While reading the book of Psalms I came across a prayer by David that reminded me of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. Notice his words:
Hide me from the scheming of wicked people, from the mob of evildoers . . . .
shooting from concealed places at the blameless (Psalm 64:2, 4a).
And now we have the tragic event in Sutherland Springs, TX—26 innocent people killed and 20 wounded—in a church service! These vile and wicked actions serve as a sobering reminder of our own potential for evil. The words “There but for the grace of God, go I” applies to all of us. They are true!
Sadly, the only things that separate you and me from people like Paddock and Kelley are both positive and negative circumstances in our lives. This includes the fact that you and I were blessed with different parents and relatives, friends; emotional, physical, and psychological make-up, culture and knowledge, including knowledge of God and His Word as a reflection of God’s goodness, not ours. And while enjoying these blessings—before God saved us—we were subject to the death penalty (Romans 6:23) and “guilty of. . . all” (James 2:10). Notice God’s response to our unworthiness:
But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ
died for us (Romans 5:8).
This statement serves as the basis of true humility. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t condemn evil behavior. We should! And it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be serious consequences—even the death penalty (See Romans 13.)
But the Scriptures also tell us that God is the ultimate judge and arbiter of justice. And though God gives church leaders and civil government discretion and authority to exercise a certain amount of discipline, in a broader sense He describes our personal responsibility in the following words:
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so
that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun
to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the
unrighteous (Matthew 5:44-45).
Here’s a thought provoking question. If God asks us to treat our enemies in the way these verses describe, how does He regard and treat His enemies? While God is a God of holiness and justice, He’s also a God of love. The perfect expression of this reality is His Son:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save
the world through him (John 3:17).
Therein lies a major key to a godly perspective of ourselves and the world which is Principle #9 in Romans:
To walk in God’s will, we must believe that God’s grace is far greater than the power of sin.
I hope you will think about how this principle applies to all people everywhere and to not limit the power of God to change lives. After all, you and I are proof of that power!
Gene’s Principles to Live By
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