In the nearly three years of Lambchow’s existence I have rarely touched on current events, never touched on politics, and strictly avoided hot-button issues. This was intentional and purposeful. Our desire is to encourage folks to walk deeper with Jesus regardless of where they are at on that adventure. Yet, here we are. With tensions, divisions, conflicts, and darkness impacting our lives. There is tension between the races that, in some quarters, seems unresolvable. Our choice for President this November is between two deeply flawed candidates. Few seem to respectfully listen to views that are different than their own. Faith is mocked in the vilest of ways. Yet, there is hope.
Could it be that God is turning up the heat to reveal the dross? The wise writer of Proverbs said, “Take away the dross from the silver, And there comes out a vessel for the smith;” (Proverbs 25:4, NASB95) Could it be that God is purifying His bride the church? As Paul wrote,“so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:26–27, NASB95) Could it be that God is bringing hidden sin into the light of His glory? Jesus warned, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:1b–3, NASB95) Could it be that these conflicts and sins have been here all along and that God has chosen now to reveal them?
None of us are free from guilt in this. Left, right, black, white, urban, rural, educated, uneducated, rich or poor we have all whispered things in the darkness of our hearts that should not be thought of. We all have our pre-judgements and presumptions about peoples, events, and choices. With closed ears, we state our case, not even able to hear the foolishness spilling from our own lips. All of us are guilty. Yet, we hate to admit sin and are often blind to the dross that is rising to the surface of our own hearts. But there is hope.
Why does God reveal our sin? So that we can be free from it and find forgiveness. As John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NASB95) As followers of Jesus, we need to be frequent-flyers when it comes to confession. If God brings something up, deal with it. If someone angerly gets in our face, we need to look past their rage and see our own sin before we raise the shield of defense. If Satan reminds us of something in our past we need to take it to God, even if we’ve done so a hundred times. We won’t embarrass God, shock God, or surprise God. He won’t think less of us but will forgive us and cleanse us because of Jesus death and resurrection. So why is God bubbling up the dross in our family, neighborhoods, and nation? God wants us to do something about it – but it may not be what you think.
We need to put on the attitude of Jesus. In a way, Jesus adopted our sin. Being sinless and guiltless himself He carried our sin and guilt to the cross. We may not have participated in the sins of the others, but we can adopt them for the sake of forgiveness, and healing. For example, my family never owned a slave, never bought or sold anyone, and never took sides in the Civil War that I am aware of. They immigrated after the Civil War and came from an Anabaptist tradition forged in persecution. Yet, following the example and attitude of Jesus I can “adopt” the sin of slavery that continues to haunt our nation, carry it to the cross of Christ, confess it before the throne of God and ask forgiveness from its descendants.
I know, it doesn’t seem like the simple act of confession, repentance, and forgiveness would do much of anything. It seems unfair, having to carry someone else’s sin, yet that is what Jesus did for us. But there is healing in that simple act that cannot be found anywhere else. There is hope because we know God’s promises are true. Adopting the sins of the past and of others for the purpose of confession opens the floodgates of God’s mercy and grace. It may be a humble seed, but God knows the fruit that will come from it. Oh, and don’t fret about God’s justice. Each person is still responsible before God for their words, actions, inactions, and choices. But by recognizing sin and asking for God’s forgiveness we are opening a door. Remember what Jesus said has He was dying – “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” I’d like to think that Jesus was looking at each one of us at that moment.