Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dealing with the Injustice of Betrayal

Has someone ever let you down? Someone who was so influential in your life who through their actions of words just suddenly pulled the carpet out from under you? I have heard numerous stories in my years of ministry where kids would share the devastation they felt as they learned that their parents were getting a divorce. I have heard heartbreaking stories of abuse by various means against someone weak and vulnerable and trusting. Every time it is heart wrenching to hear these types of things the father's heart in me wants to try and fix it, wants to lash out and hurt those who have inflicted harm in such ways. But the truth of it is that the Lord is is the only one who can "fix" it. Oh He doesn't remove the experience from our minds, or somehow go back in time and change it. What He does is He brings healing to the open stinging wound. What He does is He makes a way where we don't have to be defined by tragedy or inflicted shame. What He does is give us the gift of being able to extend forgiveness towards those who don't deserve it, just like He does to us. This frees us from the toxic effects of bitterness and unforgiveness, in a way that no amount of "positive thinking" or self-help can ever come close to.
In moments where our foundations are rattled, it is an opportunity for us to know more of Who God is and how loving, generous and all-sufficient He truly is to us. Have you experienced betrayal? Have you then made the choice to either nurture the pain and anger, or dive deep into Jesus to find more hope, more healing and more freedom?
Oh and that whole desire to lash out...God's got that covered too. The reason we can let go of retribution is because God is a God of Justice and one Day there will be a reckoning. (Though you know you have truly found freedom when your desire for those who have hurt you is mercy rather than judgment)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Regarding the release of the Lockerbie Bomber

Recently the Scottish government released the only man convicted for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. This was done for "compassionate" reasons according to the people of Scotland's "beliefs." (Scotland is a Christian nation.) The reason for the release is because the bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, has been diagnosed with cancer and only given months to live. He was sent back to Libya to be with his family while he dies.

I understand that this is incredibly painful and insulting to the families of the many victims, but is there a greater good at work here? Is the Scottish government wrong in this and other cases? What would be served for him to spend his few remaining days in prison alone, except perhaps vengeance? He was, in effect, in prison for the rest of his life after his conviction.

I know that this man received a hero's welcome back in Libya, and if he was indeed guilty of the crime (there has been serious doubt regarding the conviction) that to me is disgusting to celebrate this man and his actions. But we (and by "we" I mean Christians) are not responsible for other people's actions, only our own.

I think that this was a strong act of compassion that honors the Lord and sends a strong message of the way that Christians are different. After all, Christians understand the darkness of our own hearts and the treachery we are capable of. Though some would read this and object "I would NEVER..." But given the same environment and upbringing, you really don't know that you would be any different. Let me say that we do desire justice in this world and believe there should be punishment for crimes, but we also are called to extend mercy. This act was, perhaps, a great example of that.

My point in all this? Christians are called to have a biblical worldview, rather than a secular (or regular) worldview. I think that this is one case of a government that is still founded upon Christian principles as we and many other nations continue slipping away from Christ. Our history is filled with examples of extreme compassion that reflected our faith and made the world sit up and take notice.