Yesterday we wrapped up our teaching series called
- I was able to talk about my favorite restaurant, Red Bowl, every weekend!
- It gave me a chance to articulate how I would go about explaining my God to someone who doesn’t believe in Him, or believe like I do.
- Talking like this stimulated people at Church180 to begin thinking about how they would present God to their friends who don’t believe in God.
- While preparing to teach this series, I gained a deeper appreciation and respect for my God.
- If you missed the teaching series, you can watch/listen here.
So yesterday we talked about the “severity” of God. Essentially this refers to his intensity, and harshness.
We don’t talk about this a lot. Maybe we should.
Yesterday I said that I’d like to see MORE of God’s severity!
I’d like to see him smack down those savages who practice female genitalia mutilation.
I’d appreciate it greatly if He would open a can of GodSmack on ISIS for the barbaric treatment of innocent men, women, and children.
I’d cheer and clap if he gave heart attacks to those people who kidnap and purvey children and women as sex slaves.
I’d be okay if God laid down some thunder on rapists, murderers, thieves, and the dog next door who won’t quit barking! 😉
Where’s the love, right? 😉
Seriously, don’t get all righteous on me… you’ve thought the same thing! (Truthfully, I’m grateful for God’s mercy… without it I’d be a smear on the path.)
So why doesn’t he act? I struggle with that question. You may too. We’re not the only ones.
The truth is, however, that God IS severely dealing out justice in limited ways these days!
He is doing it through two obvious ways:
- The government (click on this link and read these verses! Pay particular attention to verse 4 which says: “[the authorities] are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.”
- Jesus. (again, click on this link to read why I say that Jesus one way God is dealing severely with evil in our world).
If you missed the teaching yesterday, this stuff makes more sense with the illustrations I mentioned. You can check it out here.
Then we asked the question, what about the unaddressed evil? When is God going to get harsh and severe with that? When will justice be served?
The answer is… we don’t know, but we continue to believe in and anticipate the time when it will happen!
In the meantime, St. Paul gives us clear instructions about what we are to do as we wait: Pray. Wait. Act.
Here’s how he said it:
(WARNING: what you are about to read will make your head explode)
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:14-21 NLT) *the bold is me highlighting the three big ideas: pray, wait, and act.
Think about it…
If I act violently, how does that make the world a better place? As one who believes in a severe God, I must choose to live quietly and peacefully knowing that someday my God will completely address the unchecked and unanswered violence in this world.
Now, this is a tough one for me but I embrace it’s truth and trust that someday my God will equalize all the evil that is not made right either through the justice system or forgiveness through Christ.
And now some tweetables:
- Today we will not beat the Baptist’s to Moe’s.
- Notice how God is both kind and severe. (Romans 11:22 NLT)
- More than 17,000 Americans are enslaved in the sex trade every year. That number is between 600,000 and 800,000 worldwide.
- I don’t know why He hasn’t shown up yet. I don’t know when He will… but He will.
- When is criminal is justly punished by the legal system… according to St. Paul, that is God’s severe justice being worked out in real time.
- Christians believe that our God can forgive the worst person… because of what Jesus did!
- St. Paul was part of a hunting & killing team that destroyed Christians. He was forgiven & used by God when he repented & believed in Jesus!
- How to live in a world where there is so much unaddressed violence: pray, wait, act. (Romans 12:14-21)
- Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord.
- I will live quietly and peacefully knowing that someday my God will completely address the unchecked and unanswered violence in this world.
What do you think about all of this? I’d love to hear from you!