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I’ve made my bed, now what (2)

(A) And since they did not see fit to have God in their thinking, God gave them over to debased thinking - to produce what they ought not. Having become filled with all injustice, hurtfulness, desire for more, and desire to injure, they were caught up with envy, killing, rivalry, deceit, malice, and detraction; they became false accusers, haters of God, injurious, pre-eminent, inflated, contrivers of evil, rejecters of authority. Discerning nothing, breaking contracts, loving no one and without mercy, these, although they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (B) Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you judge yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. (a) Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? (b) Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to change your mind?  Romans 1: 28 – 2: 5
 
I’ve made my bed. In last week’s Info for Islanders I set out the origin of all kinds of evil in the world: me. See (A) in bold above for the explanation.

I’m quite sure that, because I didn’t want “God” to have any place whatsoever in my thinking, I have suppressed the truth about God. I knew deep inside the fact to which all around me was pointing. I knew too what the very me – both my body and the spirit that gave life to my body – pointed in the same direction. But I decided to suppress those pointers.

Now - I’ve made my bed. God (see (A) above) gave me over (and everybody else) to a mind that was debased. How so? In my mind I know one vital, incontrovertible thing – but I suppress it, I deny it inside me. A recipe for all kinds of stress related illness. 

 
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‘Never, never pin your faith on any human being; not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world. There are lots of nice things you can do with sand; but do not try building a house on it.’ (D M Lloyd Jones, pastor, 1899-1981)
Worse, the God who is there (now that I have given him over by excluding him from my knowledge) has in turn given me over (and all others like me) to whatever we want to do. To reap our harvest.

How awful is this place! (See (A) above) It’s filled with injustice, hurtfulness, desire for more, desire to injure, envy, killing, rivalry, deceit, malice, and detraction. Humans have become false accusers, haters of God, injurious, pre-eminent, inflated, contrivers of evil and rejecters of authority. My bed is awful – because of others who do like me. They discern nothing, break contracts, love no one, and are without mercy.

But there’s something more – something even worse - which I had never noticed before. Human beings – like me – actually know that the righteous God above sees these things as deserving only death. But we all nevertheless do them and, where possible approve those who do them so as to avoid guilty feelings. Yes, inside me, I know what’s unrighteous – but I will do all of these things when I have one over-arching reason to do so. Self-interest.

This bed of mine – which I (with others) have made for myself – is unhappy to say the least. But I’ve found a modus vivendi – a way to live - through it all. 

Would you like to know what it is? A man named Paul wrote about it in a letter to Christians in Rome around AD 60. He described it in (B) in bold above. 

My way is to judge others whilst admitting nothing myself.  I judge them for all they do wrong, all the harm they are creating for others (including, importantly, for me) and themselves. I judge them – and this has two effects in me – (a) and (b) above and below.

 
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‘The real trouble about fallen man is not the strength of his pleasure but the weakness of his reason.’ (D M Lloyd Jones, pastor, 1899-1981)
First, (a) when I judge others and point out their evils everyone will know how good I, Richard Syvret, really am. Pointing out the evils of others lifts me above them. Never mind my own bad deeds (which are pretty well hidden anyway). Now I feel better. Feelings are important. More important than anything – even any so-called God.

Second, (b) when I judge others and point out their evils (publicly and privately) God will see that my intentions are not bad at all. He will listen. His son Jesus was rich in kindness, forbearance and patience. I’ll get away with it as long as I don’t know too much about this God whom I am suppressing. 

I can live my own life – now. I shall continue to presume that His kindness in Jesus is not intended to ask me to change my mind. Hey, ho, away we go.

 
Sinner Syvret

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