Unfortunately, in today’s spewed communication system, both the hater of God and the hater of the Godless enter the same toxic space. I’ve recently heard more than just one reference to the courage of Joan of Arc, donning armor upon a majestic horse and standing up to face the enemies of God. Are we there yet?
“Return and live,” as God pleads, beckons rather than blasts.
Image by bonoflex
By John Pearring
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord GOD. Return and live!
I often scan through various translations when finding a verse that will focus my reflection. Quite often, the words morph and jockey for emphasis from one bible to the next. Not so with this verse. The wording of twenty different bible translations remains wonderfully consistent.
Why is that wonderful? In truth, variety in translations can also be incredible, revealing the breadth and reach shown by God. He exercises our noodling brains to see the range of his teachings. Yet, word-for-word consistency tells us something else that’s important. Clarity.
You’d think we would all easily understand that God finds no pleasure in death. This verse on death, however, speaks to the dire consequence of a sinful, dismissive life. The heart of a man or woman who purposely ignores God, where God is a known entity to them, is not a friend to the believer. Especially when this person doesn’t just reject God but openly calls God a fraud. We can quickly become angry with such a person. We don’t want anything to do with them. They’re dangerous.
“Watch out for that dude!” “I pray he gets what’s coming to him.” “If she barges into my life, I’m giving her the business!”
Unfortunately, in today’s spewed communication system, both the hater of God and the hater of the Godless enter the same toxic space. I’ve recently heard more than just one reference to the courage of Joan of Arc, donning armor upon a majestic horse and standing up to face the enemies of God.
I don’t deny the holiness of courage in the face of damning insult, but her horse wasn’t named Trigger. We must concentrate our hearts upon the verse above, so consistently translated for us. We, too, must not find pleasure in the death of someone’s heart for God. Truth and honor and love are not the same things. It’s a rare triangulation of these holy words that justifies a sword. “Return and live,” beckons rather than blasts.
Besides, our response calls for prayer and God’s intervention in the face of outrageous, even heinous sin. In everything we do. At all times. Even as we may be lifted off our knees and hauled off to a cell.
A fascinating story in the news sparked the example of God’s power in the face of radicalized folks who mean others harm. It’s worth clicking the link. Protesters stopped ranting at a Catholic gathering because the prayer and song from the group they were protesting quieted them down. They left.
A sane and practical dispute doesn’t occur when we operate with triggered or knee-jerk aplomb. We’re so used to quick responses, though, that we need to practice the methodology of prayer and song like these mature, Spirit-led folks.
Besides, who is our enemy, anyway? Are the folks we can’t stand really the guilty party? Our detractors, folks who challenge us for our faith, do not often stand on our porch face-to-face. Quite often, they’re only in the social network, the uncertain realm of the news, and in the boisterous attention-seeking political arena. I’m not discounting their existence, just confirming their blanketed, hidden places.
A buffoon is only partially responsible for their choices and the resulting sinfulness. They’ve been improperly formed, poorly raised, and probably left unloved. We should expect that God loves both the idiot and the fool.
The blatant sinner, we insist, leaves a different mark on the world. We don’t expect God to love evil folks like the rest of us. You know, us, the good folks. That’s all well and good until we’re reminded of our buffoonery and poisoned character faults.
We need to leave the chastising to God, I’m afraid. Nothing is apparent in the guilt associated with the social network and the rest of the public forums. We can certainly be clear on the foundations of our faith, though. That’s what we must pray for.
Remember that God wants us to turn back to him and live. It’s the pattern of how we must exist among the buffoons and the poisoned. We’re likely responsible for some of the chicanery that points people away from God.
Fortunately, our God takes no pleasure in our or anyone’s dead hearts and the ultimate consequences of that decay. Pray, sing, and return to God. We may not be so blessed to see the results, but we know it’s what we should do.