Saturday, February 12, 2011

There Is A Greater Revolution Than That In Egypt That Is Taking Place

As we look on Egypt with great amazement I can't help wonder what is next. There has been an almost bloodless revolution as the people said "Enough" to the power of the day. Now that power is gone and there is a great unknown as to what will replace it. Will it be the democracy that the protesters were calling out for or will it be something worse than what they had? We should face the fact that no man-made governmental system will ever be perfect because man is not perfect. The government cannot repair hearts and minds. The government cannot bring peace to the inner man. The government cannot fix our brokenness. However, there was another revolution that took place a long time ago, that overthrew the hidden power in this world so that all these needs and more can be met.

Since the beginning of time man has been a vengeful creature. We have a keen sense of justice according to the laws of God and man. If we look to God's law we see a very simple reaction to being wronged, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". I will do to you what you do to me. If you hit me then I have the right to hit you back. If you do something bad to me then I have the right to do bad to you. Our moms use to tell us that "two wrongs don't make a right" but we knew deep inside that she was wrong. The nature in us demands justice based on vengeance. Even today our system of law is referred to as the justice system, and what do we do with people who break the law? We punish them of course. We seek our revenge. The psalmist of Psalm 58 would fit nicely into the world today:

The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, 
when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. 
Then men will say, 
“Surely the righteous still are rewarded; 
surely there is a God who judges the earth.”
(Psalm 58:10-11)

But two thousand years ago God led a revolution that stole away the power of our nature, tramped all over the face of the hidden evil power of this earth, and even surpassed God's perfect law. As soon as Jesus spoke  these words:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

everything changed. God was about to lead a revolution of the heart, free the world from its chain to sin by using the weapons of grace, love, mercy and forgiveness. Jesus Christ came to lead that revolution so that we would understand that the walls that separated us from God were being torn down, the hate was being swept away and peace was being ushered into the heart and mind of any person who made the decision to trust Jesus. Oh, we deserve nothing but death simply because our nature is contrary to God's. He is holy and we are sinful:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The revolution that was birthed in God's love carries with it a message of hope that dares speak these words from sinful lips, "Forgive me". It is not a hope as the world understands hope but instead it is a banner we hold up high because forgiveness is breaking down the walls between us and God and us with each other. Where there had only been justice and revenge there is now God's justice that requires forgiveness:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

This revolution is based on the fact that we all need forgiveness. Yes, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit none of us is perfect. Not being perfect means there are things in our lives that have harmed others. Besides the fact of our sinful nature that separates us from God, our natural course of action is self-centred and offends other people. If you think this does not describe you then you are a liar and you have fallen for your own lies:

... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ... (Romans 3:23)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:9-10)

The revolution only takes hold when we realize our own condition, how much we are desperate to be forgiven and accept this great ocean of love that washes over us, transforming our heart and mind. It is in this transformation of revolution that our need for revenge is replaced with the great desire to forgive. Jesus explained this phenomena to a Pharisee named Simon. A former prostitute had interrupted a dinner to demonstrate her love and dedication to Jesus for the forgiveness and release he had given her. Simon took offence at this so Jesus told him a story:

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
 “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (Luke 7:41-43)

So Jesus looked to the woman and said to Simon:

“Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:44-47)

In order for us to appreciate this revolution and what power it has swept aside we have to realize our own need for it and exactly how much we need to be forgiven. When we can admit to our own guilt and accept forgiveness for what we have done then the love of God in us will multiply until it feels like an ocean. It also causes us to take our eyes off of the faults and sins of others as we realize we are no better. It stops the great wave of revenge as love overtakes it and we find ourselves forgiving people long before they can even ask for it. If you do not have this and you are still seeking revenge then you have not realized how much you yourself need to be forgiven:

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

It is time to join this revolution against the tyranny that keeps our hearts and minds enslaved to the patterns of this world. Revenge does not belong to this revolution; faith, hope, love. mercy, grace and forgiveness do. There is no place for hurt and bitterness as the love of Jesus comes upon us with great healing. We need to get our eyes off of what people have done to us and realize what we have done to God. In seeking healing and forgiveness for these things we will discover the strength and desire to forgive those who have offended us.

1 comment:

sueannzito said...

how profound. all things we know, but need to hear again and again and again.