Pronunciation Guide

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Annnd...part 3!


Once more, this is about redemption. This is what I wanted to write yesterday, but didn’t have time for.

…And, naturally, I am really struggling to put my thoughts to words.

The Bible says that when Jesus was crucified, two thieves were crucified with him. Now, I don’t know what constituted thievery in that day, or if the Romans doled out crucifixion for anything and everything, or if you had to have done something really bad. And it doesn’t really matter how they got there; the point is that they were there, dying alongside of him. One mocked him; the other asked for mercy. I love the story; it is a glimmer of light in the midst of a horribly dark moment.

I have lots of Bible stories I really like. But one of most favorite stories is that of Manasseh, arguably one of the most evil men to ever live. He led his nation into horrible sin, he sacrificed his own children…he was just a horrible person. …BUT… --- and this is why I love it so much --- …he didn’t stay that way. He repented, genuinely. And he changed.

I used to think that I always loved the bad guys in things. But it is more than that…or perhaps not quite that. It is when the bad guy…becomes good. Not when the bad guy pretends to be good…but when he actually…changes.

Transformation.

Why does this resonate with me so much, pierce me like few other things do?

…Because it is my story. Not the one I am writing [though it is that, too]…but my actual life story.

I am the bad guy. The villain. The enemy. The murderer, traitor, liar, adulterer, robber, rapist.

I am Manasseh, rebelling against God and what I know is right, sacrificing innocence on the altar of my idolatry, leading people astray with the influence I’ve been given.

I am the thief on the cross beside Jesus, hurling insults at him, mocking him, taunting him about saving himself and me too.

…But I am also Manasseh in his prison cell, repenting of my evil and begging God for mercy.

I am the thief on the cross, asking Jesus to remember me when he enters his kingdom.

I am the bad guy…changing. I am the villain…becoming good. I am darkness…being transformed into light. I am God’s enemy…ransomed from death, and brought into life. …His enemy, changed into his daughter…his beloved.

It isn’t about what you have done or haven’t done; that is not what determines whether or not you can be saved.

…It is whether or not you accept the offer of rescue.

Pride before God will lead to death.
Humility before God will lead to life.

…Uh, choose wisely.

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