"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, How I Love Your Law! Or Do I?

I was pulling off the interstate the other day and I saw a policeman on the bridge. He was clocking people. Just waiting for the wayward speeder. On the inside, I was cheering for him to get someone. Why? Because I hadn't been speeding that day.

I have this secret fascination with the police. I would love to ride around with one and watch him bust the bad guys. The police do a great job and I commend them. They are the first in line to uphold the law of the land. I cheer for the law. When I read about a criminal getting his rightful sentence by a judge and jury in the paper, a part of me cheers. When I see an episode of COPS on TV and the bad guy gets his comeuppance, my just side feels like all is right.

Don't get me wrong. I've had two speeding tickets. One of those had a reckless driving and an improper passing attached to it. On both occasions, I was very respectful to the officer and knew he was doing his job. He was upholding the law that I had broken. I knew I was caught and he was right to bust me for it.

But then . . . I think about my adultery. I got caught red-handed. I was discovered by my wife at the time. Of course, God already knew, but her discovery laid bare my sin before the entire community. My ex-wife told my family, my friends, her friends, the church, and anyone she could about what I did in her anger. I deserved that, I suppose.

What was worse, I realized that God wasn't kidding when He said, "your sin will find you out."

God is the ultimate policeman. However, He doesn't always pull us over when He sees us speeding right away. Sometimes He lets us get away with it for a while. Sometimes He lets us think we're really, really smart. He gives us a chance to right our own path. He gives us a chance to wallow in our sin.

But finally, He'll bring down the hammer. It hurts. Bad. The justice that I demand that other people get, I hate when it is applied to me. Yeah, I know it's a double standard. I don't mind when it's a speeding ticket that I can pay. But when it's the huge cost of adultery that costs me everything, including public humiliation? That's a little more difficult.

Was I ready to pay the price to be with Cynthia? Absolutely. But I didn't like it when the law was applied to me.

Now, over a year after my transgression, I have a different attitude. God is a just judger. Thank goodness He judges like He does. He is gracious in His judgment. You know what? He is more than fair in what He does. If He really wanted to judge me like I deserved, He would strike me down before I ever got out of bed in the morning.

Even after my soul was saved, my heart still needs to be protected against anger, pride and hatred. I have to seek after the Savior. I am an angry man against those who have judged me wrongly.

I had a conversation with Angelica recently that might shed light on this. She talks to a lot of people from Angel Falls about me. People who have decided that they will never speak to me again. She told me that they ask questions like, "Does he take care of you?" or "Does he do what he's supposed to?"

She said she answers, "He pays his child support on time."

To me, that is an inadequate answer. I have gone above and beyond what I should do. I go above and beyond what 99.9% of most deadbeat dads do. I pay my child support based on seeing my kids only once every other week, despite the fact that Angelica asks me to watch them four days a week. I love my kids. I don't care about how much child support I pay. I just do what I do because I want the best for them and I want to see them taken care of.

Strangely, even if I could tell all those people at Angel Falls that I love my children and pay more than I should in child support. Even if they could see that I'm doing as best I can despite the sin I committed, if they could see that I'm doing right by Angelica, even though I hurt her and that we are getting along better now that we ever did, they wouldn't care. People judge by unfair standards.

And I used to as well. We all do.

We judge by the standards that we set up for ourselves. But that's not right.

There are only two things that ultimately matter. First, we will only and always be judged by the standards that God has set up for us. And secondly, that we see ourselves through the eyes of Christ.

Are you seeing yourself through Christ's eyes? Or are you overjudging yourself? Are you your worst critic? Do you give yourself the harshest treatment possible and then slink into a corner? Christ doesn't do that. He gives us grace when we repent. He approaches us with mercy and love, forgiving us of what we have done.

On the contrary, it's quite possible that we are underjudging ourselves. We think we're better than anyone else. We are prideful, full of ourselves and think that nothing can defeat us. In that case, nothing will get through to us but an eventual downfall. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

So, when I get pulled over again someday for speeding, I could argue. I could argue that I was going under the speed limit. But it won't matter. All that matters is the radar detector on the officer's dashboard.

And all that matters is God's law. The law that we can love or hate. But it doesn't matter whether we love it or hate it. It is what it is. And our heavenly Father gives it out with compassion, love and mercy - but it is just at the same time.

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