[Saturday: 8.1 miles in Starkville]
I received an interesting Sunday newsletter from The Dispatch: Why Compassion is Divisive.
It reminded me of my favorite book in the Bible, Jonah. As you recall, Jonah is sent to preach to Nineveh. And the people there miraculously repent and God does not bring down the destruction He had sent Jonah to warn about. And Jonah gets very upset about that (Jonah chapter 4). God says, “Are you right to be angry?”
Jonah is upset because the people of Nineveh were very bad people, and were enemies of Jonah’s people. And Jonah doesn’t want them to be “let off the hook”. God points out that there were plenty of people in the city who were ignorant of the evil going on, and lots of innocent animals.
We aren’t told if this satisfies Jonah.
A system built on unmerited favor, grace, is going to be unfair. Grace is unfair. Jesus talked about a man who hired workers in the morning, then later in the day and he paid all of them the same amount. He paid the late workers an un-earned amount. And the early workers were upset.
One aspect of Heaven that I don’t hear talked about much: There will be sinners there. There will be murderers and thieves and rapists and all sorts. We know that King David will be there and he murdered Uriah; you already knew this. So do you think Uriah will be tormented by the presence of the man who stole his wife and caused his warrior friends to abandon him. Somehow he will not. We aren’t told how except that it says God will wipe away all tears.
You may run into someone who personally did you harm, caused you pain, ran you down, took what you had. And here on Earth maybe you are just and right in wanting that person to be forever tormented in Hell.
But maybe that person will be forever changed in Heaven.
And maybe those people you have personally harmed, caused them pain, ran them down, took what they had. Maybe they are just and right to want you to be forever tormented in Hell.
Or maybe it will be you, forever changed in Heaven.
Our escape from the guilt of our own actions and the torment of seeing our enemies “get away with it” is to believe that God through his Son Jesus Christ has the power and desire to do that: clean up our mess, heal our wounds, make things whole and new.