Thursday, February 28, 2013

Go in Peace

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
- Psalm 1 New International Version
Interesting that of all the psalms, this, which emphasizes the difference between the outcomes of sin and righteousness, should be the first. It is almost as if the writer implores us to understand that regardless of our intentions, sin will rob us of our blessing in Christ. I especially related to the phrase "or sit in the company of mockers". It reminded me of the hours and hours I have sat watching cable news shows, listening to one speaker after another mock one thing and person after another.

Others, I know, sit and watch reality TV shows that literally make a mockery of the human condition, and encourage the users to mock those on the screen. Are we becoming a world of mockers, reveling in the disgrace of others?

Much of the bad behavior of the world is excused by many who paraphrase a certain event in the life of Jesus. Recalling the instance of the woman caught in adultery who was about be to stoned, many choose to selectively point out that Jesus essentially asked "who are you to judge?"

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 
 - John 8:7 NKJ

Our well-meaning friends who seek to excuse the sinner seem to overlook that Jesus points out that the very thing which disqualifies those who would judge sin, is the sin in their own lives. By excusing the sinner, they seek to excuse themselves. They also never, never mention the end of the story:
And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 
She said, “No one, Lord.” 
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
- John 8:8-11  NKJ
Jesus forgives our sins, but even as he does he commands us to give up our sin. Not for His sake, but for ours. For by giving up our sin, we can become like the tree planted by streams of water, living water, blooming and yielding our heavenly fruit in season.

Go, and sin no more. Go, and give up those vulgar and demeaning television shows. Go, and give up those radio talk shows that fill you with anger. Go, and give up those violent movies and video games. Go, and turn off Facebook, text messages, and email, and talk to real folks all around you.

Go, and meditate on the Word of the Lord. He will fill you with love and peace in this world of hate and anger.

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