I’m not a football fan, and normally I would have been upstairs watching a baking competition on the Food Network while my husband might have watched the game downstairs. This year, though, we were invited to a neighbor’s home for a Superbowl party. We like hanging out with our neighbors, so we went, although I really had no interest in the game.
By the time the half-time show came on, I had already “checked out” of the game and was having a great conversation with a neighbor. I saw parts of the show, enough to quickly make me realize I didn’t want to see anymore and tried to ignore it. I’m not a fan of pop music any more than football; to me it was all glitz, lights, and loud music. I knew it was nothing I needed or wanted my mind or heart to consume.
I saw plenty of comments on Facebook the next day. The people in my circle of friends were shocked and offended (and rightly so). Before I stated my opinion on it, I took the time to watch the show on Youtube. Well, part of it anyway. I admit I could not finish it; I think I made it through 9 minutes, after which I truly felt sick at my stomach.
What I can’t understand is how a supposedly intelligent and “woke” population can’t see the disconnect of fighting for women to be treated with respect and how they were portrayed on that stage. I’m confused as to why we would talk about the horrors of human trafficking, and yet not make the connection that fueling the physical lusts of every man and woman watching, not to mention flooding the minds and hearts of the children and teenagers watching with what can only be described as pornography, feeds the monster of depravity and abuse.
Seriously, America? This is entertainment?
There were several times in the show when the cameras switched to an “overview.” As I watched the writhing of barely dressed dancers worshipping at the stripper pole, the word “orgy” came to mind. How was this any different than the fertility rites and cult worship of Asherah in the Old Testament? How could God look at this sickness, this exaltation of wickedness, and not judge it immediately? I truly wondered, “When will the lightning strike?”
Romans 2:1-6 gives us insight into why God does not immediately put a stop to wickedness like we saw on that stage, and why 103 million people saw God’s grace instead of His wrath.
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds.
The first thing we see is that God’s kindness and tolerance and patience is only a delay of His righteous judgment, not a dismissal of it.
God’s judgment against sin happened two thousand years ago when Jesus took the sins of the world to the cross (1 John 2:2). Before the cross, every time God chose to withhold His wrath, it was in anticipation of what Jesus would do. Since the cross, God withholds His wrath because of what Jesus did. That covering of our sin is put into effect on our behalf when we accept the message of the gospel and believe, recognizing and confessing our own sin and asking God’s forgiveness and mercy. For those who do not believe and repent, God’s wrath is being “stored up” for the day of judgment.
When sin is allowed to continue, it shows God’s mercy and grace, giving time for repentance. That’s how 103 million people saw God’s grace when the singers and dancers and everyone there who bowed themselves to the god of sex and lust were able to walk out the arena, alive and still breathing. It was grace that your TV didn’t blow up into a million little pieces, filling your homes with shrapnel.
All for one reason…to lead us to repentance.
The second thing I see in these verses is a call to examine my own attitudes in judging the whole fiasco.
While we are shocked by the (lack of) clothing, the gyrations and offensive dancing and the “in your face” sexuality of the half-time show, are we guilty of the same things, just perhaps not as visibly? Are our hearts free from lust? Do we dress to attract attention from the opposite sex? Do we post pictures on our Instagram and Facebook that show us to advantage, in our cleavage-revealing shirts or our work-out clothes showing off the results of our hours in the gym? Do we read magazines and books that stir up desires? Do we watch movies in the privacy of our own homes that we’d be embarrassed to watch with our moms? Do we harbor a secret addiction to pornography? Do we make comments to the people we love that demean them or make them feel unworthy? Do we post jokes or memes that degrade men or women? Have we set aside God’s commands for purity, for marriage, for relationships, choosing instead to follow what is “normal” in today’s culture, i.e. sex outside of marriage or living together before (or without consideration of) marriage? Have we embraced ungodliness in the name of tolerance, or love?
What if God judged us as quickly and effectively as we wish He would judge the overtly wicked and evil culture that surrounds us?
Here are two takeaways from this year’s Superbowl. Well, three.
First, skip the show next year. If you want to watch the game, go for it, but make sure there’s another option for the 20-minutes of what can and will be worse than this year’s tribute to the depravity of the heart that has rejected God.
Second, examine your own heart for attitudes or behaviors that reveal the same depravity, just in smaller, more “tolerable” or less “visible” ways. Ask yourself, what is my standard of purity? How much do I care about holiness as a Christ-follower? How different am I from those I judge? How much do we contribute to the decaying culture when we compromise purity and holiness in our personal lives?
Third, pray for our nation. The lost are…well, lost. They are deceived. They are blind. Read Romans 1 and you’ll see that God has done exactly what He said He would do to the rebellious, stubborn, unrepentant hearts of people who reject the knowledge of God. He has given them over to the lusts of their hearts to dishonor their bodies. He has given them over to degrading passions to exchange natural desires for unnatural ones. He has given them over to a depraved mind, not only to do the things that are unspeakable but to give hearty approval to those who do them.
Here’s the good news. Right now, it’s still the half-time show.
There’s still time to repent.
There’s still time for salvation.
There’s still time for people to come to Christ.
There’s still time for God to redeem.
We saw wickedness and depravity up close and personal this past weekend. But we also saw the grace of God. Don’t take it for granted.
Titus 2:11-12 – For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.
2 Corinthians 7:1 – Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
2 Timothy 2:22 – Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
1 John 3:3 – And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.