Today's verses come from Chapter 30 of Proverbs, which taken as a whole focuses on the need for humility.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Prov. 30:2-3
I often wonder about the certainty with which believers assert their beliefs in terms of faith practice and judgment. Some people, for instance, fervently believe that homosexuality is a sin so despised by God that they will lash out in hate to inflict pain on innocent bystanders to make their point. Others believe that it's perfectly Godly to call in bomb threats to the mosque being built in their community. These people quote Scripture to justify their actions. They think God is on their side, that they are on God's side.
When is hate ever an act of wisdom? "Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do."
Over and over again, Proverbs teaches that wisdom comes from trusting God, from walking humbly in His ways, from being honest, faithful, and good, from sowing seeds of peace and harmony among family, friends, and neighbors. Think of the lesson of Ruth, who humbly trusted God by maintaining bonds of family, and came through hard times to a place of honor in the lineage of Jesus.
But we fail often, don't we? We think we know the mind of God and act out in certainty with anger or hate when we should be humble, leave justice and judgment to God, and share His love for us with the world boldly and faithfully. We are like the speaker in Chapter 30...we have not learned wisdom...or knowledge of the Holy One.
May God open our hearts with His eternal and unchanging love so that we are filled with that love to overflowing, and wisely share that love abundantly with the world.
How do you fail to be humble and wise? Do you give vent to hate or anger and seek to justify those feelings by invoking God? How can you move from stupidity to wisdom, and embrace being a beloved child of an infinitely loving Father?
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
When I saw this on Pinterest, I immediately pinned it on my Living Faith board.
A friend recently confided in me that she was starting to feel regret over a decision she made years ago. That decision, which certainly felt like the right thing at the time, now has her doubting herself. Should she have done it? Was she being weak or faithless? Did she sin? How did she hurt others with her choice?
These doubts can assail any of us. They are the what-ifs of our lives. And they are entirely pointless in our faith life.
When we know and accept that God loves us, completely and unconditionally and infinitely as only God can, we know that we are safe and secure forever. No one can shame us. No one can use our sins against us.
Of course we make mistakes. Of course we make bad decisions. Of course there are consequences for those decisions, and sometimes the consequences are dire. Consider the relationship of Jacob and Esau. Jacob lied to his father and cheated his brother. God still used him for good. Consider Judah's treatment of Tamar. He put her in an impossible position, forced her to sin and risk death by stoning. God turned it to good. Consider Saul's collusion with Rome against the early Christians. God turned him into a powerful witness. Consider the crucifixion of Jesus. God turned it to the greatest good ever known.
Over and over, God takes terrible sinners and uses them for His purpose. Over and over, God takes terrible situations of violence, terror, horrible cruelty, and transforms them to further his Kingdom.
Even when we try to live faithfully, we'll never be good enough, smart enough, helpful enough, generous enough, kind enough. Grace, God's grace, saves us. Completely. Utterly. Unfailingly. Every single time.
If you're feeling ashamed, if you're feeling regret, please pray. Please hand it all over to God, put it all at the foot of the cross. Because you are caught in His grace. Always.
There is no shame that grace cannot cover...no sin that God cannot forgive. Fall before Him in repentance, and He will lift you up in Grace.
Thanks be to God!