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The latest Cover Girl is a boy

Credit: PexelsMeet the newest face of CoverGirl magazine: James Charles, a high school senior from Bethlehem, NY. He lives with his parents and does make-up for friends in his spare time. In the last year, he has amassed nearly 600,000 followers on his Instagram account and more than 80,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. According to The New York Times, Charles "posts tutorials for creating fake freckles or layering chunky glitter around the eyes." (I assure you, I've never typed those words before.)

The Times asked Charles what he thinks about where America is on gay rights and gender identity. His response: "The place we're in is phenomenal compared to where we were a few years ago. We've made so many amazing progressions with gay rights, gender inclusivity and self-expression. But I think we still have so, so much longer to go. A lot of people still don't support or understand it."

I understand the sexual revolution of our day. That's why I don't support it.

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2 thoughts on how empathy resolves conflict

Credit: Jacob Lund via FotoliaConflict in life is inevitable. All of us are going to run into people that press our buttons and act in ways that lead us to believe they want nothing more than to make our lives miserable. The diversity that makes this world such a remarkable place can also be one of the most infuriating aspects of living in it. But whether that conflict arises from cultural differences, personality quirks, or even something as simple as one party not getting enough rest the previous night, the fact remains that people are going to tick us off in this life and it's hard not to take it personally when they do.

A recent study by Gabrielle S. Adams and M. Ena Insesi, professors at the London Business School, however, illustrates that we often make those conflicts far larger than they need to be. They found that, much of the time, those responsible for a transgression never meant to cause any harm and, upon discovering that they had, felt genuinely guilty for having done so. For five days, they asked the participants in their study to keep a diary of those whom they wronged and those they felt had wronged them. It revealed that most people greatly overestimated the degree to which other people intended them harm and greatly underestimated the degree to which others perceived their actions as harmful.

Essentially, people tended to judge others more harshly than they judged themselves. As Adams pointed out, most of us can remember a time when we felt as though we'd been bullied but far fewer believe that we have bullied someone else. And while the idea that we tend to see ourselves in a better light than others is hardly revolutionary, Phyllis Korkki of the New York Times reports that the pair's solution just might be.

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'Fifty Shades Darker'--why is pornography so wrong?

BAFTA/REX/Shutterstock via APThe trailer for "Fifty Shades Darker" is showing in theaters. USA Today calls it "sexier and more dangerous than the original." The original movie showed at least twenty full minutes of sexual explicit scenes. Time reports that it led more women into pornography. The sequel is apparently even more explicit.

Why is this such bad news? The answer is simple: pornography is more dangerous than our society knows.

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10 words that changed the world

Credit: Markus Spiske via PexelsCompare our culture today with where we were just ten years ago. Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. Those who object to the LGBTQ agenda on religious grounds are considered homophobic, slanderous, and dangerous. An organized movement to legalize polygamy is gaining momentum. Euthanasia is legal in more states than ever before. Pornography is even more rampant, with virtual-reality headsets the new frontier of this addictive, destructive plague. Sex trafficking is escalating. We are in the grip of the worst illegal drug epidemic in our history.

It's easy to be discouraged by the direction of our culture. But the good news is that the good news is still good news. Jesus can still change any heart that is given to him. His Spirit can still transform marriages and families and communities. All that God has ever done, he can still do.

The key to culture-changing Christianity is simple and yet profound. It is captured in ten words, an invitation extended to Jesus to Galilean fishermen twenty centuries ago and to you and me today. If we understand and accept his invitation, he will change our lives forever. And changed people change people.

Let's hear Jesus' call across time and eternity to our hearts and culture today.

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The line between judgment and accountability

Credit: loreanto via fotaliaWhere's the line between judgment and accountability? Jesus is clear that we are to be wary of the first (Matthew 7:1–5) but Paul calls us to seek out and practice the second (Galatians 6:1–5). The problem, though, is that a fundamental part of accountability is recognizing when people are acting outside of God's will, and then holding them to a higher standard. That can sound an awful lot like judgment, and many interpret it as such. After all, few people take great pleasure in having others point out their faults, even if they would otherwise be blind to them.

There is a natural tendency in most of us to view our criticisms of others as holding them accountable while we see their critiques as judgment. This contrast in how we perceive negative comments is further complicated by the fact that we often can't fully know what has motivated someone to point out our faults, and a person's motivation is the key difference in forming the line between judgment and accountability.

When Jesus told us not to judge in Matthew 7, it was in the context of ignoring our own sins in order to point out the faults of someone else. The motivation behind such an action is selfish and meant to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. By contrast, the accountability of which Paul writes in Galatians 6 is about helping others grow in their walk with the Lord. The focus is on building our fellow believers up so that the community of faith and all those in it might more effectively expand the kingdom.

Do you see the distinction between those two concepts? The act of rendering a criticism may look the same in either case, but the reason behind it makes all the difference.

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