Sunday, March 6, 2011

Extreme Environmentalists--What!? You Aren't One!?

If you haven't been bombarded yet with "Go Green" advertisements explaining how you can do your part to save planet earth for the next generation, you will be.

It's a little over a month and a half away--Earth Day 2011. As one who lives pretty close to the land on our family's hay farm, it's not an important day circled in red on my calendar. But, it's been on my mind lately, perhaps because my husband and I spent yesterday planting about 40 one-year-old saplings around our place--cherry bark oak, bald cypress, lob lolly pine, green ash, river birch, and black gum.

This year's Earth Day slogan is "A Billion Acts of Green". Whether you think man is destroying the ozone layer and the ice caps will melt until Mel Gibson's Waterworld is a reality or whether you believe what we're experiencing is just part of a greater environmental cycle--either way, the earth is your home, and for that reason, it is worth celebrating and protecting.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, though. Environmentalists have it all wrong.

Saving the earth isn't going to happen by planting trees or recycling aluminum cans, carpooling or switching to fluorescent light bulbs.

You want to make an extreme difference in your land? Then, don't pollute it with your heart.

Yes, I'm serious--the state of a person's heart will make the biggest difference in the environment.

Imagine my jaw-dropping surprise when I was reading along in Scripture and realized the prophet Jeremiah was a 2600+ year old environmentalist!

Jeremiah writes:

"God says, 'If a husband divorces his wife
And she goes from him
And belongs to another man,
Will he still return to her?
Will not that land be completely polluted?
But you are a harlot with many lovers;
Yet you turn to Me,' declares the LORD.
'Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see;
Where have you not been violated?
By the roads you have sat for them
Like an Arab in the desert,
And you have polluted a land
With your harlotry and with your wickedness" (Jer. 3:1-2, my italics).

Polluted. Hebrew word "Chaneph".

Literally, the word means "to be profaned, be defiled, be polluted, be corrupt"*

In the two verses above, Jeremiah speaks of two ways one can pollute the land...and neither involves littering or greenhouse gasses.

In verse one, Jeremiah speaks of physical adultery. Then, in verse two, he speaks of spiritual adultery--playing the harlot with God by speaking His name in one breath and living out wickedness with the next.

David uses this same word for "polluted" in the Psalms: "They [Israel] even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood" (Ps. 106:38).

Here, the blood of children sacrificed to false idols pollutes the land.

Consider what Jeremiah and David are saying to us about how to care for our planet.

It's pretty simple.

When we commit spiritual or physical adultery, we pollute the land the Father gave us.

Want to make a difference in the earth? Sure, plant a tree, find small and large ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

But want to make an extreme difference in the state of this earth? Then, determine where your heart's affections lie. Ask God if you are worshiping the idol of money, sports, television, shopping, knowledge, busyness....

Guard your heart from spiritual adultery. And who knows how big a difference you can make.

Image: This well-known heart-shaped piece of land is this incredible mangrove in New Caledonia, captured by Yann Arthus Bertrand and featured on the front cover of his book, Earth From Above.

1 comment:

  1. Such an important (and often-missed) link!

    Your brother introduced me to this theory a
    few years ago when describing the earthquake and darkness falling during Jesus' crucifixion. I still remember him saying something like - "Why WOULDN'T the whole earth tremble when it's CREATOR was in such pain."

    The connection between our sin and the state of the earth (and it's inhabitants...) is real and has been since the days of Jeremiah :)

    Thanks for sharing!