Sunday, 23 October 2016

The worst of all

I don't know how it is for you, but I regularly get all manner of 'drop mail' that others have liked or re-posted on my general Facebook page. Much of it gets skimmed over, but every once and a while, someone adds something that gets my attention.

This week, for instance, someone posted a link for '50 things that Jesus hates'. Intrigued, I clicked on this to see what was there, and wasn't surprised to find myself looking at nothing more than an empty entry alongside numbers 1 through to 50.
I'm sure that raises lots of smiles on unquestioning faces, but I immediately found myself thinking of what's said in Proverbs -
There are things that the Lord hates and that are detestable to Him;  haughtiness, lies, love of evil, murder and ill passion, and those who conspire to act wickedly (Proverbs 6;16-19)

It's so easy for us to forget, for example, in the Gospel of Matthew, that one of the very last things Jesus is engaged in before going to the Cross is cleansing the temple (Matthew 21) and then confronting the religious leaders of His day with a full on list of woes that will befall them because they entirely fail to hear what counts and willfully lead people astray as a result of their blindness and arrogance (Matthew 23).

Mike Horton notes in he opening of chapter 5 of Beyond Culture Wars that we may be surprised by some of the life of the 'saints' in Corinth, which was clearly tarnished and needful because of their sins, but these were not, he notes, by far, those who were in the greatest trouble in those days. Read the books of Galatians (1:6-10, 3, 5) and Colossians (chapter 2) and it quickly becomes apparent that the hideous thing which severs us from God's love is when we give ourselves over to a manner of belief and then practice which in effect deliberately denies God's revelation and seeks to assert our 'right' to determine what is good and right in detachment from that. It's the poison that Paul informs us which leads to judgement in Romans (1: 21-32) and the darkness that Jesus tells us leaves us without remedy (John 3:19-20).

The thing God hates is our rejection of His love for things which are so pitiful and brief that they do nothing but diminish us to creatures without hope and, eventually, even devoid of natural affection.

The weight of this life is often great indeed, but the true joy of it is that even amidst our trails and our pain, we can become those who recognize the glint of something sweeter, greater than the fool's gold of wanting nothing but our own satisfaction. Life, notes Solomon, must be defined by something more than such vanity.

The hateful thing is that evil which makes us into nothing more than a shell of what love is aiming to forge and fashion in our broken, shattered world.

God wants men to see the folly of life without that remedy, and hates it when we choose to ignore His care in showing us His love. May we be people who draw close to Him in our times of need and thereby find the richness of His unique, enduring and steadfast love.

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