TOWARDS THE SINNER
Genesis 8:21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord SAID in his HEART, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake;
The Lord had just wiped out everyone and everything on the face of the earth except for Noah and his family and the animals on the Ark. We often see the “God of the Old Testament as vindictive but we are looking at things from our viewpoint. He can often see that if the current group is left to practice their sinful ways undisturbed, there is no hope for mankind at all,
He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. And now, as Noah offers up a sacrifice of gratitude, God responds “in his heart” with thoughts of a hope and a future thoughts of good and not of evil.
Like our Lord we are not to rejoice when the evildoers around us pull on their own heads natural consequences. Instead we are to cultivate thoughts of future blessings for them and chances for joyous relationships once they benefit from the consequences. Paul wrote the church at Corinth to turn over to satan a young man having sex with his father’s wife. To let satan wreak havoc in his flesh, why? In order that he might repent. Then in 2 Corinthians he had to yell at the church for not taking the young man back and restoring him.
Consequences without love and acceptance of the person will only produce despair. When someone wishes that another be damned or go to hell they want retribution not mercy. They must be forgetting who the second worst sinner in history is. (The worst is yours truly, obviously). Perhaps if they would say, “God why don’t you destroy everyone as bad as, or worse than that person.” Then, if they saw the truth, they would be condemning themselves. Each person should see themselves as the chief of sinners justly condemned but pardoned and cleansed and restored. Why would we not want that for the sinners who hurt us or our family.
I remember a story of a man in Rhodesia who was leading the fight to restore government to the people but, seeing all white people as evil, he chose to kill innocent agricultural missionaries and their families. As the missionary men were awaiting their death and watching their families killed, they begged God to have mercy on the killers. He was so convicted that he found salvation and has been a tireless evangelist ever since.
Proverbs 24:16-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him.
My prayer should be:Father forgive them for they know not the full import of what they do. But, open their eyes and bring enough consequences to them to open their eyes. Then help me not to rejoice in their pain but to uphold them in prayer; to stand ready to minister to them with no added “I told you so” but rather as the chief of sinners ministering to the second chief.