Saturday, July 31, 2010
Integrity, Love and Grace
I have often seen the question on the Internet and have, from time to time, been asked the question, "Why does God allow evil?” Folks dislike the answer and few are the Christ Followers that will answer and maybe that even know the answer. The answer is much like the Exhaust Manifold of an Internal Combustion Engine. The final output must come from several sources and yet there is but one answer. The final answer is that we, Christians, will learn the depth and length of grace. For reference you'll need to read First Corinthians 1, all of it. Paul dealt with this issue which burns down in the purification process to Integrity in the handling of "Grace.”
God sent His one Son into the world to pay the debt He did not owe in order that God might be able to extend His grace to us and right there is the stopping point for the average Christian. And yet that is not the aspect of grace that God wants us to plug the entrance to our Learning Processes at. Remember the Manifold? An R985, radial aircraft engine, has nine cylinders and one exhaust manifold, all the cylinders put their used gas into that one piece of equipment to get it out of the way.
In, exactly the opposite manor God extends His grace to each of us but it does not just dump out and fade away at that point. Now we, the Christ Follower, are in need of a "manifold” to exhaust into. Remember that brother that stumbled in the faith, last year, and we removed him from fellowship? WRONG! This is evil, but this is no more evil than the ten girls we dated and slept, in the back seat with, before we were married. That man or woman was and still is an exhaust port for God's infilling of His grace in our lives. God never meant for us to secret His grace away to keep it until we burst.
Well what about that rapist/murderer? God even loves Him! That's why so many of us are found in prison on Sunday morning and evening, to extend grace to them. God doesn't, so much, "allow” evil as, instead He forgives us of devising it. And if God has given, not just extended, grace to us, "How can we ever do less to our fellow man and claim to be students of Christ?”
Now, be careful here, this lesson is not about our right to bear arms but neither is it a litany against protecting our mothers, wives, children or home. We can love a man and still kill him to protect ourselves and our loved ones, I know, that was my profession for eight years when I was a young man. A better example is Harvey Wright. I hired on with a Japanese company and I negotiated a good starting wage to kick in on my 13 week on continuous employment and being a new Christ Follower I did not avoid the question when he asked how much I made, nor did I feel inclined to lie to him.
Harvey had been there long before I showed up for him to train me and I was making a good bit more than he was. Now Harvey was a Baptist Sunday School Teacher but every time I turned around I found Harvey's knife in my back. I had heard Pro. 25:21, 22 preached from the pulpit by Bro. Richard Clark, so I did not retaliate because I also knew that vengeance belongs to the LORD. Instead I began to pray, every day, for Harvey's spirit to be healed. I will not give the details but when God poured those coals onto Harvey's head both our spirits were changed. There were great tears in my eyes as I attempted to comfort and to lift Harvey up, only to be rejected.
You need to be careful praying for someone, your love for their spirit and eternal welfare will magnify itself beyond all belief. So I pray that all will understand what I am teaching in the morning and that none of you have chosen to make deposits in the Grudge Bank. I do my very best to keep my account there empty.