heard of it. “How long is it going to take?” You’ll find out. “How will I know when I get there?” I’ll let you know.

Sometimes God will tell you to do something and you’ll think, “There’s no way this is going to work!” Yet, God says, Do it! And guess what? It works!

Life is like the Morning Fog

Scripture says, “The plans of man are many, but his steps are ordered by the Lord”. We are a people who are constantly making plans. We plan in good faith, as if we have some certainty about the future. We discuss details and made plans, yet none of us know for sure what tomorrow holds.

We presume upon that which belongs to God. We are not in control of tomorrow. We only have right now, today, without any assurance of another sunrise. We are so sure of tomorrow that we begin early to teach our young folks to plan for things they only hope they will see. There is nothing wrong with planning; as a matter of fact it is a necessity. I believe in long-range strategic planning, but at the same time we must remember only God truly knows tomorrow.

There once was a man named Herb, who proudly showed his wife some very special lures he had just purchased. These very special lures were going to help him to catch big fish in a Canadian province. He had a brochure of where he was going and took special care to describe how the trip was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to fish for Musky in Canada. The very next day, Herb had been found dead after working in a neighbor’s woodshed.

We have all heard those type stories; the seemingly healthy 55-year-old man retires early to enjoy is hobby, then dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, or the victim of a freak accident, or the disease that comes out of no where who reek havoc on someone’s life. Based on our life experiences, we all know we have no guarantee of tomorrow. We might live in denial of that fact, but we all know it to be true.            

Life is very uncertain. There are no guarantees. Life is just a vapor; here one minute and gone the next.  Scripture says, “Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit. How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog; it’s here a little while, and then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

I would encourage you to resolve the unresolved or tying up any loose ends while you can. “I’m fixin’ to” or “I’m about to” never got anything accomplished in the history of mankind. Easy thing or hard thing, bad thing or good thing, relationship thing or health thing, financial thing or spiritual thing; resolve it or start resolving it today.       

Is there something you need to say to someone or something you need to do?  Is there a habit you need to start or stop?  Do it today, because just with Herb, or the stories of people you know, we have no guarantee of tomorrow. 

Does Christ Know You?

Matthew 7:21-23 is pretty scary. I am worried about many people who consider themselves Christians. Jesus clearly says that there will be some people who consider themselves Christ-followers who will spend eternity in hell. The actual quote is “Not everyone who says to be ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (v.21).

Then He follows that with this statement, “Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and perform many miracles? Then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evil doers!” (v.22-23).   

Those verses should cause any Christ-follower to pause and consider their eternity. Jesus also makes it clear who gets to spend eternity in heaven when He said, “but only he who does the will of my Father” (v.21). 

Scripture is consistent throughout; obedience as evidence of the indwelling saving work of the Holy Spirit is the primary test for loving God and having a relationship with Christ (John 14:15-21).

Praying a prayer, being baptized, attending church faithfully, giving money, going through confirmation, nor any other work or deed alone can save a person. The greatest evidence of a personal relationship with Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit in you evidenced by an obedient heart. 

Obedience seems to be a key defining mark of a Christ-follower. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” The word “only” is deafening! “Only” the person who obeys God will be in heaven.    

Plastic Christians are killing the church. There are two disturbing issues; first, people who have a personal relationship with Christ, but are so bogged down with religion they are not authentic Christ-followers, and secondly, those who claim to know Christ, have been through all the motions of religion, but in reality they do not know Christ.

The second is much worse than the first. The first group is killing the redemptive potential of the local church, but they will go to heaven. 

The second group are not only killing they redemptive potential of the local church, but they will know spend eternity in heaven. Knowing the facts about Christ is different than actually “knowing” Christ. In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul tells us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”.

In other words, if you have a personal relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit will indwell you, and He will work in you to want to obey and to actual follow-through with obeying God. Therefore, if you find yourself not wanting to obey, or unwilling to obey God, Paul would say “with fear and trembling” you had better figure out if you truly have experienced the life-change that comes with a personal relationship with Christ. 

Because, you see, the real question is not, “Do you know Christ?”, but rather “Does Christ know you?”

Feel Like a Failure? God ALWAYS has a Plan

Failure. Have you ever experienced the kind of failure that you thought you would never be able to recover from, or maybe even where those closest to you told you could never recover? And maybe, it was so devastating that is changed your reality, and circumstances. And furthermore, maybe you are still paying a high price for your failure.

There is rarely a week that goes by I don’t receive a message from someone who has messed up in some huge way. One of the first things I always remind a person is that “everything Satan wants to use to destroy them, God will use to make them the person He wants them to be”. God is not done with them. And God is not done with YOU either.

We all need to deal with the issues and failures we are facing. We are personally responsible for our choices and the consequences of those choices. Taking personal responsibility is the first step on the path. God being willing to forgive, heal, and restore does not remove consequences or the need to take personal responsibility, it just means that God is wants to restore you.

Each of us has had those days when all needed to be reminded that the Bible is full of messed up people who God used for great things.

Noah was a drunk.

Abraham was too old.

Isaac was a daydreamer.

Jacob was a liar.

Leah was ugly.

Joseph was abused.

Moses had a stuttering problem.

Gideon was afraid.

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer.

Rahab was a prostitute.

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.

David had an affair and was a murderer.

Elijah was depressed and suicidal.

Isaiah preached naked.

Jonah ran from God.

Naomi was a widow.

Job went bankrupt.

Peter denied Christ.

The Disciples fell asleep while praying.

Martha worried about everything.

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.

Zaccheus was too small.

Paul was too religious.

Timothy had an ulcer.

AND Lazarus was dead!

So today I’m sure there is someone reading this article and you think you are done because of something you’ve done; that your failure is beyond forgiveness or recovery. YOU are not done because God is not done. Do not walk way. Do not give up. God ALWAYS has a plan. It might be a painful journey, but God always has a plan.

I just wanted to remind you today that God is for you. God will use every single thing the enemy wants to use to destroy you, to make you the person He called you to be, if you will just let Him. Surrender to Him. Trust Him. I’m for you. They are many people rooting for you. This is not the day to give up. This is the day to dig in, come clean, get honest, embrace the pain, and begin your journey toward hope, healing, and restoration.

Be Light in the Darkness

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; so that it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)

Summertime in Illinois is sure to bring with it little creatures we call lightning bugs. During those few weeks a year, some fields are literally full of little, blinking bugs that intermittently flash with fluorescent light. Small children have captured them and put them in glass jars for generations. The children hope that placing enough bugs in the jar will provide a natural flashlight.

Most of us have tried to catch lightning bugs. It seems so easy when they are lit, but then their light goes out they are hard to see. Recently, it came to me that many Christians are like those bugs. Instead of giving off enough light that our works become evident to those who look on, we blink off and on without providing adequate illumination.

We live in a dark world! Darkness is crowding out most everything that believers hold sacred. The success of darkness is NOT due to its strength. Light will always displace the dark. Darkness succeeds due to the lack to consistent light. We are like those little bugs, going through life blinking on and off without ever shining brightly.

We need a true spiritual awakening! Just because someone attends a church and calls himself or herself a Christian, does not make them an actual follower of Christ. Many people consider themselves to be a Christian but demonstrate little evidence of a life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus. The point is that being a “Christ-follower” is much more than merely calling yourself a “Christian” or attending church or adhering to some religious code. Being a true Christ-follower implies you are actually following Christ, embracing His attitude, and committed to carrying out His mission. The problem is people calling themselves Christians but not evidencing their faith by walking out what they say they believe.

Our Lord has told us to shine so bright that our good works become evident. If we keep blinking every so often, the darkness will continue displacing us. If ever we needed to shine, it is now. As Paul said in Philippians 2:14-16; “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life….”

Do You Understand What is Meant by “Systemic Racism”

Sometimes, maybe most times, what we need to diagnose, resolve, and overcome a problem is better understanding of the problem. One of the reasons I am engaging such a divisive topic as racism, is to help people understand the struggle black Americans face as a normal everyday part of their culture.

I can no longer sit by and just watch my black friends (and others) fight this battle alone. I am a nobody. I have a very limited sphere of influence, but I do have some influence. Sometimes my words will be misunderstood and twisted by others, but I do have a platform to use my words to shine a little light into the darkness of racism.

I choose to be a part of the solution by striving to be a difference-maker in my context by being an agent of peace, hope, and restoration. I choose to be light in the darkness around me. I choose to be thermostat (who changes the temperature of my culture), not merely a thermometer (who only reflects the temperature of the culture). I choose to give the rest of my life making a difference by doing good, being generous, and being kind.

What will you choose?

For today, will you choose to spend 4:23 watching this video that does a pretty good job of explaining what is meant when someone uses the term “systemic racism”.

How Well Do You Understand “Privilege”?

You have probably heard the term “white privilege” but you may not have a good understanding of “privilege” means (white or otherwise).

I am “privileged” in countless ways. I am more privileged than many, and not as privileged as some. I had a leg up or a head start or an advantage over people born into less circumstances than me. I am grateful for the life I was born into and the opportunities it has afforded me, some by chance, some my God’s grace, and other opportunities through work ethic and perseverance.

The video below gives a very clear understanding of the basic concept of “privilege”. The video is only 4:12 long. I hope you make time to watch it if you haven’t seen it already.

The world we live in needs to change. I see things through a biblical worldview. My theology colors every topic. I think its time we recognize the systems of the powerful elites in government and the business world are a part of the problem. Government is not going to fix racism and the real systemic inequalities that exist.

I believe the change we need across our nation begins in the local church. I believe the transformation we need to see will require the power of God and the humility and obedience of people who claim to follow Him. Our love for God needs to also be evidence in our love for others, especially those who are less fortunate than us, those who are marginalized, and those who have been dealt a tough hand in life.

We need to stand up any injustice in all its forms. I’m not going to apologize for the privilege I was born into, but I/we can choose to use the opportunities given us to help others.

This video explains the concept of privilege better than anything I have ever seen or heard. Please invest the 4:12 minutes to watch it.

Divisive Topics Stir Up Emotions

Yes, I know full-well that when I communicate on divisive topics it stirs up various emotions and responses in people, then they make assumptions about me and feel a need to express their displeasure, most times, without understanding what I am really trying to say or without trying open a dialogue with me to seek understanding and to be understood. Others will applaud and thank me for whatever I said they happened to agree with.

All of which just proves my underlying point; the root level issue is theological and spiritual. “Our battle is not with flesh & blood, but with powers, principalities, and rulers in spiritual realms.” (Eph 6:12). We need to stop listening to those who try to divide us or create fear in us or seek to leverage our differences for their personal gain or their agenda so we can begin productive dialogues that lead to reconciliation and healing. If we resolve the root level issue, the surface level issues (systemic issues, inequality, etc) we will be much more likely to be address and resolved.

The path forward requires harmonic unity and enough maturity and love to work the problem together. Someone wanting to bang the drum of their pet agenda will never be open to listen, understand, and even repent of their own hypocrisy. Just stop. Let’s stop being too arrogant to listen and seek understanding before we seek to be understood. Let’s stop allowing unkind, divisive, or accusatory words to come from our mouths. What we say reveals our heart; “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34).

Division, divisive rhetoric, and divisive narratives are clever tricks of the enemy mean to make wreak havoc, deepen the wounds, keep us from solving the real issues. I call it the “Divide Conquer Strategy”. I’ll explain more about that in a future article. But it works at every level of life.

We need to stop being unkind, stop personal attacks, stop allowing differences or even disagreements to make others the target of our judgement and wrath. When we allow ourselves to be unkind, to personally attack a person who we disagree with, etc, we are also allowing ourselves to unwittingly become a part of the problem. We become a feeder of the divisive culture that is tearing our nation a part.

I am going to talk about issues creating division in our nation whether it be the political climate, religious culture, community culture, or as in the current moment, racism. I have already had people thank me, and others seek to bully me into silence. Honestly, I’m not stepping up to communicate on this divisive topic for pads on the back from some people nor to create drama for other people. I am going to communicate only because I believe that is what the Holy Spirit is stirring in me. I have sat silent for too long.

I have sat by as long as I can without engaging in the dialogue in an effort to move the conversation toward a better place. I’m not going to say/write everything perfectly, but neither I am willing to continue being silent. I can’t just ignore what I see happening in our nation any longer without wondering if my silence is a form of compliance or even agreement.

We have to reject the divisive narrative so we can engage in productive conversation that leads to real reform of the real systemic and culture issues that oppress others. We have to talk about race, privilege, apathy, and complacency if we hope to build a bridge to a better future for all Americans. The equality we seek will never be attained through silence or silent bystanders. We have to get to know each other so we can talk to each other, so we understand each other if we ever want to see real progress.

So, no, I won’t say or write everything perfectly for every person. Sometimes communication is like two people standing on opposite ends on an elephant trying to describe their perspective. We have to realize there are other equally true perspectives and it is only when we put them together that we can truly understand what is in front of us.

But I will do my best to help us find a path through the chaos, to be light in the darkness, and to point all of us to the hope & peace that can only be found in Christ. I hope I can inspire you to have your own conversations with your friends and family. We each have a responsibility to stand up in the face of injustice. Wrong is wrong, even when it doesn’t happen to you or me. Someone has to stand up to defend against injustice or it will continue to go unchecked.

America is NOT Racist. Don’t Feed into the Divisive Narrative.

I haven’t made a blog post in a while. But I just feel I need to speak out to clarify what I consider to be a position balance, challenge, and hope. This will likely be long so bear with me.

America is NOT racist. Yes, there is racism IN America, but that is not the same as “America IS racist”. The vast majority of people in America are not racist. A racist America did not elect its first African American President a few years ago. America did that. If America was actually racist, that would have never happened.

The vast majority of Americans absolutely hate racism. Stop listening to those who try to divide us or create fear in us or seek to leverage our differences for their personal gain or their agenda. Even saying “Black Lives Matter” sounds like a good supportive thing to say, BUT it is also divisive. It is a clever trick of the enemy. If you say “Black Lives Matter” you are allowing yourself to unwittingly become a part of the problem. YOU become a feeder of the divisive language.

You say “Black Lives Matter”, someone else responds “Blue Lives Matter”, someone else responds “White Lives Matter”, someone responds, “Red Headed Lives Matter”. Where does that line of divisive reasoning end? It doesn’t. It only continues to create divisive rhetoric that never ends.

A white person should believe “Black Lives Matter”. Absolutely. But please hear me; there is an organized effort in both the natural (people, politics, etc.) and the supernatural (spiritual realms) that are seeking to push their agenda to magnify and exaggerate our differences to create and leverage unnecessary division in America so it can destroy America from the inside out.

We should all stand up against injustice (racism or otherwise), even more so the kind that happened to George Floyd, but riots and destroying property is also inexcusable. Busing people in, having outside organizations organize destruction under the ruse of a “protest” is also absolutely wrong. There are some people, organizations, and the demonic, pushing emotional buttons and leveraging the anger caused by injustice to create even more injustice and destruction. And those people, organizations, and the demonic, love it when American’s lose their minds and act like criminals.

Even if the technique used by the police officer to subdue Mr. Floyd is an acceptable technique (and I’m guessing it is), how the situation was applied in that specific situation was some version of murder in my personal opinion. There is no excuse for what I saw on video. However, I’m highly confident the 99% of good police officers, would agree and they are angry too. They despise what they saw and how that makes them all look to some people. I feel that way when a member of the clergy is caught in a sexual abuse scandal. I’m guessing educators feel that way when a teacher is caught in an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Police should be able to maintain peace and safety, and when that peace and safety is destroyed, they should be able to go back in an restore it for the good over the entire community, which means they will have to match and overwhelm the intensity of the mob. They can’t just say “pretty please” to someone intent on hurting them and destroying property.

Thinking police should just sit by and watch needless, pointless, destruction and crime occur is also wrong. That is not America either. They are there to protect those people, businesses, and neighborhoods. Let me encourage you to choose a position of balance instead of allowing yourself to be manipulated by the self-serving dividers among us.

I will stand by members of law enforcement every single time. We all should. I am grateful for their service, protection, and all they manage so I don’t have to worry about “it”. But when they are wrong, they should also face consequences to match their crime. I have no issue with that either.

I talk a lot about ‘harmonic unity”. My best illustration is asking my church family during a Sunday service to raise their hands based on their favorite choice in toothpaste. Then I talk about how we could split in multiple ways over what toothpaste to use. Obviously, the Crest users can’t stand those Colgate people! Hahahahahaha But even within the Crest camp there is division between those who want to use “extra whitening” and those who want to use “the original Crest”. Hahahahaahhahahaha

Harmonic unity would be; we will never all agree on what brand of toothpaste to use, but we can 100% agree that we should all brush our teeth. And we can also agree that if a person thinks we should not brush our teeth, they are absolutely wrong.

Americans are going to disagree on countless things, but we can all agree that all lives matter. And we can that also agree that if anyone thinks some section of our population’s lives don’t matter, they are absolutely wrong.

ALL LIVES MATTER. As the old children’s song says “red, yellow, black, and white, they are all precious in His sight”. Saying “All Lives Matter” is not racist, nor does it lessen the value or importance of black lives. ALL lives matter equally. “All lives matter” raises the value on all lives to equality. “All lives matter” pushes back against the darkness of disunity and division.

Racism does exist. There is no doubt about it, but it is also wrong 100% of the time. Racism is sin. It is an issue of the heart. It should never happen, but it does because people choose against God’s way of doing things (sin). Satan has been trying cause disunity and division from the very beginning. He did it in heaven even by being able to get one-third of the angels to side with him against God. Just let that sink in. His tricks have never changed. He is still doing the exact some things, using the exact same tactics. Satan’s lie from the very beginning has been “just do what is right in your own eyes, do what feels good to you right now, be your own God”.

Satan has been a liar and manipulator from the beginning. He stirs up racism. Racism is a spiritual problem. More laws, more trainings, more diversity programing, etc. does not fix issues of the sin and heart. We, America, needs to experience the transformational power of the Cross.

We need to stop “doing what is right in our own eyes” and start loving God with all our hearts and loving other people as a reflection of our love for God. We need to start treating others as we would want them to treat us.

So please, stop debating who’s lives matters or matters most. ALL lives matter, equally. Instead, as an example of harmonic unity, let’s choose to agree that racism in all its forms is always wrong, it is evil, and it is unacceptable. Let’s choose to also agree that those who use racism to create division and manipulate people is also always wrong. Stirring up people to destroy property, break-in to stores, burn cars, buildings, and commit other crimes is also always wrong in America. Let’s agree that if someone thinks racism is acceptable, that burning and looting is an acceptable form of protest, they are also wrong 100% of the time.

Lets choose harmonic unity to bind us together over divisive, evil people, creating division to destroy us. This is our home. Blowing up our country hurts all of us, especially those living in the communities where the destruction takes place. Wrong is wrong. Regardless of the motivation, it is still wrong.

I choose to be a part of the solution by striving to be a difference-maker in my context by being an agent of peace, hope, and restoration. I choose to be light in the darkness around me. I choose to be thermostat (who changes the temperature of my culture), not merely a thermometer (who only reflects the temperature of the culture). I choose to give the rest of my life making a difference by doing good, being generous, and being kind.

What will you choose?