“We must remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We cannot compare God’s ways and thoughts to ours. He loves us with an everlasting love and constant affection (Jeremiah 31:3). God proves throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament story of Christ’s crucifixion that He gives man every chance to have a relationship with him. He restrains himself to the last possible moment. Remember that gentleness is not weakness, but God will not tolerate evil indefinitely.”
Courageous Gentleness: Following Christ’s Example of Restrained Strength by Mary Ann Froehlich
I was reminded today why I usually stay away from social media News articles. A good deal of them are just filled with trash and horrible things meant to get a rise out of people. Well, today I read such a story. It was about a 4 month old who died because his parents had not changed his diaper in weeks, was dehydrated and infested with maggots. The poor baby was found in his baby swing in an overheated room of their house.
Ok, I don’t care who you are…if that does not furrow your eye brows, make your heart break into a million pieces, cause your temperature to rise to a boil and make you wish so many inhuman things on the parents…you may want to check your pulse! I was so furious and broken hearted reading the story that I just kept thinking “WHY??” Why was this allowed to happen? Why didn’t they just give the baby up for adoption and a CHANCE at a better life? (Key word being “life.”) I was sick to my stomach and instantly hated the people responsible for this heinous act on a sweet, innocent little baby who screamed, for God knows how long, and just wanted love from those he depended on.
There was one, ONE, saving grace in my boiling emotions in all of this, and you’re going to look at me weird for saying it, but…the article mentioned that the dad was a drug user. Yeah, here come the looks, I can feel them and it’s ok! As a recovering alcoholic with many friends who are also recovering from their own addictions and knowing the things that I did it placed a seed of hope in me. Hope that because this man is still living, God has a plan for him. That there is a chance that he could be saved from the fires of hell that he is already being licked by. I hate, HATE that the baby had to die that way and that he had to live his very short life in a home like that! However, I know that he is in heaven and is being loved and cared for in a way that no one this side of heaven could EVER provide him, and THAT gives me peace of heart.
So. How often are you driven to wish evil upon someone who has done unmentionable things? How quick are you to judge another person for something they have done? It doesn’t even have to be something as awful as the story I just told. I know I have “written off” people who have simply cut in front of me in the line I have been waiting in for what seemed an eternity. I have taken my anger out on people who in no way had anything to do with the true cause of it. I have wished awful things on the people who have hurt me or my loved ones.
Yet God still says we must treat others with kindness and grace and to feel nothing but love for our neighbors. It seems so impossible to do! Yet…. God spared me so many times in the past and He allowed me to go on living, even when I was so close to death. Today I know why, but I didn’t understand in the past. I was grateful for it but I still felt so lost and incomplete. Then Jesus stepped in and I understood why. God spared me, because He knew I had chance left at being saved. At receiving the gift of salvation that Jesus offered up so freely. I had SO much that I had done in the past weighing me down that once upon a time I thought there was no way that Jesus could cover all of my sins. Like the muffin top that likes to sneak out every now and then if I wear the wrong shirt. I just didn’t think it was possible until I was proven otherwise with scripture. God’s words. Not the words of man that can be disputed, but the words of the One who gave the gift of forgiveness and a life after death.
Think of how great God is. How He can handle anything. Now multiply that by 10,000. Now, while knowing that Jesus is God’s son, he is a piece of God himself in the flesh. Jesus was perfect! He committed no sin, he was always loving and kind and gentle. He offered nothing but grace to those he came across. When Jesus began the trials and torture of what would ultimately lead to him being nailed on the cross (I’m talking, when they took him from the garden of Gethsemane), I relate everything that followed like an awful train wreck. You can’t help but watch it, even though it causes you so much anguish and pain. You want to “rubberneck” and see what comes next or see if you can catch a glimpse of more blood and destruction so you can take in the magnitude of what has happened.
God watched all of this. He watched his son being tortured and ripped to shreds. He watched as he struggled to carry his cross up the steep hill to his final hanging place. He watched his son go through SO much and never say a word. Jesus never begged for a break. He never tried to flee nor ask God for help. During his last, Jesus literally took on every sin imaginable of every person that lived and would come to live in the centuries ahead. Jesus became so covered and so burdened by this amount of sin that God himself looked away.
God. The one who watched His entire world become so corrupt that He decided to wipe the slate clean, save one man and his family and a pair of each animal! The God who still loves murderers and rapists and psychopaths and, yes, parents who leave a brand new baby to rot in his own filth. God will keep his eyes and his tenderness on those people, but his own son…he couldn’t see the slightest glimmer of the love that lay beneath the caked on sin.
Jesus loved us SO much that He gave himself up and took on our sins, knowing that God himself would turn away from him. The one who was perfect and we are called to be like. We will never be perfect. I know I am not even close to being called “ok” in comparison to how He was! Yet, we still have to try. This includes showing love and compassion to the ones that we want to hate. There is a reason they are still living (God has proven many times that He will wipe you out if you no longer have a chance). That’s not to say that they will ever change or repent, however, today they still have a chance. It is our duty and privilege to help guide them in any way we can. To show them the love that God so freely gives us because we are ALL his creation and he loved us all so much that he gave us life and a chance.Tags: forgiveness, Gentleness, God, grace, Hate, Murderers, Salvation, Unconditional love, Wrath of God
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