Wednesday night I talked to the church about forgiveness and used the blog from Wednesday about Leviticus and about King David. I also talked about the Connecticut shootings and how some churches took heat for how many times they rang the church bells to remember those who were killed. There were 26 kids and teachers killed at the school. Some people thought the bells should only be rang 26 times. Some were OK adding the mother of the murderer, making 27 rings. Then some churches rang their bells 28 times including the gunman and they were criticized by many people. I have no doubt that God was sad over all 28 deaths. Jesus died for all 28 people.
Likewise, I believe God is sad over every person who was maimed and murdered in the Boston bombings. I believe God is sad over the MIT police officer who was murdered and the other officer who was shot. I believe God was sad when the older bomber was killed. God would have preferred that the older bomber would have turned to Jesus and asked for forgiveness. This would not have meant no consequences according to our laws, but God would have forgiven him. I believe it saddens God that the 19 year old brother did what he did and God still wants him to turn to Jesus.
Some of us have problems with that. Some probably wish the 19 year old would have been killed. That’s the difference between us and God. Jesus came and wants nobody to perish without him – no matter what they or we have done. As long as we have breath, no matter what we’ve done, Jesus’ shed blood on the cross will cover the repentant sinner.
So when I tell you what the Bible says about forgiveness and how we must forgive, when I tell you what Jesus says about helping the poor, when I tell you what Jesus says about sacrifice, and so on, I’m not generally telling you that I am living that way or that I think you should do these things. After all, I’m human and I’m a work in progress just as you are. I am telling you what I believe God’s word tells us about how we should live. And that is impossible without God’s help through the Holy Spirit in our lives. And very difficult even with the Holy Spirit in our lives.