Here’s the Path…

Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things. We know that God is right to judge everyone who behaves in this way. Do you really think God won’t punish you, when you behave exactly like the people you accuse? You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him?

But you are stubborn and refuse to turn to God. So you are making things even worse for yourselves on that day when he will show how angry he is and will judge the world with fairness. God will reward each of us for what we have done. He will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever. But he will show how angry and furious he can be with every selfish person who rejects the truth and wants to do evil. All who are wicked will be punished with trouble and suffering. It doesn’t matter if they are Jews or Gentiles. But all who do right will be rewarded with glory, honor, and peace, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. God doesn’t have any favorites! Romans 2:1-11 (CEV)

That first sentence is a ‘toe-stomper’, isn’t it? Part of the growing in my spiritual life is the recognition of my sinfulness. On that hot July night when I gave myself to God and decided to hold nothing back, I began my journey of repentance. I began turning away from the path I had been leading. I began to follow Jesus’ example. And unfortunately, I also began to recognize my shortcomings in others. I quickly found out that judging them could make me more comfortable because I wasn’t looking at myself so much! God already knew that would be a problem and so He wrote Scriptures like this.

God does not ‘wink’ at my sins when I do not repent. He doesn’t let my sins ‘slide by’ just because He loves me. In fact, because He loves me, like any good parent, He shows me that there are consequences for my actions. I learn through His discipline. So what about “that day” Paul says will come with God’s great anger and judgment ?

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”…

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”…

Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the sanctuary, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” There were lightnings, rumblings, and thunders. And a severe earthquake occurred like no other since man has been on the earth—so great was the quake.                                         Revelation 16:1, 17-18 (HCSB)

We have seen the devastation of earthquakes and tsunamis and yet here, John tells us that the wrath of God will produce an earthquake of unspeakable horror. God does not ‘wink’ at our sins. God shows me His love and His desire that I repent! He doesn’t want me to be severely punished. He ‘woos’ me with loving kindness! And tells me to do the same. It is with kindness that my heart is broken for God and I fall to my knees asking forgiveness.

Be true to your name, LORD, by forgiving each one of my terrible sins.

You will show the right path to all who worship you.

They will have plenty, and then their children will receive the land.

Our LORD, you are the friend of your worshipers, and you make an agreement with all of us.

I always look to you, because you rescue me from every trap.

I am lonely and troubled. Show that you care and have pity on me.

My awful worries keep growing. Rescue me from sadness.

See my troubles and misery and forgive my sins. Psalm 25:11-18 (CEV)

As God has been gracious and drawn me with loving-kindness to repentance so may I show that same path to everyone I meet. Let the repentance begin with me and the loving-kindness stay with me.

 

 

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