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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hoping for leniency

How many of you will agree it is much easier to look at someone else and then find fault with what THEY are doing rather than looking in the mirror at yourself and finding fault with what YOU are doing?  Isn't it easier to accuse the driver who is actually going the speed limit when you are late to work that he is to blame for your tardiness rather than you having spent just a few extra minutes trying to finish up that level on your video game before getting ready?  Isn't it more convenient for us to drop the "Well, you never...." bomb in the midst of a heated discussion than to admit we might have actually been wrong?  We just don't like having to take an introspective look to see that we could be at the heart of the issue!  Truth be told, when we find issue with others it is usually because we can find issue with ourselves, but we just don't want to focus on that!  

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? (Romans 2:1-4 CEV)

Scripture is plain - when we stand in the place of accusing others of what we do ourselves, we are judging ourselves!  We actually are passing the verdict on our own behavior without even recognizing we have done it!  The good news is even when we are kind of naive about our own "guiltiness" in the matter, God is preparing a way of grace for us to help us deal with our own sin!  Pointing out another's faults is really not doing us any good - but sometimes if we stop long enough to consider why we might be doing this, we find a reflection coming back at us which shows we are guilty of the same kind of things.  It gives us a chance to repent of those actions and to fall fully into the arms of God's grace! Now, how much more wonderful would it be if we reflected back that grace to the other one we are finding fault with?

God's goodness is extended to us - all we need to do is fall fully into it.  If you have ever stood at the edge of the pool, or looking off the edge of a dock at a lake somewhere, you know that moment of "well, here goes" which has you tied up in knots for just a few seconds.  You know the water's temperature is likely to be quite different than the air around you, so you are prepared for the "plunge".  When you finally take the leap, you are letting go of your fears.  You are launching yourself fully into the water and there is no turning back once you launch yourself forward.  Life doesn't have a rewind button!  When we make the decision to fall fully into God's grace, we are taking a plunge which has no "rewind button"!  God's grace envelopes us and then gets us quite acclimated to the feeling of that grace!  Just like our body quickly acclimates to the water in the pool, our soul and spirit quickly acclimate to the richness of this enveloping grace.

God is good to us with one reason in mind - that we might turn fully toward him. Instead of looking at what others do wrong, look at what we might do right in this life!  We "do right" when we rely upon the redeeming grace of God to keep us focused on what he desires of "US", not the other guy.  We find ourselves reversing our focus when we understand the importance of grace - for nothing focuses us more on what matters quite like grace does.  In essence, we step out of the place reserved for the judge or the jury - we become the ones who are on trial.  We find ourselves relying upon the leniency of the "court" - so to speak!  Now, we will do well to keep this in mind as we think about the "other guy" in the picture the next time.  They are the ones standing there hoping for leniency! Just sayin!