She looked like a car commercial. The top was down on her convertible as she raced down the highway with her long blond hair blowing in the wind. Her hair was a flurry of activity as it twirled and flowed. I’m sure she must have been taken with the spectacle that she was. I wondered if she had ever done this before and if so, had she not learned the price that was awaiting her. I am, of course, talking about her need to comb her hair when she was finished driving. The snarls, tangles and matted twists had to be a nightmare.
For every action there is a reaction. That is what sin is all about. God tells us not to do certain things, not to deprive us of happiness, but to increase our happiness. In His wisdom He knows consequences, short term and long. Whenever I see someone smoking I think about the short term ten dollar a pack price and the long term health destruction.
Because God is gracious and forgiving some people think they can count on His grace. They can. But grace does not wipe away the earthly consequences of our misdeeds; even when they are done in ignorance.
The mention of God’s wrath appears often in Scripture. It could leave us with the impression He is just waiting to zap us. That is far from the truth. There is active wrath and passive wrath. Active wrath is the zapping kind. Passive wrath is God allowing us to reap the natural consequences of our actions. When we yield to temptation God hurts as any good parent hurts for his or her child. We want the best for our families.
Occasionally I meet a Judge Judy fan. When I ask them what it is about her show they particularly like I pretty much get the same answer, which is, they really like it when she is cutting and mean to the litigants. They enjoy seeing her put people down. Why is that? I find myself wondering if we have a vicarious experience when we witness someone being rude. Is it something we want to do but can’t get up the courage to do or is it because we are trying to be a Christian and we know Jesus wouldn’t do that?
Ah, but He did. Read Matthew 23. There He calls the leaders of the nation “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “tombs – clean on the outside and rotten on the inside,” “snakes,” and more. However, I don’t think He is giving us license to go about slicing up people. If we read carefully 99% of the time it is best for us to hold our tongues because we usually regret it if we don’t. The only times Jesus went after someone was when He saw that person using power and privilege to hurt people who were unable to defend themselves.
If we really want to be happy and satisfied with our exchanges with others, we should follow Jimmy Durante’s counsel in his old song, “It’s so important to make someone happy. If we make someone happy we will be happy too.” “Love is the answer.” But let’s be realistic. Some people are unlovable. Some people just push our buttons and bring out the worst in us. This is where “agape” enters the scenario. When Jesus counsels us to love He isn’t saying “Like.” He is saying we should wish the best for others. We should pray for them to prosper. We just don’t have to best friends.
My mother never bought me clothes that fit. The shoe lady would measure my foot and we always bought the next bigger size. My jeans always had to be rolled up above my shoe. I thought that was the way jeans were supposed to be worn. I thought it looked weird when at school other kids didn’t have the roll which was always lighter in color.
In Zechariah 3 Joshua the high priest was wearing filthy garments and the angel standing with him commanded that Joshua be clothed with clean rich garments. And in Isaiah 61:10 we read, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
That robe of righteousness we wear is always a bit too big. There is always room to grow. We wonder how that can be? Perfect is perfect. This is one of the great mysteries of Godliness. When Jesus comes we put on incorruption. And yet for eternity we will never stop growing. This is the greatest wonder of all. After a thousand years we will be more than we ever were before. Oh, how grand we will be. Paul wrote, “Eye hath not seen.” In Ephesians 3:20 we read, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
So don’t even ask, just soak up the promise. You are going to be something literally out of this world. And if you look down at the bottom of your robe, it will be rolled up!