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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Put away that scale

Redeeming justice, true peace, and joy - three things we could all probably say we don't see enough of these days!  Newscasts of late have just soured me to even watching the news (something I do more for the weather report than anything else).  Too many shootings, accidents deemed to be hit and run, homes burned out, and children left unattended by parents distracted by their own needs - just about everything as far away from "justice", "peace", or "joy" we could imagine and a little bit more.  We live in a fallen world - a fact that probably hasn't escaped your notice, my friends.  As long as sin reigns, bad stuff will continue to happen.  The good news is that God is above it all - he is able to create within us this everlasting state of peace only he brings because he has been given the place of reigning in our hearts.

When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit.  You see, those who serve the Anointed in this way will be welcomed into the whole acceptance of God and valued by all men.   Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters.  (Romans 14:17-19 VOICE)

When God reigns - the simple use of "when" indicates there are times, places, and people in which his reign is challenged.  We all have a free will - something God values and created within each of us.  What we choose to do, how we choose to live, and what responses we will exhibit with life's opportunities or challenges is based on our free will.  It is possible, though, to have a free will and still submit to the reign of Christ in our lives.  It just means we "subject" our will to his oversight and care.  It means we begin to trust him to direct our choices and to give us "balance" wherever we have "swung out of balance".

When we begin to submit to his careful oversight of our choices, we will move into this place of true peace - for our choices are made in total trust of something (or someone) greater than ourselves, our ability, or our fortunes.  If you haven't figured it out yet, friction in relationships is because of an "imbalance" of power - one is upset because the other is taking more control - wanting their own way in some measure.  This imbalance leads to stressed responses and these responses lead to some pretty "unfair" or "unkind" actions. In turn, peace is disrupted, justice is not always the hallmark outcome, and joy leaves the picture entirely.

Life is filled with "redeeming moments" - those opportunities to make right what has gone so terribly wrong in the situation.  Life is also filled with "justice moments" - when we could demand "fairness" and "equity", but when our demands may not be in the interest of "peace" and "balance" in the relationship. It is a fine line we walk between "fairness" and "justice".  In God's eyes, his idea of just is adherence to the "moral standard" he exhibits.  Anything short of that standard is just not justice.  In those moments when we want "fairness", we might just ask God if he can make the moment on in which "redemption" occurs.

Redemption indicates the slate is cleared - no one really "wins" and it is much more than a "win-win" situation.  Instead, two come together as one and in place of "demanded fairness", we accept "payment" for slights in terms of what Christ has already done to "clean the slate" in each of our lives - because that "slight" is already taken care of (paid in full) by the blood of Jesus.  We lean into his grace and we trust him to do within each of us whatever it is that needs to be done, moving us toward peacefulness, resolution, and restoration.  I may not "get justice" every time I feel "wronged" or like there has been some imbalance of reward in life.  What I do get is something called "redeeming justice" - my slate is clean (and so is yours) because of the grace of God operating in my life, helping me "not keep score" in all of those moments in life when I could have. Just sayin!