Sunday, June 01, 2008

God's Transforming Patience and Grace

Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Lacking full wisdom and driven by sinful passion for personal justice it is easy to retreat into a critical spirit and launch into behavior that would seek revenge. Having recently experienced betrayal by a friend I made an offhand comment to a friend today that went something like this, “If I were in the mafia I’d call for a hit on this person.” What I was really stating was that if I were God I’d punish this person in this way. I am so grateful that God is not like me and that I’m not in the place of God. What comfort the parable Jesus told in Luke 13 is to me.

“And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

What mercy, patience, and enduring grace the father grants to me as well as to my enemy. Lord grant me mercy to love and pray for my enemies that you might bring them to repentance and restoration. Thank you that through Jesus your love inclines toward this sinner with patience, love, and grace that transforms. Because I don't see fruit doesn't mean it will not come. Your patience brings grace that produces fruit in season, producing a harvest of righteousness.

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