Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kind Justice

Some of you may have seen this story in the news recently.

 As I saw the video and read the story  , my thoughts led me to realize how often man will judge rightly on one level but question God's judgement on another.

I believe the reaction of most people to the story would include the following:
1.  to feel a love/appreciation for the cat!  As I said to my husband after seeing the story ..."That cat just bought himself life-insurance to live out his life in luxury!"
2. to feel sorry for the little boy...  who was  not only physically hurt, but  also had his sense of security and safety stolen from him.
3. to hope that justice will be done by the dog being put down (as it was)  The risk of the dog repeating his aggression against a child is simply too high !   What an animal does once will most probably be repeated.

If someone took the side of the dog, we would most certainly be aghast.   We might wonder why this dog would have this aggressive trait, and we might regret that he does,  but we would not be willing to give the dog another chance to harm another child.   The balancing scales of  justice would definitely dip on the weightier side of a child over an aggressive dog.
 Euthanizing the dog is justice --  protecting (preventing)  further victims is kind.

If the aggressive dog in our story was brought to trial by his 'peers' how would his lawyer plead his case?   Not guilty ?  Temporary insanity ?   A dog doing what comes naturally?   Every dog deserves a second chance?    Euthanasia a cruel and unusual punishment?

Many people see God in the Old Testament as a  God that advocated violence.
Is that really the true perspective?
In the fantasized court room described above where is the determining focus ?  On the innocent victim or on the one who is without question  guilty ?
On the guilty one, is it not ?

Are we often guilty of the same ?    We judge according to our own perspective and inclinations -  judging according to our own sinful nature, looking for reasons to excuse ourselves,  rather than focusing on God's wiser and infinitely greater sense of  righteous justice.
We consider ourselves good judges of what is right concerning the aggressive dog and would never accept the arguments of the dog-court ruled by  self-judgement,  and yet, how often do we question God's judgements?

There is a verse that so aptly describes God's heart intent  as He laid out Moses'  law that was to govern His nation of people.
1Ti 1:5  "Now the purpose of the commandment is love......."   
This purpose/character trait of God is echoed in Jesus words when He said that loving God and your neighbour was what the whole law was built  on ... Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." 
Paul  grasped the concept and repeated it here... Gal 5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 

God, as the Creator of man understands the heart/thoughts/ways of man and can make the judgements that will protect His people  but will also provide a strong deterrent for those who need boundaries to keep them from actions that would hurt , not only others, but themselves as well.
He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but He will not risk the innocent for the sake of the guilty. He will never allow room for evil to grow to where it destroys  the good.
While we tend to stand in the 'here and now'  and judge according to our own selfish inclinations ,  God looks down the corridor of time and sees the far reaching consequences of man's actions and He judges  in favour of the ones whose hearts are open to Him .  Obedience to His commandments will ensure  that those who love Him will  live in safety under the blessings He desires to pour out upon them. Free will allows also for disobedience that God must deal with for the sake of the obedient.

Next time you read a story in your bible that speaks of God's judgement and you are tempted to think it harsh, - stop and consider --  examine it from God's perspective and find God's intent of 'kindness' in His  righteous judgements on those who have made wicked, willful  choices to disobey God's law of love.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

For everything there is A Time ..... is there a time to rant??

I looked over the 'for everything a time'  list in Ecc.3:1-8  and did not find a listing for a 'time to rant', but I thought maybe "a time to throw away'   came close enough!

I have something in my kitchen   that   aggravates me every time I use it, which is most every day.
We bought new appliances when we moved nine years ago and I have been happy with them except for one feature on my stove !  The built-in timer !!
It makes no logical sense to me !

If I set the timer to one minute, no problem - I set it to the "1" and the number display immediately slips to  59 seconds and the count down follows to zero.    BUT, if I set it to any other number of minutes  then when I look at the timer display it always shows one less minute than what is left.
If, for example, I set it to 20 minutes, after one sec the display flips to 19 and counts down from there so that when it shows "1" minute left there are actually TWO minutes left  ... because the one minute shows for a whole minute before it starts the final minute at 59 down to 0 to  activate the buzzer !

OK, I know since I know how it works, that I just add one minute in my mind and don't let it bother me, right ?? NO!!   It bothers me every single time I set the timer because is just isn't RIGHT !!

I love the story found in John 1:43-51.  It is the story of Nathanael - whose name means "given of God".
John tells how  Philip encountered  Jesus  and heard His words, "follow me!"
Philip's  first thought was to seek out his  good friend Nathanael to share the exciting news.   Obviously they must have spent time discussing the prophecies of the Old Testament, because without any introduction Philip blurts out .."We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
Nathanael responded out of his knowledge of the scripture,  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"   
Philip knew seeing was believing for Nathanael and simply replied... "Come and see."
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to ward Him, Jesus said, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile!" 
Nathanael asked the obvious question in his mind ... "How do You know me?"   and  Jesus answered..."Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."   
Nathanael's response is rather amazing.   While Philip spoke of Jesus as the One who was to come...  Nathanael  dared to call him God ... "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" 

Jesus marvelled at his faith and asked ... "Because I said to you , 'I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?  You will see greater things than these. Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." 

While only John speaks  of Nathanael by name in this one account , I believe it is recorded because it holds a message for us. There is something we can learn from Nathanael.
Jesus liked him and paid him a high complement -  that he was without guile!   What does that mean?
It means that Nathanael was someone who was honest, forthright -- what you see is what you get...  no beating around the bush,  no filtering of thoughts before they are spoken, no guessing where you stand with him.
Nathanael spoke his mind .... expressed his honest doubts but was  also quick with a  ready acceptance of the truth when he saw it !

God desires honesty in our inner self ...  that we are open, without hiding behind a mask or a pious fa├žade.   We cannot hide from God.... so why try ?  

If people look at us , do they have to guess what the 'numbers on our screen'  really mean ? or do they see our face reflecting our heart and find our words to be honest and true ?

"Given of God"   -  a  beautiful name meaning that speaks of us walking in the 'image of Him' to whom we belong.    May the Lord say of us ... "A child of mine who is without guile!"