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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday Sermonette - Beyond Euphoria

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:10-13, NKJV

Those of you who can remember that moment when you really connected with God for the first time probably also remember the euphoria of knowing you are forgiven and unconditionally loved by the God of the universe. However--if you stay in that euphoric state, it's as though you remain an infant subsisting solely on milk. There are some meaty things you still need to learn.

It took me some time to figure that out--and, of course, I'm still learning that from those God has adopted into His family he expects growth into responsible adult Christians. One of the most important things He requires of us is to dish out the same forgiveness and love to those around us as He so quickly gave us.

That verse above sounds harsh. However, if you had loving and responsible parents, they taught you to become adults in sometimes harsh ways. Whether they paddled your behind or sat you in a time-out chair, the punishment felt harsh, didn't it? But they did it because they loved you, not because they hated you or were mad or didn't care what kind of adults you became.

We make mistakes in judgment--God understands that, even though He has never once done the same thing. The thing is that when you realize you are withholding mercy from someone who needs it (not necessarily deserving it), that you give it. Don't worry if the mercy is given reluctantly--feelings will lie to you. Just give it.

This week, a delivery person left some expected packages three blocks from our house. As soon as I discovered it, I immediately reported it, expecting the deliverer to immediately correct the error. They didn't. Since the packages were very, very heavy, it wasn't like we could just go bring them home. They didn't redeliver the next day either. By the second day, I was boiling mad and let the delivery company know it. An hour later, the deliverer had picked up the packages and brought them to us. The person apologized profusely. Didn't make excuses, didn't try to cover the mistake--just apologized.

I told them I accepted the apology then went one step further. "Forgiven," I added. The delivery person beamed like I'd given an extravagant Christmas present. Oddly enough? I probably felt as good as they did!

Father God, remind us when we're angry how angry You could have been at our mistakes and misjudgments and harmful actions, but instead You forgave. You are our example, and though we will never be perfect, we will keep aiming at that mark. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
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