Don't get caught in the death cycle: overwhelming grief and unrighteous anger vs. repentance and righteous living
Hi there! Actually using my blog for my thoughts -- amazing, I know. But good habits are made, not brought on by osmosis. :) It's probably better that way. More memorable.
*(parable of the wedding banquet, Matthew 22:1-14)
- Judges 10:16
- Isaiah 7:13
- Isaiah 43:24
- Isaiah 63:10
- Psalm 78:40
- Mark 3:5
- John 11:35
- Acts 13:18
- Romans 8:11
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19
- Ephesians 4:30
- Hebrews 10:29
Think about this.
I think the direct consequence for sin is righteous indignation and discipline and vengeance, but the truly lasting knife in the back is grief over our sin: although, unrighteous anger and lasting grief go hand in hand as well. Jesus bore both our grief and God's wrath; God bore grief for Jesus, and all the chastisement really for us for being the cause of Jesus' death was also borne by Jesus. Incredible mystery. Our sins grieve God because each one was ultimately another piece of wrath inflicted on His guiltless Son; and remember too, that now we are part of that same Son's body. Therefore to grieve the Spirit is to anger God is to inflict the Christ in whose body we share is to hurt our own flesh, our own Head, and commit spiritual suicide in spite to One who loves us and sustains us. Thus any sin is not only against God, but against those who belong to God: ourselves and those around us.
But we just keep on sinning. So what's to be done? Well, we need to look at why to anger God is to inflict suffering on Christ. So... Why?
Love. Mercy. Compassion. Forbearance.
It seems contradictory, to punish one in order to save others the punishment, but if we know the full depth and seriousness of our sin, we can be sure it most certainly isn't. And if we realize that Jesus was completely in tune with God's purpose: righteousness, blamelessness, uprightness. And if we realize that Jesus is bigger than our sin. Proverbs 3:27. If the Father and Christ decide we miserable beings are due mercy according to the law of His love, and it is in Their power to give it, than He will not withhold His goodness from us. He hasn't held it from us! Amen!
You need only be still. The Lord will fight your battles for you. In fact, you will feel His Spirit doing that increasingly so in a lot of areas of your life. Does this mean you are condemned, because you are being molded? Certainly not! Inward spiritual battles, and their -- albeit, it seems to us, only occasional -- outward after-effects, the fruits of the Spirit, are proof of God's salvation and grace and inheritance bestowed to us! A part of Him! Amazing love, how can it be.
More Concerning Human Grief and the Condemnation Arises Forth-whence;
A Case for our Guilt thereof; :P
1. Because we are children of unrighteous wrath, we anger a God of righteous wrath: because this is blatant hypocrisy, even mockery, on our part. Playing God, and making Him out to be something He isn't, all the while complaining about Him, and doing the same thing we insist He does that we supposedly hate so much.
2. Because of our wrath, we cause grief to many we meet, and so, not only is God grieved for them: but also for us. For those who hurt others for pleasure are the most to be pitied, for as I said above, God does not pounce on wrongdoings with joy, and so nor should we, and those who do are guilty.
3. When we cause other's undue grief (whether they are truly grieved or using it "grief" as an excuse for their own wrath), not only are we guilty of being wrathful, but we are guilty of giving opportunity and temptation for other's to begin a path of unrighteous anger. We are building a brick road for them to do this as well, though they are not obliged to take it: but many will. (Matthew 18:7)
4. And we know everything we do to even the least of these, is literally as if we had done it to God Almighty Himself. (Matthew 25:31-46)
1. Don't get angry about wrong, selfish, badly rooted, evil-motived things of any kind, even and quite possibly especially regarding spiritual matters and religious conflicts. (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15; Leviticus 19:17)
2. Don't take pleasure in rejection of God or others. ("My delight is in the Lord and in His Holy law" -- including His law regarding others.)
3. Forgive, resist and love those who present you with opportunities to become wrathful at them by their wrath towards you. ("Love your enemies")
4. Respect, love and do not harm your own body, Christ's body, and all who were created in the image of God. For we are members of one another. For you are God's temple, and your sins there are also against you.
Yet we know we will break these rules. Continually. A good deal of the time without realizing till too late.
So again... what is to be done?
Same as before. To quote an auspicious one-eyed pirate most scandalously: "It's the Bible. You get credit for trying."
Nope. Not quite so, Raghetti. More like: "It's the Spirit, and if you're aligned with the Spirit by the power and will of the Spirit, and if there is a war going on, then God gets the credit and you get blessings in spite of yourself. How does that sound? You just will learn love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control on the side. That's not so bad, is it?"
While such a way to put it is actually rather repellent (I'm only fallen, people!)... you still get the idea. He sustains us and carries us: He will give you wings of eagles to fly. Of course, it's not always 'ups', but then again neither was Christ's life here. Remember, the world hated Him, and it will hate you because of Him. Everyone hates that salvation which reminds them of their need for it. We'd rather commit more of that profitable spiritual suicide, wouldn't we? :P But God doesn't allow that for His sheep. He prods them away from cliffs on high bluffs, but leads us to lush valleys instead. And He will spread a table for us in the sight of our enemies and those who hate us, while their bellies growl until with any hope they can't stand it any longer and are drawn to the food for their own good. And that food before us is the salvation of Christ, and the tantalizing aroma is the power of the Spirit.
Back to point 4. We do and for awhile will continue to inflict because of our sins. We'll inflict ourselves, inflict others and ultimately, inflict Christ.
The difference, between us all and Him however, is key here. The difference is, when we inflict God, directly or indirectly with grief by our rebellious actions, He, unlike us, responds with righteous anger. Oh, terrible awesome wrath of perfect justice: who can stand, O Lord?
The difference is also that, when we are wrathful, instead of responding with unrighteous grief, which really just leads to more unrighteous anger, He grieves for us. Grieves for us because of His righteous anger headed in our direction, and because of our own pathetic spiritual suicide. Mercifully, tenderly, He cares.
So back to the Cross.
Because God was righteously grieved and righteously angered at all our antics and the grief it caused (leading to more wrath leading to more grief leading to more wrath, etc., etc....), He sent His son to die... hold on back-up, back-up. Because curses were in full cycle, and thorns and weeds reproducing like rabbits, God changed the pattern and sent a Blessing. And the Blessing seed died in the earth. But after a little while, it popped up out of the ground and grew and grew into a big, healthy vine. It was not choked out by thorns of curse, but will eventually overwhelm them all. And some of the Blessing seed landed on the path, and some landed in the weeds, and some on the fertile ground, and some one the stony ground, and... You know the rest of the story.*
*(Matthew chapter 13:1-23)
But where were we? Oh yes. He sent His Son to die -- surely enough to cause any good Father grief! -- and to bear His Father's anger. But because the Father was grieved and angry, and the Son was so in tune with the Father's wishes and the Father's deeply troubled heart, that the Son in love to the Father, was faced with betrayals and tortures that would cause anyone grief. But not just this. Someone also had to face the punishment for the big betrayals, for all sins committed: my Lord, He was paying and praying for sins as they were happening to Him. So you know what else? In the face of grief to Himself, Jesus still had infinitely more grief for others: for those who caused His own grief. And in this incredible way conquered the griefs of the ages: and so it is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He canceled them out by the joy, love and purity of His own willing heart. And there's more! Jesus conquered DEATH, we know! So in addition to comforting the mourners, He turned the whole funeral around. His propitiation of all God's huge perfect wrath. For only infinity can consume what may as well be infinity, it's so big. In this way, Christ my God is bigger than Sin. Literally. There wasn't just an equal exchange of vile for blameless, so that there was left a void in the wake of great battle -- no! Victory, my friends! There was more innocence in Christ than guilt in us, and so there is such thing as fulfillment: left overs; spoil; there is a cup running over instead of a cup of woe. The cup of woe was all drunk up by Christ -- a deep, sour, bitter cup, who can drink it? It is Marah to us as it was to the Israelites in wilderness days gone by -- that is until God does something miraculous. In the same way, this cup was drunk by Christ, but the cup that He gives never runs dry, we will never thirst again: it continually runneth over. Endlessly, like the Zarephath widow's oil and flour.
But the point of my post was not so much focused on the conquering of death, as with another facet of it: of conquering what death produces. And this fills my heart immensely.
Guilt. That dreadful feeling.
Hear me out, I'm almost done wind-bagging! ...not only does God our Father throned above no longer condemn to death, but nor does the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. ***See bottom note please*** You DO have peace through Christ. So, not only are we legally pardoned for sin, but we are freed from the feeling it gives us: the feeling it incurs, that it lays on us like a shroud of death: of grief. Of guilt. Of shame. Of despair. Of fear. Of worry. Of exposure and nudity. Of a bad taste. Of everything that feels like a twisting knife in the back. But beloved ones, He not only swallowed up death but also the pain it brings.
"O Death, where is thy sting?"
It is GONE. It is DONE. Instead of grief we rejoice. Instead of guilt, we boast in our God. Instead of shame, we give -- and receive -- new honors. Instead of endless despair, we have infinite hope. Instead of the tyranny of fear, we are given a Master of love to lead us and care for us. Instead of worry, we are given perfect peace. Instead of exposure, we are given rich royal robes. Instead of a sour existence, we are given the fatted calf and wine and bread. And instead of a knife in the back, we are given a sword in the hand. Etc. Etc. You think up the rest. :)
Here's some inspiration.