Goal: show that God plans for good. Despite our choices which bring consequences, God is bringing us blessing.
All of us make mistakes. Despite what you have been taught, the human tendency is to eventually mess one or two things things up along the way. Since we make mistakes, we understand another thing all too well, consequences. They hurt when we make the wrong decision and feel great when we make the right decisions. It can seem like life will end before we can make the consequences go away or experience something good again.
Most of us have heard or seen Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol.” In this story, Ebenezer Scrooge has made some serious choices to pursue money and resources. His heart freeze and he pushes everyone out of his life. Although the story makes it seem easy for Mr. Scrooge to make up for bad decisions, it shows us that how we choose to live today can have devastating effects on us and those around us.
We all know that finding out way out of bad decisions is hard, but there is a darker theology in which people assume that decisions will lock in the results for a lifetime with no hope of escape. One of the ways we tend to lock in consequences is to spiritualize the matter. Sayings like “God will not bless that” or “God’s going to get you” point to a theology that God only blesses those who please Him. That would make sense from our perspective. If someone wrongs us or messes up our plans, we want to get back at them. If we were given the powers of a deity, we would draw our line very clearly and return spite for spite.
The good news is that God is not like this. God’s character is to combat evil with love. That would include inviting the people who have offended Him to participate in His kingdom. Note that this does not do away with consequences. Whatever choices we make will define many events that follow. Choosing to punch someone will lead to either a fight, jail time, or even death. Choosing not to follow God will lead to not participating in what He has for your future. Despite that, God is still reaching to us. God’s grace includes the broken people although we may think blessings should only go to the ones who deserve it.
Matthew 5:45b makes the point perfectly. God sends His blessings and resources to all of humanity, both good and bad. We decide how to use those blessings. We can choose to make a world better since He has . Romans 5:6-8 shows how God shows grace regardless of our rebellious choices. What is God’s purpose? To draw us to Him and His plan. If God is blessing us, then should we not return the favor of kindness to all around us and at least try to bless as best we can? This God even sent His Son into a hostile world to save the enemy, all because He does not consider us the enemy at all. Being an enemy is a reality that we have created. It is fake and goes against all that we were created to be.
God moves towards us even in the midst of sin. We are not victims of a fate which is out of our control and is uninterested in benefitting us. Choices can define us for a moment. In light of Christ, we have hope in the midst of devastation. There is no eternal torture necessary. God has given us a path to peace, but we have to be willing to follow Him to that place and help each other get there.