John Bradshaw - Self-Harm, Bad Music, and Grounds for Divorce
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Great to see you. With me is Pastor Wes Peppers from It Is Written, great to see you.
Wes Peppers: Great to be here again.
John Bradshaw: Oh, we've got some more questions to answer.
Wes Peppers: We do.
John Bradshaw: If you have a question you'd like to submit, you can email us at [email protected]. So let's start at the beginning with a question from Arlene: "Why did the devil feel the need to approach Eve to tempt her and not Adam"? Careful what you say...
Wes Peppers: Yeah, that's a good question.
John Bradshaw: ...get yourself in trouble.
Wes Peppers: Yeah, that's right. I could get, half the world's population might be mad at me, right?
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: Well, the Bible doesn't say actually that the devil approached Eve.
John Bradshaw: No.
Wes Peppers: It says that he was stationed in the tree. Eve left the side of Adam and was venturing off by herself, and really, some people pick on Eve for that, but really wouldn't have been a good idea for Adam to leave her either.
John Bradshaw: That's correct.
Wes Peppers: Either one of them would've been not a good idea. And so when she left and wandered off by herself, that's when the devil began to speak to her, and we know the result of that. You can read about that in Genesis, chapter 3. So, yeah, the devil spoke to her when she left the area that God had given her and went near where he was.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, it seems to me that if Adam had been the one to get there first, devil might well have gone after him.
Wes Peppers: Yeah. That's right.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Michael asks us a question. This is a very sensitive question: "If you find yourself in a physically abusive relationship as a child of God, and you try all the counsels possible on earth and there is no change, would it be in harmony with the Word of God to eventually get divorced and remarried? If not, what is your recommendation for such a situation"? Okay, Michael, thanks for asking the question. I can't know if you are asking about you or...because this affects somebody else. I don't know. Either way, this is counsel for everybody. The first thing is, whoever this relates to, I'm extraordinarily sorry that you find yourself in that situation; that's gotta be absolutely devastating. In fact, I'm gonna say this. If you, whoever you might be, is someone who is a perpetrator of physical violence within a relationship, a marriage relationship, please stop. Please get help. Don't be abusive. Take responsibility; grow up. Get help; see somebody. Understand that there are some lines that must not be crossed. And physical abuse is absolutely one of them. It's not acceptable ever. Now, if you're the victim, you're saying, "I've done everything I can, but the physical abuse just continues; what do I do"? What you've done is you've gone to the place where you said, "Is divorce okay"? We're gonna stay away from that. We're not gonna advise you to get divorced; that's not for us to do. But what we are gonna do is advise you to get to a safe place. Now, I would also advise you to speak to more people than just me. Talk to a counselor, a minister of the gospel, a trusted friend because I understand that this can be fraught with difficulty and danger. We want to recognize that and acknowledge that. If you're in a physically abusive situation, figure out how to get out or go to someone else and say "Please, can you figure out how to get me out"? You don't need to stay there. You don't have to stay there. And anyone who says, "Oh, I'm sorry that I've been beating you for 18 years; I promise I'll change", your job is to not trust them. They haven't been trustworthy for 18 years. Don't believe that all of a sudden they're gonna flip a switch because you're no longer there to wash their socks or put milk on their cereal. Forget it. Get out. But be as responsible as you possibly can. Get wise advice and lots of it. And of course, pray, pray, pray, pray, pray, and beg God to make His leading clear and to provide you with protection and with guidance. Okay, here's a question from, I'm going to say "Andy". Andy asks, "Does secular music have a place in a Christian's life? Please share verses to support". Oh, we can do that. Kind of depends on what you mean by "secular music". You know, if your secular music is Megan Thee Stallion, I would say no, there's no place in the Christian's life for music that's violent, vulgar, and sensual and so forth, no place. And you know what I just did? I've... anyway, you'll see what I just did. Beethoven is secular.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: ...weren't a religious cat. Mendelssohn, Bach, and Brahms and Liszt and Wagner, that's secular. But I bet you weren't thinking about that. Classical music is secular. By the way, there's some classical music drives me mad.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: I'm absolutely certain if I listen to it a moment longer, someone's gonna get injured...
Wes Peppers: That's right.
John Bradshaw: ...because... So, not all classical music I think is good for your sanity. But beyond that, is there secular music, I mean, other secular music? Oh man, I'm not gonna recommend secular jazz. Jazz is jazz. I can't imagine Jesus jamming with a jazz band. Can you? Jesus on the stage with AC/DC? Jesus at a concert for... I mean, I don't know who... I don't even know who. No. But we'll give you a Bible verse. Here's a Bible verse. It's from Philippians 4 and verse 8, or it is Philippines 4 and verse 8: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things". The reason people get hung up on secular music, you know why? 'Cause it's good.
Wes Peppers: It's good. Yeah, that's right.
John Bradshaw: 'Cause it's good.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: Not everybody finds it good, but those who find it good find it really good.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: The devil's been working with music for 6,000 years, and he got down here to this point in time, and he knows what presses your buttons.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: And he's worked with you over years to get you ready, to introduce music into your life that's gonna be soul-destroying. And it is, it's soul-destroying. Now, me...I can't fathom why people listen to hip-hop. But you know why? 'Cause I'm the age I am. If I was 16, I'd probably think it's cool.
Wes Peppers: Coolest thing on earth.
John Bradshaw: Yeah. It's not.
Wes Peppers: Mm-mm.
John Bradshaw: I think about that like my father used to think about the music I listened to. Mind you, the music I listened to was really good, I mean, objectively good.
Wes Peppers: Yeah, sure.
John Bradshaw: It was bad for ya.
Wes Peppers: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: I don't get it. But some people do, and the person who really understands it is the devil.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: So...
Wes Peppers: And he's got a certain kind of genre of music for every personality.
John Bradshaw: For everyone, yeah.
Wes Peppers: Doesn't matter who you are.
John Bradshaw: He's got the biggest jukebox in the world.
Wes Peppers: Yeah, that's right. You know, we used to listen to heavy metal music before we'd go out and play football on Friday nights.
John Bradshaw: Of course you would. Yeah.
Wes Peppers: And it gets you jazzed up and gets you pumped up and angry and gets your adrenaline going.
John Bradshaw: Footballers do it today.
Wes Peppers: That's what it does, yeah. And so I wouldn't recommend that if you're trying to keep peace in your family.
— Before you go to a family outing or a family reunion, to listen to that, it's gonna stir up all that, those emotions in you. So yeah, that's a great principle, not just for music, but for entertainment of any kind, television, books, reading, whatever... just do those things that you know are gonna strengthen your journey with God. And leave off the other things. They're just not helpful.
— Yeah, honestly, I don't know too many, I'll just say it, I don't know too many deeply spiritual people who listen to a whole bunch of secular music.
— Yeah, that's right.
— I really just don't. I remember 20 years ago I was at a church holding some meetings, and a little girl was in the church cleaning, I guess she was helping her mum and dad clean the church, and she was listening to something, I didn't know what. I said, "Oh, you're listening to some music"? She goes, "Yeah, it's Dire Straits. It's my dad's favorite". I mean, anyone who's familiar with Dire Straits, I mean, as far as secular music goes, it's secular-secular, but, I mean, it's not, it's not... Led Zeppelin, you know. But what had happened was dad was giving his little girl a taste for what's secular. He's force-feeding secular music into her head, and Dire Straits is a gateway drug. Today, Dire Straits, tomorrow, I don't know, some musician whose name would... they probably want me to mention, but I won't. You're just better off without it. And the reason people ask questions, I'm not getting on to Andy, the reason people ask these questions? It's 'cause they like it.
— Yeah, sure.
— That's all. They love it.
— And look, human nature loves it. Human nature loves those things.
— But we're called to battle against those things that are damaging to our souls. Now, interesting, I just wanna mention this, 100, 200 years ago, secular music had a whole different tune.
— Many times they were singing about home and country and, you know, character...
— ...and people that did great things.
— And there's some of that secular music today you wouldn't look down on...
— Yeah, yeah, that's right.
— ...you wouldn't be against.
— But most of it today is talking about sex and bad actions and all kinds of divorce and whatever else. And it's just not profitable; there's nothing, you can't point to anything in many of those songs and say, "This is helpful for me and my Christian growth".
— It's better to leave it off.
— Yeah, and man, I'm guaranteeing you there's a lot of parents who have no idea of what's in the lyrics of the songs kids are listening to today.
— That's right.
— When we were kids, I mean, you are older than me, but when we were kids, the music was bad enough.
— Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
— It was suggestive.
— Now it's just flat-out vulgar.
— That's right. There's no secret, so there's no hints today. They just say it every time...
— Yeah, yeah.
— ...straight up.
— And I understand. I ran in a certain direction with this question, but you're asking about secular music. You're probably not asking about banjo music, you know.
— Right. That's right.
— You're probably not asking about line dancing, even though I think that's madness too. I know what you're asking about. So, you choose Jesus' way, and I think you'll be okay. Okay, Louis, or Louie is asking a question that we probably don't have time for.
— Not fully, at least.
— So let's make a start.
— How should a Christian who's struggling to connect with God after greatly backsliding deal with suicidal thoughts/thoughts of self-harm?
— Yeah, that's a very sensitive question.
— First, we're sorry if that's you.
— We're sorry, yeah. That's right.
— Yeah, that's tough. And I want you to know that there's power in God, power in prayer. Have people pray for ya. You don't wanna walk this journey alone. What do you advise Louis?
— Yeah. First off, you know, praise the Lord that you are having the desire or the thought to come back to God.
— That's exciting. That's good to know. That means the Spirit of God is drawing you, and that means that God still wants you. And the struggle is real because the devil doesn't wanna let you go easily. He just doesn't wanna let you go. And he's gonna do everything he can to keep you in his ranks and in his claws. But you must know that it's never the will of God for you to be harmed or for you to hurt yourself or end your life. God wants you to have life.
— So you can know, for sure, that those thoughts are not coming from Him.
— I got a message the other day from somebody who said, "You gotta pray for me because I'm thinking of killing myself". I engaged in dialogue with this person, and they said, "After all I've done, how can I forgive myself"? Don't get me started on that because you've heard me say before you can't forgive yourself. You're not supposed to forgive yourself. You're just supposed to accept God's forgiveness. When people say, "How do I forgive myself"?, what they're really saying is, "How do I live with what I've done"? Okay. If you've done something awful, it's difficult to live with, but here's what you do. God accepts you. The reason people end their lives is usually because they think they have no future.
— If you'd stop and think that in Jesus you have an eternal future, you have eternal life stretching before you, get some help. Remember those Bible stories of people who came back from a long way back, and remember your future. No, don't look at your past. Everybody's got a past. You ask Wes about his past...ugh. You ask me, I don't wanna go there. We're looking forward to our future, right?
— Yeah, that's right. And God says He has "a future and a hope" for us. And that passage in Jeremiah was given in the context of people who had done great wickedness. I think about Deuteronomy, chapter 30, where God says if there's anyone who goes under "the farthest parts" of heaven...
— ...so God's saying, about as far away as you can go, "If you turn your back towards me or turn your face back to me, I will receive you. I'll meet you right there". And so that's good news. And so we want to fill our hearts and our minds with those thoughts and those verses and know that God wants life for us and not death.
— Yeah. Louis, the best is yet to come. Your question, "struggling to connect with God after greatly backsliding", yeah, and I think that's the foundation on what this, which this is built, your unfortunate challenge right now. So you backslid. So did Manasseh; so did David; so did Solomon. I'm not diminishing. I'm saying people come back from that. If you would in your mind see a picture of a loving God accepting you and welcoming you into His heart, you are the prodigal son. Where was the father in that story? Ran up the road to meet the boy, welcome him back, and give him full authority. I don't know that telling you that removes this mountain, but it's a starting place. You're accepted by God. "Oh, I've backslidden greatly". Yes, ya have. People do. "I shouldn't have done it". No, you shouldn't. But people do. What's done is done. Now God is saying, "Would you let me do what I haven't done? And that's take away all that sin and put hope in your heart". You can be hopeful today because God loves you. In spite of what you've done, He loves you. He won't quit loving you. You give God a chance. That's all. Give God a chance and watch Him come through for you greatly and do magnificent things. We'll be back with more in just a moment. He's Wes Peppers. I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
— Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. I am John Bradshaw. I have the good fortune of sitting alongside Wes Peppers. We together have the good fortune of answering your Bible questions. And we appreciate you sharing them with us. We've got another one right here, and it comes from Adam. Adam asks, "How can we say that Christ died for us"? He adds a little information about, "He was...crucified by the high priests and officials for the accusation of claiming to be [the Son of] God". That was the background to His death in a certain sense. So why did He die for us when He died for some trumped-up criminal charge? How did He die for us?
— Yeah, because, you know, the Bible through the prophecies indicated that long before He was even born, that the whole purpose of Him coming to this earth was to live and die for our sins. And so the Bible says that very clearly. And, you know, the way that God orchestrated that was He was condemned by, of course, the Jews...
— ...and then Romans through Pilate, and then He was put on the cross. So God allowed that method to come, and He was....
— ...He was killed by crucifixion obviously.
— Those circumstances are kind of immaterial, how He got there, what He knew as He got there.
— Right. That's right.
— And He, the divine Son of God, died bearing our sins. First Corinthians 15, verse 3 says, "Christ died for our sins". It can't get a whole lot plainer than that. Don't be confused by the circumstances. Wow, He was really... died... He was really crucified because He claimed to be the Son? No. That was a trumped-up charge. That was all a lie. It was a kangaroo court. Why did Jesus go along? You know, there are other times they tried to kill Jesus in Nazareth, took Him up on a high hill, were gonna throw him off; He slipped through there, through the crowd and got away. It wasn't His time. That was His time. He died for the sins of the world. The lies surrounding His court trial really don't matter too much.
— Yeah, that's right.
— Okay, Ella asks, "Since the thoughts of the dead perish at death, when they are risen by God, will they regain their thoughts"? You mean old thoughts, I guess. "Considering that we will know our family, friends, and loved ones, do you believe that their thoughts and memories will pick back up from whatever their last thoughts were before death, whether good or bad"? Ah! Interesting. Like that person who's driving down the street, gets distracted, looks up, sees a truck coming towards them, and at first they do this. Does that mean in the resurrection they do this?
— Yeah, I don't know if they do exactly that, but, you know, they'll see the face of Jesus, and we're told, the Bible indicates that we'll be raised with the same character that we had when we went down.
— What thought we were thinking when we died, I don't know exactly, but hopefully it was of Christ. And, you know, I don't think that we're going to have lived a life for Christ and then find ourselves waking up against Him.
— That's right.
— Nor will we live a life against Him and find ourselves waking up in favor of Him.
— We remember, and I think this might answer the question, Ella, that the Bible says, "We shall be changed". So your thinking... your thinking is suddenly gonna be remade. Not that you'd never think the same thoughts, but now you've got a heavenly mind, a re-created mind. So if when you died, you were thinking, "Who's gonna feed the goldfish"?, I don't think 10 or 20 or 200 or 1,000 years later, that's gonna be pressing on your mind when you look up and see Jesus. It seems the goldfish won't be of your utmost concern.
— Yeah, I agree with that.
— All right.
— We'll be thinking those eternal heavenly thoughts.
— Yeah. Kathy says, "Can you explain Luke 20, verses 41-44? I never understood what point Jesus is trying to make". So why don't you take a look at that for us? Luke 20, verse 41-44.
— All right. He says, and Jesus speaking, "He said to them, 'How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? Now David himself said in the book of Psalms: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool.'" Therefore David calls Him "Lord"; how is He then his Son?'" So He says some other things there, but that's the punchline. You wanna tackle that, or you want me to tackle that?
— Oh, sure, in fact, what I wanna do is look in Matthew, chapter 22, where there's a parallel passage: "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, 'What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?'" Who's the Messiah? He's someone's son. Whose? They said, "He's The Son of David". And so Jesus said to them, well, "'How then does David in...Spirit call Him 'Lord'"? Well, why would David refer to this as "Lord"? "'The Lord said unto my Lord, "Sit on my right hand, 'till I make Your enemies my footstool"'? If David...[called] Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son"?
— The Son of David is the Messiah, right? Are you understanding that? And they're looking at that. They're going, "Oh, wait a second. This Jesus in front of us is referred to by many as 'the Son of David.'" He's outing Himself as the Messiah, risky business. He was later crucified because they believed He was making Himself the Messiah. They didn't like that very much at all. This is an exchange in which Jesus is revealing Himself as the Messiah. Notice He's talking to the tough nuts. He's not talking to the common people, who received Him gladly; He's not talking to His disciples, they're like, "Yeah, we're all-in". He's talking to the Pharisees, and He's saying, "I really want you to see this. Look, if I show you this passage of scripture where David spoke, that's gonna make it really, really clear that me, it's the son of David. I'm actually the Lord. I'm actually the Messiah". It's fascinating, they listened to that, and this passage ends where it says, "No [one] was able to answer Him a word, neither [did] any man...[dare to] ask Him any more questions"... "from that day forth".
— They're like, "Oh".
— That's powerful. Oh my.
— "He went to scripture and showed us that He's the Messiah".
— That's right.
— Can't say anything to that.
— "We're not even gonna ask Him questions anymore".
— We sure hope that helps.
— They knew their place.
— Yeah, they did, and Jesus wanted them to understand that.
— So He is the physical Son of David. He's in the lineage of David physically, but He's the Son of God. So that's why David would call Him Lord.
— Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Claudia has a question. Here's Claudia's question: "Talking to a friend, she said she never understood why God had to supply the Israelites with manna". Oh. "I had thought to answer that they'd been slaves for [thousands] hundreds of years when they were led [to] the desert. But when I looked in Exodus, it said [that] they had flocks and herds and very much cattle. Was that only for sacrifices"? Claudia, yeah, no. So you're in the desert, you got a sheep and a cow...and a goat. What else? It would not take a million or so people or more very long to mow their way through the food supply if they had to eat just those things. What God did was provide them with food, a food supply. And clearly, clearly the fact that they had flocks and so forth didn't encourage them because they're out there, "Ah, we're out here to die! Where are we gonna eat out here? You led us out in the wilderness to die". They didn't say, "Oh, it's okay. We'll just kill Levi's sheep over there". Didn't say that. There was a food scarcity. Their flocks weren't gonna sustain them indefinitely in the wilderness. And God wanted to sustain them indefinitely in the wilderness. Manna came, and He fed them. What they had clearly wasn't enough, and it wasn't adequate. I tell you what, you'd be pretty difficult to get by on only goat, sheep, and bull for 40 years.
— That's right, and plus, God was giving them opportunities to increase their faith in Him and their trust in Him.
— And He was teaching them to depend on Him daily for their needs. And He gave them, with that manna, very specific instructions on how to harvest it, how long to keep it. If they kept it longer than overnight, it would spoil, except on the Sabbath. And so God was teaching them lessons about spirituality, about the Sabbath, about trust, about faith, about obedience. And so they failed most of those tests. But nevertheless, God uses a simple thing like manna to teach great, powerful lessons about His commandments and His character. So that was another aspect.
— Absolutely right. One more question, it is a great one. We could take a whole program for this, but we're gonna get right to the point and share our answer quickly. It's from David. David: "My wife recently passed away after a very painful illness". We want to commiserate with you and say we're very, very sorry for your loss. "All my life I have heard [that] all will either go into heaven or be damned to hell at death. I believed this until [I] started watching your program. Now it seems like there are two deaths: one that you can come back from and one that you can't. But everyone I share that with is skeptical. Please advise. It's very important to me". Advise.
— Yeah, that's a great...
— Isn't it wonderful?
— Yeah. David, you're very perceptive about that. There is the physical death that we die from, that every person dies from, Jesus talked about this. And then there is the second death, which no person can come back from... except Jesus. Jesus died the second death on the cross, and He rose again because of His righteousness. And He promises to give us that same righteousness. So I'm glad you've been watching the program and learning the truth about this, and you are correct. You know, there's a lot of people that will be skeptical of it because they're not reading the Bible. You read the Bible, it's very plain. It's not just one obscure verse over here, but it's consistently all the way through. So you're on the right track, David. Keep looking at the Bible; keep studying. And, you know, your wife, as you have learned, is resting in the grave, and the day's gonna come you're gonna see her again. You're gonna believe in Jesus, as she hopefully did. And you're gonna see her and spend eternity with her. So we're thankful that you're learning that truth, and hopefully it's bringing comfort to your heart.
— And here's a wonderful thing for David. My guess is that David and his wife went on some vacations together...
— ...enjoyed some trips together, had some wonderful experiences traveling together. Hey, David, I've got news for you: One day soon, you and your wife, together, will be able to take the trip of a lifetime.
— You'll leave this earth under the strength and grace of Jesus and travel all the way to heaven, and you'll never ever have to say goodbye again. Now, I'm simply saying that throughout eternity, you will know each other, and you'll have a very, very special place in each other's existence. That, I think, is a given. So, yeah, Wes, thanks for answering that. And that's how it is. The dead die, and then they come back from that death if they have faith in Jesus. The lost ultimately will die the second death and never come back. But through faith in Jesus, through faith in Jesus, you can experience the first death, if that's what you're called to experience, and then the resurrection and then eternal life. Hey, thanks, Wes. It's been fun.
— Been a pleasure.
— And thank you. We've enjoyed it. Get your questions to us. Email us: [email protected]. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This was "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.