Hello, everyone. This blog has moved to JOHNVOELZ.COM!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Punished "by" our Sin #3

So, sin, in the Bible, includes the idea of disobedience to God for sure but it is not a complete picture of sin to think in terms of “being right with God or being saved means I do something bad, ask for forgiveness, God grants it, I’m safe.”

The problem of sin is bigger than your individual disobedience—although that is part of it. God’s plan is not to get it through your thick head to “stop disobeying” as much as he is looking for complete surrender of individuals, communities, cities, families, systems and he is looking to repair and set those things right.

When we set up guidelines for our children, it is because we love them, want the best for them, and know the end result.

When I send my son off to a party, we have a little unspoken language between one another where I remind him about the things the stay away from and the proper way to treat ladies. He knows the “rules.”

His keeping the rules does not get him extra privileges. He doesn’t come home and tell me all the good things he did so I will pat him on the back.

And, if he broke those rules, they would all have their own consequences far greater than things I cook up to punish him. And, it’s not my goal to make him pay for any crime. It IS my goal to help him understand what it looks like to have a life free of the burdens of the effects of sin that enables you to be the light of God in the world and love on people without being self consumed with your own disorientations.

I try to protect him from those repercussions.

My daughter used to hate wearing shoes outside. However, I would always tell her to wear her shoes and quit running around barefoot because she was going to hurt herself. Sure enough, on a number of occasions, I would catch her with her shoes off outside.

She always had an excuse.

I was on the grass.

We swept the street first.

I wasn’t really “running.”

And, EVERY TIME she would hurt herself. Of course, each time she would come crying to me to stop the bleeding. Then, the next time, she would think I was trying to rob her of her joy by making her put her shoes on.

Her “punishment” is pain, bleeding, not being able to walk the next day . . . the very things I am trying to protect her from.

(P.S. One of the greatest things now, with an adult child, is getting a call saying, “Thank you for teaching me _________ daddy.”)

Now, do I think God disciplines in a way that causes me pain to keep me from some greater pain? Heck, yeah. I don’t put that past him. That’s good fathering. That’s love.

But, God does not simply (as my good friend David says) “blind reward for virtue or blind punish for vice. He is motivated to set things right in the world. His activity is not designed simply to ‘remove sin’ but to bring completion to all creation. He is determined to do this through his people.”

The Bible doesn’t really support the idea of an arbitrarily angry, lightning bolt wielding, God who needs us to debase ourselves before He’ll stoop to dialogue.

One by one, every story of rebellion in scripture shows us that sin or “our sins” do not push God away. He is a relentless pursuer.

He does pronounce judgment, but the judgment is inherent in the fallout.

blog comments powered by Disqus