Monday, June 11, 2012
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus." -- Romans 3:23-24
We have all said it..."What a terrible world we live in!" or "The world is going to hell in a hand basket." or "There is so much sin and sadness in this world..." Don't we just wish Jesus would return again and this terrible world would end?
I think that is such a hopeless way of thinking...Yes, God does promise a better perfect life for us in heaven...a life with no pain, no tears, and no sin. We all want that. But, God also gave us THIS life...the one we have RIGHT NOW! Yes, the life we have right now is full of violence, drugs, selfishness, greed...sin abounds with self-distructing people who are out for number one and don't care who they take down in the process. We feel like this world we live in is so rotten...rotten to the core, and we feel it is so much worse now than it ever was...it must be the end times!
Many of us look to God, and I believe that is what God wants us to do. He wants us to read his word and believe it...believe in his plan of salvation for the world through his gift of Jesus. Jesus came and took our place...took our sin, so we can look forward to that perfect life in heaven forever. Believing this is what gives us hope in this fallen world.
But...living in this fallen world is still hard, even with hope. It is so hard that we end up resenting the fact that it is so hard. We look for reasons for why it is so hard. We see all the sinning that is going on in the world and we resent that too. Why can't everyone live like we do? Why can't everyone go to church, pray, serve and do good like I do? In order to cope with this crazy world, we get pretty self righteous. We know and feel the hope that comes from faith in God's plan, but somehow, that hope sometimes gets twisted into a judgemental, harsh feeling of supeiority. Anyone who doesn't believe as I do is wrong...anyone who doesn't act and think as I do is wrong and is part of the reason the world is going to hell.
Yes, we have a lot of bad things happening in our world today. But, when we continually blams others for the world's condition, we are fooling ourselves. ALL fall short...ALL sin. There is no sliding scale on sin...my lie is just as much a sin as the murder committed by the rapist. My ignoring the hungry child on the street is just as much a sin as the woman having an affair. I am no better than anyone else in this world. The only difference between me and anyone else is that I have Jesus in my heart...THAT should make me more forgiving, more loving, more giving and more accepting of the others in this world who DO NOT know Jesus. THAT should make me want to help others instead of judge them. THAT should make me want to make THIS world a better place instead of hiding in my church and wishing for Jesus to return and end this hell on earth.
I hate how violent, scary and sin-filled our world is. Yes, I long for the peace of heaven. But, I also know that God wants us to LIVE in this world. Jesus taught of love and forgiveness. He taught that we should not judge, but share the good news with others. Open your eyes...the "sinner" you judge, hate and fear is also God's creation...who is in great need of the peace and hope of God's plan. If you spend all your time hating their sin, how will you have time to show them God's love? How will you create a relationship with them that allows you to share God's loving and forgiving plan with them?