Lamentations 4:5, "... they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills." This describes the extremes one person can go to in life ... from being clothed in scarlet to hugging a dunghill. This describes a blown life. It tells of a person who once loved the fragrance of holiness, but now is more comfortable filling his nostrils with the stench of the dunghill. You may be the one this describes and/or you may know one who "fits the bill." Maybe it's a girl that went to a Christian school, now embracing the morals code of the wicked; or a preacher who once trumpeted the gospel message, now out of the pulpit because of the dunghill; or a fundamentalist who now sits in the modernist camp.

The Scriptures are full of people who had it and lost it. The best example of a blown life was our first parents, Adam and Eve. Another famous example was King Saul, who was head and shoulders above all the people of Israel, but in the end, had his head cut off and his body nailed to a wall. Another is Demas, who was a companion of the Apostle Paul, but having loved this present world, he blew life. Even the Apostle Peter, who was in most of Jesus' miracles, now warms his hands at the enemy's fire.

In my experience, I've learned two things about those who were raised in scarlet, but end up on the dunghill. One, they did not fall from their lofty position, but descended gradually until finally they were almost beyond help. Someone once said, "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay." The second thing I learned was that those on their way to the dunghill never travel that path alone, but are being led by somebody else. And perhaps even sadder, they are influencing someone else to go with them to the dunghill.

In their trip from royalty to the dunghill, they leave along the path many tearful and broken-hearted people ... parents, pastors, and friends ... because of their choice to blow it. These very people, who are weeping, often blame themselves for the other person's downfall. I might say to those who are blaming themselves: I don't think God blamed Himself for Adam's fall; nor do we see Jesus blaming Himself for Peter's demise (who was a leading member of His church, but embraced the opinions of the world); or Paul blaming himself because Demas ended up in a stinking situation. I think sometimes it's easier to take the blame than to give it, because of our love for the failing ones.

I should want to say loudly, joyfully, and often that all of those who go from royalty to the dunghill do not always stay there. Who do you think taught Abel about a blood sacrifice? Adam must've come back. Or who is preaching that sermon on the courthouse steps in Jerusalem with 3000 being saved? Peter is back. The most famous dunghill-dweller was the prodigal son who lived in the pigsty, now wearing a ring and sandals, clad in a beautiful robe, eating the fatted calf at the father's table. I wonder why he went back? Maybe because he knew he could.

I really believe more would come back if they knew forgiveness waited for them upon their return. Forgiveness is not an endorsement or an acceptance; forgiveness is me promising not to factor your problem into our future fellowship. A side note: Did you know the 3000 saved on the day of Pentecost were in the crowd who cried out at the crucifixion of Jesus? We hear Him on the cross praying, "Father, they're really blowing it; but forgive them, for they know not what they do."

keen

Written by Dr. Charles F. Keen
February 20, 2019