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    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    The Art of Redemption

      I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and the idea of redemption came into my mind because of our conversation.

      My friend has a good friend who fell away from God.  This man was drinking, partying and accused of rape.  He, because of his drinking and partying wasn't sure really what happened.  This man, we'll call him Andy, knew God before these horrific events, yet he still fell.

    Andy's reputation was tarnished as a result of the accusations and now he struggles to find his place back in the Kingdom of God, even though he is truly seeking healing.

      Andy needs redemption.

      I am a perpetual people pleaser.  I hate this about myself and I continue to ask God for healing from it, yet it seems to continue to pop up in my life and it hinders my ability to be all that He desires me to be.  I care too much about people's opinions of me and too little about His opinion of me.

       I need redemption.

     If I were to dig around in your life, your issues and your junk I think you would agree that we all need redemption, so why do we fight our redemption?  Why do we fight against others being redeemed?

    You see, if I were to tell you Andy was a rich and famous person you may be tempted to not desire him to receive redemption (maybe you never wanted an alleged, or real rapist to ever have a chance at redemption anyways).  Why are we this way?  Maybe you thought of my struggle to be less than Andy's, but I will tell you it is a struggle to be a people pleaser, especially when you notice it in your people pleasing actions...it's a constant reminder of your humanity, and your utter inability.  What is it about Christians (famous or not) falling that gets us so angry and anti-redemption?  What is it about celebrities who struggle and publicly fall that makes us defame them...as if they were unworthy or redemption?

      I think we wrestle with our redemption because we have bought into the Enemy's lie of unworthiness.  He goes after our hearts with this one.  We feel utterly helpless and not worthy of God's lavish love, so when we sense the redemption coming, we may resist because we feel unworthy.  The other issue maybe we enjoy our sin too much to hand it over when the Spirit prompts us.  God knows the muck and mire we choose to swim in is not the best or safest waters, so he shows us the way, lets us know we will drown if we don't accept his help then waits for us to reach out.

      We get to loving the muck and mire and think Jesus is silly, or worse: stupid for saying we need to get out of the muck.  We may splash around in the mud and make mud pies and eat it because we are so excited to be in the mud.

       We need redemption.

     On the other hand, when it comes to seeing people be redeemed, we labeled "Un-Redeemable" we get upset. We begin to throw a Jonah-sized temper tantrum at God's gracious redemption.  Why?

      This question I think is much harder to answer because sometimes it is just plain on the individual to find out from God why their heart isn't right.

     However, I think there are some plain answers we can come to.  Maybe we don't like God redeeming people because we feel they "got away with something" then.  We may grumble at God for not judging that person harder because "they deserved more".  We may feel because of our "righteousness" we are now in a place to judge others.  We think our "goodness" secures us better than theirs because we are "better".

      Isaiah 64:6 says: "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away" (ESV).

      None of our good deeds mean much compared to Christ.  We all need redemption.  We all need the power of the cross to take away our sinful shame and restore us to the righteousness that is Christ's, given to us at conversion.  None of us deserves it, yet it is freely given.  Christ desires to redeem us.  Even when we fail and trip up as Christ-followers, his heart is to redeem us.  Buy us back from the sin and purchase us to a life of Righteous living.

      We could all be like Andy.

      We all need his lavish grace.  When I fail to be the Pastor, writer I am called to be, I need redemption.  When I fail at being the Husband and Father I am asked by God to be, I need redemption. The truth still remains that I, without Christ could be Andy, or Charlie Sheen, or Osama Bin Laden.  Pick your poison, but we could all be as bad as them and maybe inwardly we really are murderous, addicted and constantly cranky.

    Christ by the Cross has bought us back from unrighteousness and has eternally Redeemed us (1 Peter 2:24), let us yield to the power of the Spirit and live redeemed lives.  May we live in the Redemption we have received, may we love those who need redemption and may we encourage those who are being redeemed to yield to Him.

      In another blog post, I will share a bit more about the "Art" of Redemption, so stay tuned...