We are currently in battles over bathrooms, gay weddings and a host of liberal issues. Some would call these 1st world problems. Since our country is wealthy and at peace we can take the time to argue over such trivial things. If we were at war or dealing with a natural disaster or famine we would never bother to spend time on such stupid subjects.
The point is, if we were fighting for our survival we wouldn’t worry about who was married or what bathroom they used. In a catastrophic world, we would be lucky to have any kind of bathroom. We probably wouldn’t have the luxury of having traditional weddings with cakes and photographers. Survival. That’s all we would be focused on.
What may be a sin in a 1st world may not be anything in survival mode. What may be disgusting in normal settings may be celebrated under extreme conditions. Eating a rat is repulsive to me but if I was starving, a rat may look pretty good. You get the point?
Now you may say sin is sin. True. But many rules go out the window when survival is at hand. I think Grace moves to a new level and Mercy definitely has new status. You just can’t condemn someone who is trying to survive. I don’t support looters but someone stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family . . . well….
You may think that you are living in 1st world reality with no real problems but we’re not. We are at war. People all around us are suffering and trying to survive. Sin is sin but don’t forget about Grace and Mercy. And while you’re at it, throw in a little Love. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God . . . 1st sentence in the Bible
Revelation 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Last verse in the Bible
We’ve always had God. We always have the grace of Jesus.
Is there anything else needed? It’s a pretty bold statement – we do need food, water and shelter. Companionship? Purpose? Vision?
We squeeze our grandchildren in between us and say, “you’re the peanut butter and jelly in our sandwich of life”. May all the other stuff is peanut butter and jelly sandwiched between God and Jesus all wrapped up in the Holy Spirit!
My last post was titled “Sin is Sin” – sins are equal in God’s eyes although we humans feel differently. We humans definitely have a sliding scale of what is a terrible sin and a little sin. The funny thing is that this scale shifts between generations and cultures. What is worthy of death to one may be a slight slap on the hand to another.
Regardless of what sin we are discussing, sin usually attracts more sin. Gossips attract more gossips and haters attract more haters. Once we fall into sin we also attract other sins that compliment what evil we are already doing – i.e. stealing and lying.
When I was a child, divorce and re-marriage wasn’t accepted in the church. They began a slide to acceptance in the 1960’s and they continue to this day. Right or wrong – it has been on the sliding scale. We opened the doors for divorced people in love but that acceptance fueled everyone’s attitude and acceptance to the point that it is okay for anyone to divorce without question.
One of the arguments that I recently heard about homosexuality was “I would be more willing to address homosexuality as a sin if the church would tackle the other areas of sexual sin – adultery, fornication, abortion, incest, pedophiles, molestation, rape, etc. If the church is not willing to admit these sins, it shouldn’t be against homosexuality. They are all sins and they are all equally wrong. Thirty Eight million people registered on an infidelity website, but don’t forget it’s the gays ruining the “sanctity” of marriage. Many of those people are sitting in our pews”.
Okay – so I’m permitted to steal because others in the church are cheating on their taxes? I can murder because there is gossip and malice in our sacred halls?
If you want to use that logic, you could stretch the idea that molesting or infidelity are permitted if we accept homosexuality. . . right?
Love everybody but don’t be blind. Sin is sin and it attracts more sin.
Romans 6:1-3 (NIV)
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Over the past ten years I feel like my world collapsed. There are too many issues to bring up here. Let’s just say it has been rough – kind of in the Job way (If you don’t know about Job, it’s a book in the Bible). Some like to say – it’s Karma: I must deserve it. Some say I must have sinned and God is punishing me. Some say I have managed my affairs badly. Some say I should be happy with the blessings that I have and not focus on the bad. Some say it’s a test and that God will turn my test into a “His testament”. Hmmm, it sounds like I could re-write Job and put my name on it!
I don’t really want a “testament”. I know that I have MANY blessings but a broken leg still hurts if you know what I mean. I have managed some things poorly and I quickly admit it. Actually I blame myself for most of the problems so there is no problem with self pride – it is more self failure. Karma – I’m not going there. I’m too tired to even think about it.
If you picked this blog for answers, I don’t have many. Job didn’t either (although his friends did). All I can say is that at the end of the day, I bow down to a loving God that doesn’t practice Karma and blesses me with Grace even though I deserve punishment. I know that He is making something out of this broken world of mine – I just don’t know what it is yet.
Stay tuned. If your world is broken, hang in there. We are not Humpty Dumpty. God can and will pull us back together again!
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
We can argue all day long over what is sin and what is not. We can have meetings to decide which sin we will allow in our churches and which ones we won’t. But in the end . . . we have all sinned and fallen short. Remember the plank and the speck. Remember to love. Remember to lend a hand up and not a hand down. We live by grace, not to be free to sin but to live with God. Our spirits live even if our physical bodies are dying.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 NIV
Where does tragedy come from? Why do we suffer? Is it caused by sin? Is it Karma?
We all suffer at times. I was talking to a friend today that I haven’t seen in years. At our age, catching up sounds like a story out of General Hospital. He had surgery, I had surgery. He had cancer, I had a heart attack. His sister committed suicide, my son committed suicide. If it had not been so sad I would have said that we were trying to trump each other on disasters in our lives.
God has never offered us a “slide on ice” card. We’re not promised easy street when we sign up. I also don’t believe that God purposely harms us either. We live in a world full of sin. We have separated ourselves from our creator. We live by grace and forgiveness and hope through our savior. I sometimes wish it was a “free ride” but we know that no problem is greater than our God.
1 Kings 17:19-21
New International Version (NIV)
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
Nothing else to say . . .
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7NIV
Sometimes our theology resembles throwing darts at a dartboard. We throw and hope that we hit near the center. Once in awhile we hit a bulls-eye. Sometimes we hit the wall off the board altogether.
We are all trying to hit the same target but our efforts really vary.
In one week I can encounter men who SHOUT the word at the city square(we are all condemned – I apparently don’t even read the correct version of the Bible). I can listen to well meaning evangelists at the local fair (Make sure to pick up the yard stick after listening to the message). I hear close friends talk about hyper grace and the theology that everything is acceptable because we live under grace. How about – everyone is going to heaven no matter what – I guess Jesus died for no reason. We all live under love, there is no judgment. And then I see a van drive by with messages all over it “You will perish in a lake of fire”. Yeah, I really want to join that church.
We can’t even decide on Christmas anymore. Some will celebrate although they don’t believe in Jesus. Some will celebrate although they do believe in Jesus. Others will condemn the whole affair; but please buy gifts so that our economy doesn’t fail. Christmas is coming whether you like it or not. Fee free to buy me presents if you want.
Back to the dart board. Whatever topic you threw at this week I hope you got it right. I think my dart hit the fat guy drinking a beer at a table close buy. He got up and wanted to fight. Who is farther from grace – me for throwing so far off the mark or the drunk guy for getting mad? He certainly doesn’t attend a Mennonite Church – (drinking and fighting!)
We hope. We pray. We’re right. We’re wrong. Jesus accepts us. God is glorified. Tomorrow is another day to throw darts. I hope some of us hit the bulls-eye.