I apologize for leaving y’all hanging with no article last weekend. Friday and Saturday were full and arduous work days at the church removing and disposing of sixteen oak tress that had started to die due to being incorrectly planted five or so years ago. I was physically exhausted but thought I might recover on Sunday.
However, Sunday I was asked to do an afternoon mediation with a couple trying to figure out how to live together somewhat peaceably until the divorce she initiated is complete. The marriage did not start this way. Pictures of the couple two decades ago are full of smiles and love and hope and promises made to each other and God. However, as the years progressed their sinful and selfish ways began to erode the commitments they had made. As recently as a year ago they empathically stated that they would not even speak of divorce, much more get one. Sadly, she no longer believes, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” and he has behaved in such a manner that has killed all desire in her to do so.
When I got home from that meeting I was still physically tired plus emotionally drained. The brain cells were done putting thoughts together. I figured y’all would understand.
It was a good week of ministry. A man allowed the Lord to teach him how to love his wife, not just have sex with her. Another found strength and wisdom from God to have an important and transparent talk with his teenage daughter. And I was glad when a teenage young man began embracing the truth that he is worth loving and being with because Jesus loves him and likes being with him.
However, there was a moment yesterday when I was reminded once again of the destructive and devastating nature of sin. I was at a celebration dinner with a number of couples, one of which has a precious four-year-old boy. The little guy was unusually withdrawn so I ask if he was ill. His mom told us that he had experienced for the first time in his short life what it was like to be made fun of and intentionally demeaned – which initiated a time of sharing about how all of us had been treated this way, some of us even physically bullied, as children.
It begins as children. Our sinful selfishness and insecurity drives us to mistreat each other. And rather than being remorseful and repentant, we only seem to get more determined and sophisticated with age. It all makes me very thankful for the significance of the week ahead.
Palm Sunday begins “the passion of the Christ”, one of the most intense periods in all history. A holy, pure and righteous God, who cannot tolerate or stand to be in the presence of sin (which our lives are full of), takes the loving initiative to dramatically and painfully resolve the issue of sin and provide forgiveness. Only because of the historical events that occurred in the next seven days so many years ago are any of us able to have a relationship and a dialogue with God. Without that, the three men I mentioned above would still be in turmoil and the four-year-old boy would be without hope.
I am so grateful that “God so loved the world that He sent his one and only Son…”