Posts Tagged ‘Sin’

The Patience of God

November 6, 2010

Recently at work I was annoyed, repeatedly.  I drove across town on two separate occasions for an important meeting, and each time, one of the people who was supposed to appear failed to show, meaning we would have to reschedule the meeting.  I wasted valuable time driving as well as waiting in the lobby for this person.  A third meeting then needed to be scheduled, and of course I was annoyed and irritated.  Inside I felt inclined to write this person off, and say “I’m done” dealing with him.

It is in these common daily moments that the Lord may be trying to teach us something.  So, while waiting in the lobby I took some time to reflect on this unique kind of suffering.  You may recall that the Latin word for suffering is “patiens”, from which we get the word “patient.”  It is fitting because to be patient is a type of suffering.  While I waited angrily in the lobby, I stopped to consider how often I have turned away from God despite knowing full well what He has asked me to do. The Lord is actively waiting for me to turn away from sin and choose to follow Him.    Does the Lord say about me, “this man that I have created and redeemed by My own Blood, continues to sin repeatedly, deny me and place other things above Me. That’s it! I’m done with him!”

No!  “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion.” There are so many scriptures to remind us of this.  Some I have mentioned in past posts.  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.”

“You shall call him Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.”

“I have come to call sinners, not the righteous.”

How patient God is with us.  While I was ready to dismiss someone after two failings, God is ready to forgive me again and again, and again, and again and again and again.   It’s interesting – when I left the office that day I left with a feeling of joy.  This was odd, as I had just been reflecting on my own sinfulness.  But in fact, recalling our sins can actually be a way to bring us closer to the Lord.  You remember of course, that a man who is not sick has no need of a doctor.  And a person without sin has no need of a Savior.  If I am not calling to mind my sins, I am then tempted to believe that I am “better than” those people who appear to have more flaws than I do.  I will be tempted to believe that I am acting righteously, when in fact, “my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51).

Reflecting on our sinfulness can be a way to experience God’s love.  And the only reason this can be is because Christ is our hope.  He is the one who brought reconciliation with the Father.  He is always ready to forgive.  If we are enslaved to sin with no hope of forgiveness, then yes, we would be the most hopeless, dejected people of all.  But in truth, we are the most joyful, hopeful people of all, because God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Rejoice, repent, rejoice!

 

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“While we were still sinners…”

March 16, 2009

From the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

“For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

One of the roadblocks in the spiritual life is that when we fall into sin, we begin to feel shame and withdraw from God.  We fall into the trap of believing we can only be loved by God if we are pure and clean from all stain of sin.  This is a great temptation that should be considered diabolical, because to believe this would build a wall between us and God.  Satan would have people believe that they are unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness.  He will try to choke the believer’s prayer life by suffocating him with shame and guilt.  Jesus, on the other hand, wishes to demonstrate His love towards all of us by giving us everything good, even when we are completely undeserving.  Remember this the next time you sit down to pray, at home or at church.  Or better yet, remember this when you are feeling depressed after having fallen repeatedly into the same sins.  You may be thinking, “Here I go again. I clearly don’t love the Lord or appreciate His blessings.  I continually reject Him. I just keep making the wrong choices. There is no hope for me. I should give up.”  WRONG!  Jesus is the personification of Mercy.  He is ready to lavish his mercy upon us.  In fact, he chose to reveal Himself to certain notorious sinners who were outright opposed to Him.  Do you recall St. Paul?  St. Paul had been focusing all his attention on eliminating the early Christians, believing they were a cult that should be stamped out.  He approved as followers of Jesus were imprisoned and even executed.  And amazingly, Paul was not even repenting or asking forgiveness when Jesus appeared to Him and revealed Himself as the Lord.  How much more then, will God embrace us when we ask Him for mercy? 

I will conclude with an excerpt from John Donne’s poetry, reminding us that “all occasions invite His mercies.” 

God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day, and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons: But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of his mercies. 

 He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light; he can bring thy Summer out of Winter, though thou have no Spring; though in the wayes of fortune, or understanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintred and frozen, clouded and eclypsed, damped and benummed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the Sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. 

All occasions invite His Mercies, and All times are His Seasons.”