Wednesday October 12, 2016
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Let’s go all the way, Friend.
I must admit, I am a bit of a political junkie. I normally enjoy the give and take of a campaign, and the usually rather nefarious methods employed to gain advantage. This year has been a little different. Last week, we were treated to a 70-year-old man trying to explain a recording of himself (at age 59) saying some rather awful things. He said it was “just locker room talk.” Well, I’ve been in lots of locker rooms, and I never heard anything quite like that. It sounded more like “Beavis and Butthead, the Uncut Version.” Anyway, he made a half-hearted apology and went on about his business. My thought was that an apology seemed a bit short of the distance he needed to cover. He needed to go on to repentance.
Our God is a God of relationships. From the Trinity that is God, to the redeeming and restoring of man to Himself, God is always moving to establish contact and increase intimacy. He designed His people to do the same. In order to live free, those of us with attitudes and behaviors that do harm to others must adopt a lifestyle of restoring broken relationships. I need to walk with God without shame, and walk down the street without fear of meeting someone I have damaged. I have to be able to lie down at night without the burden of guilt. This requires repentance. God cleanses me in the Blood of Jesus when I confess my wrongs to Him. He is gracious. Jesus paid my debt to God. To restore human relationships, however, I have to go a bit further. To apologize comes from a Greek word meaning to give a defense. That is not what is required. I need to own my own actions and ask forgiveness. That is not an apology, but an appeal for mercy. In the name of justice, I then must make some attempt to repay or repair the damage I have done. Anything less is insufficient to allow me to raise my head.
Somebody Said: Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none. Thomas Carlyle
Scripture Reading: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT)
Our candidate friend gave an apology, a defense. That seems to ignore the necessity to be washed clean by the Blood. I have no way to determine if that has been done. On the human plane, however, there are plenty of damages to be repaired. There is his family – what is the price of public humiliation? How about parents now required to explain to children why a national figure would say such things? NO, Junior, it’s not alright! How about a nation already staggering? If it so impacts the election that his opponent is elected, liberty itself may suffer. Our misdeeds shatter relationships. Restoration is the heartbeat of God. For those of us who are striving to overcome our shortcomings and live free in the grace of Christ, apology is not even a good beginning. We have to press on to repentance, forgiveness, and amends.
Pastor Virgil Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson