I often hear comments spouting the virtue of humility. I wouldn’t consider, even for a microsecond, speaking against humility. I do, however, wonder if we have a deep enough context to understand how the virtue fits within our fellowship with God. It seems to me that without context humility is simply a plastic way for people to make themselves look more pious so they can feel like they’re doing something that empowers them to be rewarded by God. Proper context, I believe, removes false piety and adds a healthy dose of fear and realism that attacks the glamorous light we tend to see ourselves in.
Without giving away any really big, embarrassing moments, I can say that I have given my wife many opportunities to feel justified about becoming wrathful. However, “wrathful” is absolutely not a word I’d use to describe our marriage. One key ingredient in our successful marriage (and my longevity… to this point, at least) is forgiveness. Moments of stupidity abound, but where grace is embraced the marriage thrives. It’s similar with our fellowship with Jesus, too. We have given Jesus a truckload of shameful treatment, but “wrathful” is not a word that could describe His interaction with us. As you reminisce about some of the reasons you have given Jesus to become wrathful toward you, you’ll find encouragement in this week’s video/audio.
There was about 60 of us sitting on couches, or the floor, or on top of each other, eating chips and cheeses, while we discussed questions like, “How far is too far?” Or, “Ok, but, is it really a sin if I just did this?” Or, “But, I can do this, though, can’t I?” The teens in my Ottawa youth group were candid about wanting to both connect with Jesus and also stay disconnected. Dancing the line of Jesus’ grace and our choices created some fun talks. Now that I’m a lead pastor I’m finding that discussions of grace and choice still lead to some interesting discussions…
I know I’m sometimes naive, but I think I’ve known for a long time that Canadians have it pretty good. Nothing, though, really reveals that more clearly than seeing how badly life has become in other places of the world. Here’s something that I’ve found to be true: contrast brings clarity. That’s not only a practical truth, it’s also a spiritual truth. You, a person who is blessed with God’s grace, come to understand how great God’s grace is when you contrast it with the Old Testament Law.
As I walked into his room, seeing me for the first time that day, my son became excited. He jumped at me and we fell crashing onto his bed as we wrestled each other. Unfortunately I was still wearing my glasses and they snapped in two as they bore the weight of his body against my face. His moment of joy turned into a moment of wide-eyed panic. But, all was well when he heard these magic words, “It’s ok, Pal, I’ll take care of it.” Grace covers over a multitude of failures for me, my kids, and also for you.