My initial thoughts and feeling on these next few verses trouble me.
Micah 4:6-7 CJB “When that day comes,” says Adonai, “I will assemble the lame and gather those who were dispersed, along with those I afflicted. (7) I will make the lame a remnant and those who were driven off a strong nation.” Adonai will rule them on Mount Zion from that time forth and forever.
I can get rather adamant at times, especially when someone tries to shove legalism down my throat. Because of the life I lived and the mercy God has shown me, I know that legalism is not an aspect of God’s nature or character.
I realize that many of you, operating on traditions and poor teachings that you received in your religious assemblies, do not recognize God any other way; that too was my dilemma. Thankfully, I am in a constant process of change for the better. I am using the word ‘constant’ because recently I voiced how I wanted a particular person to suffer for the wrongs they had done to me. I no sooner caught it coming out of my mouth when I heard the Holy Spirit say, you’ve got to fix that, you know why, and you know how. Yes, I do; I have had plenty of practice forgiving people, and one of my friends was quick to point out my frailty, (oh, just say it, SIN,) as well.
Alright then, a quick lesson on what it is to forgive.
This lesson comes in part because that same friend also voiced how he had forgiven someone who had offended him but was troubled because he wants little more to do with this person. That gets tough, especially when that person is your sister.
Forgiveness is an act of the will; it is probably easier to see this act of forgiving as a command, as you may be more responsive to the Holy Spirit when he tells you to take care of a situation. Since the Holy Spirit has multiple reasons for having us forgive people, an important one for us is that it keeps you out of the realm of judgment.
Do you want some proof?
Matthew 7:1-2 NASB “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. (2) “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
Pay attention to the second verse of the God’s Word translation.
Matthew 7:1-2 GW “Stop judging so that you will not be judged. (2) Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.
I can tell you from experience that the judgment for me, has come while here on earth, and, it came relatively quick. I suppose this swiftness makes more sense as I attempted to train a dog. Punishment for their doggie sins must be immediate, as in, at the time of the event; otherwise, all they understand is, blah, blah, blah, (insert dogs name here.) Your dog, hours later, has little to no clue what point you are trying to make. I suspect we are like that when it comes to judgment.
In my case, I knew exactly what the correlation was, for I had said to a fellow believer, I am ashamed of you, solely because they would not stop whining. [Other facts you might need to know. I was the supervisor for the day. It is much like marrying into a family with established patterns and children that don’t want some new dictator in their life. Add to that, step-dads, in this day and age, can go to jail for trying to establish the rule of law in this situation, as I did with that coworker.] Six months later, for an unrelated event, I was ashamed of me, and it wasn’t for whining; I whined later though. Secondly, in keeping your plate clean, you give yourself the benefit of a mind clear as well. One less thing to stress over is so beneficial.
“When that day
comes,” says Adonai,”
“ I will
assemble the lame and gather those who were dispersed, along with
those I afflicted.”
I have become aware of times in which God has used this ‘lameness’ in me to test others. I typically see it in response to judgmentalism from religious folks. There is no denying that this often hurts, and later, as I nurse my wounds, the Holy Spirit tells me that I put you in front of them to test them; sadly, many of them have failed their testing. I don’t know what, exactly that means for them, but I can tell you that the process of being used to test others is uncomfortable for me as well. Perhaps I too am being tested. The Apostle James speaks of this.
The Apostle Peter, who thought he could stand off those coming for the Lord with his mouth and sword, was helpless as the high priest ordered Jesus to be beaten in the dungeon below Caiaphas’ home. And, Peter, not willing to be beaten or killed, denied Jesus the three times before Pilot’s judgment against Jesus. Discouraged about his inability to live this life in Christ he quit and went back to fishing. Mark’s gospel conveys this very well, as Peter is now disconnected from the disciples.
Mark 16:7 KJV But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
This same Peter wrote this:
1 Peter 4:1-2 NIV Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. (2) As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:8-10 NIV Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (9) Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (10) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
I get it, it’s tough at times, but it is comforting to realize that Peter got it, and therefore, someday I will get it, hopefully, before I am dead or in heaven. I don’t say that last part as though I will struggle with the idea of loving others deeply in heaven, but there is something in me that drives me to conquer my weaknesses. In this case, me, because I want to do anything but love some people.
If what I demonstrated through my actions is supposed to convey who God is, I can tell you that I have not always done an excellent job, and I imagine that I have managed to push more than a few people the opposite direction. As an example, I recently tried to discuss an aspect of Genesis 3:15 where it speaks of Satan’s seed. I thought it was going to turn into a verbal brawl, as the older man began telling me that Satan had sex with Eve and therefore caused twins to born. And Cain was the bad seed, and that is why his lineage ends for no apparent reason. In response, there are reasons for Cain’s heritage to virtually stop there, but the older man wanted to hear none of it. There was more loud, angry talk than I care to discuss here, but suffice it to say, I am now very uncomfortable with this “brother” as he would not, or could not give any evidence from scripture to back his claims. That style of teaching and manner moves him into the category of a false teacher. Now, how am I supposed to love this guy deeply?