I recently found a quote on Pinterest (you men may have to get a lady to explain that to you). It said, "Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and you make bad decisions." I laughed hysterically when I read this and mentally made a list of all the people in my life that it applies to. And then I read the book of Lamentations. And then I felt like a big jerk!
In Lamentations this week we find the prophet Jeremiah not laughing at the plight of sinners, but weeping for them. When the Israelites find themselves facing the repercussions of their sin, Jeremiah presumes a posture of brokenness instead of a posture of piousness. Lamentations challenges me to find a new way to look at those who are ensnared in their own sin
How should I approach those who have made poor decisions and now find their lives in ruin? How, as Christians, should we respond to those who have not turned to God and keep turning again and again to their sin? There is an obvious answer. As Christians, we should respond like Christ. And how does Christ respond to sinners?
Matthew 18:12-14 Jesus refers to himself as a shepherd who would leave 99 sheep to find 1 lost one.
Mark 1:21-28 Jesus casts an evil spirit out of a man no one else will touch
Mark 2:13-14 Jesus makes a thief his friend
Mark 2:15-17 Jesus eats with sinners and says that it is the sick who need a physician
Luke 6:37-42 Jesus talks about not judging others
Luke 8:44-48 Jesus tells Simon that those who are forgiven much, love much; referring to the immoral woman
Luke 15:8-10 Jesus says a person should search for a lost coin even though she has 9 others
Luke 15:11-32 Jesus is like a father rejoicing when his lost son comes home
Luke 19: 41-44 Jesus weeps over the rebellious city
Luke 23:34 Jesus prays for the forgiveness of those who are crucifying Him
John 4:1-38 Jesus shows kindness to the Samaritan woman (aka sinner)
John 8:1-11 Jesus shows mercy to the woman caught in the act of adultery
If our perfect Savior and Lord acts with grace and compassion to those who are lost, how can I do less? If our Savior weeps over the plight of sinners, how can I sit and laugh at them? After knowing that Jesus showers sinners with mercy, how dare I rain down judgment upon them?
Besides this, I have completely ignored the fact that I am a sinner too. Romans 2:1-4 " You may think you can condemn such people (sinners) but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?"
Does God’s kindness, tolerance and patience mean nothing to me? God forbid. My prayer this week is that we would all take a look at our attitudes. Are we broken like Jeremiah for those who have been broken by their sin? Do we have an attitude of mercy like our Savior? I love the words to the worship song, "Hosanna".
Open up my eyes to the things unseen Show me how to love like You have loved me Break my heart for what breaks Yours Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause As I walk from earth into eternity
May it be.