Typically, each Sunday evening, you’ll find me watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. I really enjoy this show. Families with difficulties are chosen to receive a brand new home. While not very manly to admit, the show often reduces me tears as you hear about the struggles and tragedies that have befallen these families. While I appreciate the show and rarely miss an episode, there is a theme running through it that I believe to be a horrible lie. This lie is perpetrated not only in this show, but also through out all of culture. Without fail, the “designers” will say something to this effect, “this family deserves this…” That is what I believe to be the lie. This is the lie that haunts America. This is the lie that has made the American church weak and pedantic in it’s thinking and theology.
Perhaps I’m coming across to harsh. Or am I? When we look at our lives through the lens of Scripture, does that statement pass the litmus test of Biblical truth? It is my assertion that no, it passes no test of truth and is therefore a lie. Today at church, I met a guy in my Sunday school class I had not met yet. He and I and Nick engaged in a great conversation about the church not truly understanding what forgiveness really means in regards to christian leaders who’s sin causes their fall from leadership. My new friend made the statement that we don’t understand the depths of our own sinfulness. Because, if we did, we would live differently. I couldn’t agree with him more. It is the great truth that can set us free. When we believe we deserve certain things because of this or that, we become prisoners of our own expectations. If what we think we deserve is not granted, we believe we’ve been jilted. Our arrogance in assuming we deserve good has brought us to a place of resentment and bitterness directed at whoever we find responsible for our lack of fulfillment. Perhaps it’s God. Perhaps it’s Republicans. Perhaps it’s white people. Perhaps it’s your parents. Perhaps it’s your boss. Whoever it’s culturally acceptable to blame, we blame and eventually the blame turns into hate and hate imprisons us.
The truth is that we deserve nothing good. We deserve destruction. Our sin is grotesque before the Lord and His anger burns hot against it. His justice and wrath are soothed only through the slaughter of the guilty. Friends, this is our just desserts. This is what we deserve. Yet God is gracious, slow to anger. His mercies are new every morning. He has not dealt with us according to our sins. He laid them on Jesus. He made Jesus cursed. He made Jesus sin. He made us righteous…not through works, but bestowed through grace. When we properly understand what we truly deserve as sinfully wretched people, we can properly understand exactly what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us and that understanding should bring us low and humble as we approach the throne of grace. To often, we presume upon God’s kindness and make demands we ought not make. We try to bargain with God. If he does this or that, we’ll do this or that. That’s not how it works. God does not negotiate. God tells us how it’s going to go down. We can either rejoice or rebel.
I pray that each one of us come to a greater understanding of our sinfulness, not so that we become tortured souls, loathing the very day of our birth. Instead, I seek for us to be humble and appreciative of even the small good things that God sees fit to give us. Despite all the hard times and sins committed against us, we deserve a lot worse. I pray the Spirit uses these thoughts to spur you on to truly cherishing your election to God’s family. He is so good. We are so undeserving. Praise be to God, our Father! May He complete the good work started in you!