The pendulum is swinging
To say these words, whilst being tortured and put to death by
'sinners' is outrageous -– but Jesus prayed them. What a prayer, what a
heart, what love!
Thank God His judgements are right and true! At the
culmination of time when the sheep are set apart from the goats, and judgement
is made concerning the affairs of all men and women -– not only will God's
judgements be final, they will be right. After living life with a finite mind
for as long as I can remember, this concept of 'right-ness' and perfect
justice is difficult to grasp. When we make judgements, there is a distinct
margin of error. Not so with God.
We live in a world of fascinating diversity -– some good
aspects, and some destructive aspects. We live in a world of ever changing
standards and mixture, creating both growth and confusion. More and more I feel
for our young as their 'developing minds' try to come to terms with life.
Thankfully, God knows where our thinking has come from, and He understands.
Many Christians struggle with references made to psychology,
having determined that the study of the human psyche is demonic and evil. If you
are such a person, can I respectfully exhort you to discernment, as opposed to
blanket judgement! To the extent that any study or philosophy agrees with the
Word of God, we can agree with it.
I read about a distraught woman in Britain who plans to sue
the National Health Service for the psychological trauma she claims to have
suffered after having an abortion. Whilst the more Calvinistic of us would cry
"Sowing and reaping" -– Jesus prays "Father forgive her...she didn't
know what she was doing". This woman claims that she was never warned about
the mental trauma she might suffer after the termination, and that she is filled
with self-loathing and guilt, and was on the brink of a nervous breakdown after
giving birth to a son two and a half years after the abortion. Yes, she may be
lying, she may be telling the truth -– and regardless of which one of these
judgements is correct, Jesus died for her.
This week in our town of Blenheim, a young solo mother under
typical western world pressure tried to calm her darling but hyperactive son
down, by giving him a sleeping tablet and a bath. She returned to the bathroom
to find him drowned -– and could not revive him. Broken and alone, she clothed
him, combed his hair and lay him in his bed before going out - and ending her
own life. She did not put up much of a fight against the guilt she knew she
could not live with -– some suggested murder, others saw her tragic mistake -–
regardless of which one of these judgements is correct, Jesus died for her.
Everyday, we will have opportunity to pray, "Father,
forgive this person -– they do not know what they are doing". The result is
twofold -– God hears and will act as He sees fit, and we become more like
Christ as we seek His will and not our own.
Last week I spent two days in a prison here in NZ, training
prison officers and other Corrections staff. As usual, it was a wonderfully
refreshing experience, to be in a culture which is particularly negative,
talking about 'God's principles' -– how to treat people (including
inmates) with empathy. No -– my courses are not overtly Christian, I do not
teach about Jesus, nor hold an altar call at the end of my sessions. It is staff
training -– and my contract brief is 'to assist staff to become better at
providing a safe and humane environment for inmates'. I ask God "Please help
me shine as a bright light in a dark place". He has blessed us with some
wonderful outcomes, complete changes in attitudes. I pray for these people -–
some of them so hard, so cynical from exposure to experiences unthinkable in 'normal
life'. Some of them have just seen 'too much' and are aggressive. I pray,
"Father, forgive them...they don't know what they are doing."
When we Christians become more consumed with the heart of God
for people, and less consumed with 'being right' or our personal agendas -–
the fruit will be rather extraordinary. God loves people!
Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because
He hath appointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to
bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening
of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the
Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint
unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy
for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that we might
be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."