What Does Redeeming Love Look Like?

This happened last Saturday…

 

 

 

 

 

The grands, while cleaning the bathroom, managed to pull down the towel bar. They came to me, faces solemn. With a comforting hand on Amari’s shoulder, Victoria rambled a convoluted explanation of something her brother had done. Her story was hard to follow, but I got the gist. Amari got the towel stuck between the bar and the bracket and kept pulling on it. Victoria tried to get him to stop and let her help him, but he ignored her and kept pulling until he pulled it out of the wall.

To say I wasn’t happy is an understatement.

After I could see straight, I went into his room to punish him for refusing to stop and listen to his sister. He lost several privileges and had to clean the bathroom alone, without his sister’s help. Afterward, my husband sent him back to his room for time out.

That’s when he broke. Through the torrent of tears, I heard, “I didn’t do it.”

Until then, he’d accepted his punishment without a whimper or complaint. I called him to my room and asked him, again, what happened in the bathroom. Tear tracks staining his little round cheeks, he looked up at me with the saddest eyes, and said, “I didn’t do it.”

He had accepted his punishment up to this point without complaint, a point I’d wondered about, so I summoned Victoria to my room.

“What happened in the bathroom?” I asked.

Amid tears, Victoria confessed. She’d been standing on the side of the tub (which she’s not supposed to do), lost her balance, and grabbed the bar as she went down.

“Why did you let Amari take the blame?” I asked.

“He wanted to. It’s not the first time. He’s always taking my punishment.”

Amari loves his sister so much that he was willing to take the blame, to let her appear blameless.

Sound like anyone we know?

we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:13-14

Unlike Christ, Amari cracked. He couldn’t go through with it. When he took the blame, he didn’t understand what he’d signed up for.

Christ knew.

And He did it anyway!

What about us? Can we relate to Victoria’s response? Sometimes, I think we take Christ’s grace for granted, failing to acknowledge the true suffering we caused him. When we do confess, we often do it like she did, with tears and sorrow.

This season, as you hustle and bustle through your days, preparing for the holiday, don’t forget that Christ came into the world to save us from our sins. He took our sins upon Him, so we wouldn’t have to pay the price.

Because He loves us.

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Honoring Our Fallen

Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetery, Courtesy of morguefile.com

A day we’re called to remember.

This is not a day to wish everyone a happy day, it is a day to pause, reflect, and remember.

Who Is In The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Approved by Congress in 1921, this monument holds the remains of four unknown soldiers representing:

  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Korean War
  • The Vietnam War

With today’s technology, it’s become easier to identify soldiers’ remains.

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Which US war suffered the most casualties?

In order of casualties they are:

  • The Civil War:  500,000+
  • World War II: 400,000+
  • World War I: 100,000+
  • The Vietnam War: 58,200

Gettysburg Courtesy of pixabay.com

No matter the war, no matter the numbers

we honor the men and women

who gave their lives

for our freedom.

What Does St. Patrick’s Day Have To Do With Christianity?

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Courtesy of morguefile.com

Wear green or you’ll get pinched.

Silly traditions associated with today, March 17. I am Irish (Scotch-Irish) through my maternal grandmother.

I don’t wear green; it makes me look half-dead.

As I helped my grandchildren choose clothing that ensured they wouldn’t be pinched black and blue today, my mind wandered to traditions and how they manifest over time. Many traditions come from a Biblical perspective, including St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, died on this day in 461. He brought Christianity to Ireland, so the Irish have celebrated this day for over 1000 years. That means this is a religious holiday.

Wait! What? But people have drunken parades and behave frivolously on this day. Yep. That’s true.

The original holiday, the Feast of St. Patrick, allowed the Irish to ignore their Lent observances for the afternoon. It gave them a break from fasting, but by the next day, they returned to their Lent observations.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the religious aspect of this day. That may or may not be true everywhere, but I don’t recall any connection to the church with this holiday.

Why? Maybe it’s because the holiday is not a God-ordained holiday:

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Matthew 15:3

In this verse from Matthew, Jesus and his disciples failed to wash their hands before eating. The Pharisees thought they had Jesus in the wrong and pointed out their lack of faithful behavior. The problem? God didn’t create the hand-washing commandment. Man did. Jesus pointed this out and took it a step further, implying they followed their traditions over God’s.  Oops!

Don’t get me wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the spread of God’s word, if that’s what we’re doing. There’s nothing wrong with feasting, or wearing green, or giving a neighborly kiss…if that’s what we’re doing. But, when it steps on the toes of our faith, when it overrides the commands of God, we’ve got a problem.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the only man-made tradition focused on our faith. Look at Easter and Christmas. God never commanded us to celebrate the birth of Christ. He did command us to celebrate the resurrection EVERY day, especially Sunday. It’s not a once-a-year celebration.

If you examine these well-known holidays, you can see how far we’ve strayed from the faithful plans of the people who first chose to celebrate them. When man establishes something, it’s easier to lose sight of the original focus.

Can commandments from God disintegrate? Absolutely! Just read the Old Testament, and you will see it over and over again. Still, thanks to the timelessness of the word of God, the people always returned to true faith.

So, today, if you wear green or kiss someone who’s Irish, it’s ok. Maybe, while you’re at it, give thanks to God that you can celebrate the life of a man who brought Christianity to Ireland. Just remember, St. Patrick is not who we should celebrate. The amazing story he brought to Ireland is the point.

Courtesy of morguefile.com