Friday, July 4, 2014

Loving The Heroes AND Villains

One of the harder things to do in this life, especially in present times (though it has always been the case but looking at now, because this is the time we are in) is to look upon the wicked and our enemies with any degree of compassion, let alone love toward them . . . as we are nevertheless commanded to do. . . .

Here is a way that I have found helpful, and though is but an analogy, I am fairly well convinced comports with the teachings of scripture and is sound. . . .

For one thing, we should recognize that there are different kinds of love.  There is the love we have  for our spouses, children and friends, which is more intimate and rightfully passionate; and there is a kind that we might have generally, more commonly for strangers, knowing that they too are our kin, though in a more distant sense, and the kind that we might have for things, ideas, places, memories etc. 

In the early stages of our spiritual regeneration we may find guilt and shame in knowing that we do not love others--especially our "enemies"--as we know we ought, yet certainly we are capable of moving from a position of hate and loathing and resentment and anger into a higher mode, such as that more "general" or "common" kind of compassion or love which at least, is well on its way to the type of Christlike love that we must eventually find our destination, as we are to:

" . . . the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."  --1 John 2:6
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  --Eph. 5:1-2

This is how I have been able to enter into such a way. . . .

I recognize that this life, this universe, this world . . . and the way it goes . . . is primarily made for the purpose of demonstrating God's glory--to reveal and share His attributes with creatures He has made to be witnesses and partakers thereof.  We are in the midst of a divine demonstration of Who He is, what He is like, the different attributes of His eternal nature and character (ie., love, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, goodness, perfection . . . and yes, wrath against sin).

Something to consider straightaway when pondering a demonstration . . . is in the question:  Which of these demonstrates better, deeper and more of God's power and glory?  If He created a perfect creature that reflected His divine attributes, ie., if Adam had been made good and perfect and never sinned and just went about his business in the Garden undisturbed and undisturbing . . . OR . . . if we see a creature who was made overall good but chose to rebel . . . then plummeted into corruption and chaos, tormented by evil repercussions and surrounded all about by evil, God-hating beings (the devil and demons) . . . who then God mercifully rescues by stepping in to receive the full weight of those dire and horrific repercussions, taking on the penalty for that rebel . . . then saving and giving that rebel the ability to return to and love God and finally be perfected in holiness and goodness . . . and even have that rebel going on to be a joint-heir in the eternal riches of the glory of God and Heaven?

Now, if I thought that the current rebels of our time--those who are actively attacking God and His people and righteousness at every level of human culture and throughout the world--that they were acting completely independent, with their own power and volition, unconnected from God's will and purposes . . . yes, I think I could justify the natural resentment, anger and even hate I have toward them, liars, perverts and murderers that they are!

But where I am daily more convinced of the utter and complete sovereignty of God, Who rules the world and all in and around it--with perfect, holy and good intention/purpose . . . I am far more likely to look upon them with pity and concern . . . and yes, even a type of love . . . because I know that God has decreed the roles they are playing in His demonstration; and there but for the grace of God, I too would be!  [Note: I half suspect that those who continue to reject's God's absolute sovereignty, do so in order that they can maintain the dark pleasure of their baser "old man" feelings such as hate and resentment--in essence still refusing to "put off the old man"][see Eph. 4:22, "put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires"]

So, pity and thankfulness are more the emotions I experience, rather than loathing and anger, because I recognize my Lord's brilliant, righteous, Authoring Hand in all things!  Here is where I am actually coming close to capable to even "bless those who curse" me!  (see Matt. 5:44)

What I see is a story--a demonstration--that God the Creator has written, with living characters who play roles, within a stunning, awe-inducing narrative put in a certain time and space; and some characters He has made to be heroes . . . while others villains; all to show, to reveal the vast and variegated, creative and nuanced, profound, Personalized aspects of His eternal Being!

 “All the days ordained for me were written in a book when as yet there were none of them”  --Psalm 139:16

"For God is not the author of confusion, but (the Author) of peace . . . " --1 Cor. 14:33

Now, the unregenerate, humanistic mind, made as it is, will rail against this saying, "How dare God do this!  I refuse to worship a God Who has made things in such a way!"  And with Paul the apostle I easily and instantly answer, "O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"  --Rom. 9:20

A mistake many such make is in assuming that those whom "The LORD has made . . . for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov. 16:4) that they want and love God and yet He has passed them over, capriciously assigning them to destruction nonetheless.  Whereas, those who are made for the revelation/demonstration of His wrath against rebellion and sin do not, by there very nature want Him, nor to please Him.  On the contrary, what they want, they get--which is enmity with God--to reject and curse Him!  [" . . . men loved the darkness rather than the Light . . . for everyone who does evil hates the Light"  --John 3:19-20]
It is not as though everybody is seeking God--wants to be like and with God--but He callously refuses some while choosing others.  But, rather, "no one seeks God . . . no one does good, not even one"!  --Rom 3:11-12

He has created, Authored . . . all for His purposes--for the demonstration of His multifaceted, divine character--each with a specific and unique role to play in His story, including that some will choose to reject Him, to their justified end, where others will choose (as He grants them to) to worship and serve and commune with Him forever.

Who doesn't like this?  Who is that would supplant God with their own method and purposes?  Who resents God's absolute sovereignty and wants a seat at the ruling table, matching their own own wills against His, railing and complaining at Who He is and what He has done and intends to do?  Who refuses to submit and praise God's decrees?  The devil, the Evil One! . . . and his demonic cohorts, and all those who share in their accusing, rebellious sentiment.  "What kind of God is this!" they demand.

But the Children of God, in reverent fear and awe-filled worship, praise His Name, His ways, "Thy  will be done (not mine!)"

When I look at the wretched state of the world, and the trouble and misery-makers within it, and see that all in all, they are fulfilling roles that the supreme and divine Author has written them to fulfill, that His glory be manifest in all its attributes (including such as mercy, sacrifice, law, love, grace, justice) then I am able to love (even while fighting) those enemies, knowing that not they, but God's will is being done, for good, for those that love Him, no matter the temporary appearance of the situation.

The story isn't over. . . . The heroes and villains will bow at the last curtain call--but it will be their knees they bow, for then all will recognize who has been the Author all along, and because He is good and  "is just! . . .  There is no evil in him!"  --Psalm 92:15

In this way, seeing it as it is, as it is Written . . . I can love all the parts of the Story--even the heroes along with the villains, though it be in different ways, according to His purposes in the Authorship.



Mark said...

Amen,Jesus was not in a loveing mood when he overturned the money changers tables in the temple.He was railing against the act(the sin)and publicly pointing it out.

Love the sinner not the sin.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this reminder, Brother. That is truly a God-centered approach to the problem of evil and evildoers, and how to respond. Keeping in mind that I am just such an evildoer, if not even worse, who only has the grace of God clothing me to keep me from destroying myself...that is a sobering and humbling thought that I pray God will keep at the forefront of my mind minute by minute!


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