HOSEA 2:21-23: “And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is my attitude towards those who oppose what I believe in? Today we live in a culture with an ever growing moral divide. Gone are the days when Christian values were the predominant values in our land. Beginning with the 1960’s and moving forward, there has been a steady assault on traditional values. Today these values hold the minority influence in our culture and those who espouse them are ridiculed, mocked, and marginalized.
Many today are not dealing with this very well. I confess that I am one of them who has struggled with feelings of anger and confusion. How do I react? How do I respond? I think many times I am more like the Son’s of Thunder than like Jesus.
- “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. ” And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:51-56 NKJV)
James and John, nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder”, knew how to deal with those who did not hold their values! Call down fire from heaven and consume them! This angry response met a quick rebuke from Jesus. This spirit did not come from the Father – it came from the enemy of our souls. It played right into the hand of the one who always wants to kill, steal, and destroy. Yet, the heart of God has always been to save and restore. In Hosea 2:21-23 we see God’s heart for Israel, and for us!
As I look upon those who are walking on the wide road, and entering through the broad gate, I must not be filled with anger – but with a heart that is moved by compassion, a heart that is motivated by the ministry of reconciliation. Paul reflects this heart when he writes,
- “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:18-21 NKJV)
The reality is – sin is sin. Just because the sin we were bound in does not look like the sin someone else is bound in, we are not the better. We were lost and destined for judgment until we were met with the grace and mercy of God. We are not called now to call down fire upon those who oppose our beliefs and values. Rather, we are called to plead with them, to implore them with love – to be reconciled to God. Some may say it is a lost cause. Yet, Jesus reminds us that there is more joy in heaven over one who comes to faith in Christ than over 99 who are already saved. If we can only reach one with the call of reconciliation it is still worth it. The ministry of reconciliation is the heart of God!
Lord, help me to remember that once I was without mercy and You bestowed Your Mercy upon my life. Once I lived as Your enemy, but You redeemed me through the blood of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner saved by grace, a beggar who has found the bread of life. I neither earned nor deserved your Grace – and yet You freely bestowed it upon me through Jesus Christ. My only response to those who are lost should be compassion and concern that motivates me to reach out with the call of grace and mercy – “Be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
In Jesus Name!