Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rap Sheets

This one hits a raw spot for me and some will know why.  I've recently had the unfortunate experience of helping to put a man behind bars.  This person deservedly needs to be taken out of society's picture to protect another.  Two things particularly will enrage me to violence; 1.) the purposeful harm of children and 2.) the purposeful harm of defenseless women.  I have been gnawing on much rage these past weeks as a result.  None-the-less, it is an unpleasant and messy affair and has, obviously, garnered the hatred of this individual towards myself, my friend, and my family.  The friend I seek to protect from this individual is innocent in the affair other than seeking to extricate themselves from a demonic and consuming history of abuse and fear. 

As with all whom I would consider "adversaries", I have begun to study this individual - to learn as much about them as I can.  I have poured over online public records.  Little to my surprise, I have learned of an extensive history of court appearances, sentencings, and read about a track record of abuse, drug use, criminal activity, and an overall disregard for society's laws.  But this is never enough for me.  I desire to study what motivates the mind, what has shaped it, formed its thinking to action and behavioral patterns.  This has led me down the path of investigating this person's parents, siblings, etc.; all in the effort to compile a composite of their upbringing and values.  Again, not surprisingly, I've learned of a history of repeated law-breaking by the parents and siblings, disregard for societal norms, abuses, domestic disturbances, and even imprisonments.

How very, very easy for me to sit justified.  I, in my spotless criminal record staring down a small book of copied printed materials numbering nearly a hundred pages on the offenses of others. 

"Thank you Lord I am not like them".

" ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’  Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’  Jesus commented, 'This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God.'  "
Luke 9:11-14 MSG

We have all carried a rap sheet.  The first entry on mine was "Joshua was born".  Only our sentence wasn't so light as a 6'x8' room with bars, a bunk, and a toilet.  Our sentence involved an eternity of moral darkness, torment, and horror as we found ourselves terribly alone with a host of fallen angels and others as lost as ourselves.  This was the damnation created for the fallen ones that Adam bought into and condemned our entire race to with the disobedience in the garden.  This was the end God never desired for us. 

But in the only miraculous manner in which He alone could, God provided the once-for-all, overwhelming bond-payment for our trespasses - the ones you and I were born with. That payment was the blood of His most cherished Son and it obliterates your record, fulfilling the maximum penalty and sentence.  Ponder this.  Ponder yourself the above listed offender and that the above physical description of the countless pages of offense  are yours, only infinitely longer.  Ponder the failures, mistakes, swearing, moral misteps, and terrible misdeeds you've embarked upon.  Ponder that document suddenly and irrevocably expunged - wiped clean - spotless. When the Judge looks at your criminal activity report now, He sees only an empty white page.  Crisp.  Clean.  Not even a speck of lint on it.  Blank.

Because of this blood, God looks at you in His court and sees His righteous, His holy, His coveted and marvelously sinless child.  You have access to Him through this blood and He cannot be approached by filth or sin so this says much on your state when you approach him with a repentant heart, doesn't it?  From the scripture above, Jesus would rather we be the stumbling 'tax man' than the pious pharisee, because when we approach Him with this repentant heart, He can wipe away even the daily Rap Sheets.

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