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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’


Seems like there are plenty of people in the world who blame God for life’s difficulty, pain and suffering, even sin. So many awful acts committed by so many people – why doesn’t he do something? Doesn’t he care? Does he scoff smugly, saying it’s just what we deserve?  Isn’t he a God of love?  Isn’t he all-powerful?

Even in the church, I suspect many of us conceal resentment or disillusionment that confuses us and that we don’t know how to resolve.  Our hopes were not met; God didn’t live up to our expectations.  We want to trust him, say we do, but when the trust is tested, cracks start forming.

I can begin to untwist this pretzel in my life by realizing that, for every horrible abuse I read or see on the news, there are hundreds of good, caring acts that no one documented or reported for public awareness.  I don’t know about those unless I search for them, so my perspective can easily get skewed by the one-sided story. Add to this dark view of events the truth that sin is still at work in my body and my thinking, trying to muddy the water and obscure reality, and my disappointment and pain can lead me to ask rhetorical questions of God that are really accusations. 

 God is not to blame for the hateful, disturbing, offensive actions of humans with free will.  His offer of love and hope and freedom has been extended to all by and through Jesus Christ the Rescuer, requiring no payment from us.  But that’s the funny thing about love, that thing we all claim to long for – it can be accepted or rejected. And the one who accepts or rejects it owns the responsibility for that choice, not the one who offered it. That’s why each of us bears the responsibility for our own choices, our own actions, our own sin; and it’s why God gets the credit for passionately calling us, pursuing us, and giving everything to rescue us from that sin. 

It seems we’ve missed God’s heart. He isn’t mocking the pain and wrongdoing of people, nor is he aloof. If he was, why bother sending Jesus at all? Nevertheless, even this accusation he understands and makes his heart’s desire clear: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)  

The evidence of this rests within us, God’s children.  I hate the horrible acts of evil and the agony I witness and imagine in the lives of so many who are deeply suffering. My heart is wrenched by children abused, vicious taking of life, the tearing of families. I shed those tears and grieve the tragedy, the wrongness because the heart of Christ lives in me, and he is weeping, too – for the victims of the evil acts, knowing what they endure; and for the perpetrators, longing for their repentance, knowing their time is short, and mourning their loss as they move further away from his still reaching hand. 

 Scripture Taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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There’s a difference between demanding perfection and expecting humility.  When I’m under authority or at least leadership, I don’t expect perfect decisions from anyone except Jesus himself.  Christians make mistakes, leaders included, because all of us are still in the stream of sanctification and will be for the rest of our earthly days.  And that’s really the key.  All of us are being transformed in that stream; some close to shore, others near the greatest current, but all suspended and moved along by the flow of Father’s pure grace and power toward increasing glory. (2 Cor. 3:18) We are called to view and treat each other in that light – varied in gifts and maturity, equal in stature and value before God, being daily glorified by his glory.

So what is the implication?  None of us ought to subject brothers or sisters to the demand of flawless choices or actions, even when their errors seem to impact our lives negatively, because all is under the expansive sovereignty of God Almighty.  The path of grace bears the footprints of Christ for us to follow.  I am called to honor my brother and leave room for him to stumble, ready to shoulder his burden for a time, and he is called to do the same for me.  But does this grace erase all traces of accountability?

Christians must accept the foundational truth that each of us will be held accountable by the Lord; not for sin, as he has done away with that penalty (Rom. 5:1, 9-10), but for work as his children (1 Pet. 1:17; Rom. 14:11-13; Heb. 4:13).  When any of us is tempted to judge another’s sin, we ought to stop talking, start listening, and pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen our trust in God to be God and to refresh our desire to restore our brother or sister. (Gal. 6:1-2)

This truth applies to the trap of judging sin, whether it be amongst lay people or leaders or one to the other.  Jesus has equalized all of us in his family, which means we are not to judge each other’s hearts (Mt. 7:1-5), but don’t interpret that to mean any of us is impervious to examination from others.  The fact that I am equal in stature to the brother receiving my spiritual gift or ministering to me leaves no reason but fearful pride for my defensive response to testing.  In fact, I ought to invite and welcome my family to question my choices, because I am so fully aware of the flesh I still carry.

Desire to avoid full light is always a sign of poisonous fear lurking in the shadows of my mind.  It whispers of malicious motives and sickness in others, distracting me from the reality of my own condition.  I must reject that lie and leap into the light!  (Jn. 3:20-21)

Defy fear of anything or anyone but God.  This is the nature of humility: more than meekness, it is reality-living, daily working against the foreign eddies in the stream that attempt to lure us out of the living water or, more subtly, persuade us to redirect the flow.  True Christ-like humility is not afraid of questioning but rather understands that the Holy Spirit moves our whole family, and a brother who is so moved by him to examine my own reasoning is not a threat but a treasure from the Lord.  Even if his motive is sinful, the Lord will sovereignly bring him to repentance, and I must be ready with grace and a hand to help him up.  In either case, fear and defensiveness have no place, for I myself and God’s work through me will only be strengthened.

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