Tag Archives: promise

Investing in a Sure Thing

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land. Jeremiah 32:15

“I’m not religious…but I’m spiritual.” It is the mantra of an entire young adult generation who has left the church. They would say they have not given up on God, but they have had quite enough of God’s people. To them, the church is seen as a failing institution, no longer worthy of our investment. There’s a story about that in the Bible.

Jeremiah’s cousin, Hanamel, was either such an amazing salesman he could have sold snow cones to Eskimoes, or he was literally filled with the Spirit of God so as to make his sales offer to Jeremiah miraculously irresistible. At a time when Jerusalem was about to finally fall to a Chaldean occupation and life as Israel knew it was about to end, Hanamel says to Jeremiah, “Hey, you wanna buy my field?” If it were not God’s doing, it would have been a laughable moment. Jeremiah made the investment.

old churchWhy in the world would anyone want to invest in Jerusalem at that point? It was ending…going down the toilet. Generations of wrong decisions had finally caught up to it and it was literally crumbling from the inside out. It had ample reason and opportunity to change in order to better fit God’s design, but it would not. The consequences of all those wrong choices were here…it was over. There was, quite literally, nothing left in which to invest.

In all these ways, it sounds remarkably like the church, doesn’t it? At least the church as it is perceived by an awful lot of people. They think of it as an irrelevant, rickety, out of date, embarrassingly stuffy institution whose time has come …

Forgiveness is Not a Feeling

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Isn’t it funny that an entire Spiritual revolution (the one called Christianity) can be founded upon the concept of forgiveness but the concept itself can be one of the most misunderstood concepts for those of us who are a part of the revolution? For so many in the Western church today, it may as well be written in Chinese (for those of you who actually read Chinese, my apologies, the illustration loses some punch with you).

Sometimes when I am counseling with someone about forgiveness, especially when it is someone who has been hurt deeply by another person, he/she will say something like this to me: “I know I need to forgive them, but I’m just not ready to forgive yet.” Most likely, what this hurting person is conveying with that comment is that he/she is not yet ready to start trusting that person again, because trust is a process and it takes time both to earn it and to give it. But I don’t think of forgiveness in that same way. As Christians, I think it is better for us to think of forgiveness as a promise. It is not something we wait to do, it is a commitment we make right up front, just as soon as the pain has occurred. That’s how God forgives us, and we are instructed to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).

I think too often we wait to forgive. We wait until it feels right to do so. But forgiveness (in the way the Bible describes it) is not a feeling at all. If we wait until we feel like forgiving, it will never happen.

Forgiveness is …