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A Helpful Meditation on 1 Peter 5:10-11

Lately, suffering seems to be a recurring theme in the lives of some of my friends, so I found this explication of 1 Peter 5:10-11, by Ray Ortlund, to be especially helpful. It is amazing what the simple act of breaking down the Scriptures idea-by-idea quickly shows them to be the storehouses of wealth that they are.

May the direct, personal involvement of God comfort those who suffer.

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“Suffering Doesn’t Rob You of Joy–Idolatry Does”

When I read the above post title on Tullian Tchividjian’s blog, I knew God had given him a great, succinct way of summarizing a major truth. I highly recommend reading this post if you’re interested in getting to the bottom of how the gospel redeems suffering.

Also, make sure you read the Elizabeth Elliot excerpt at the bottom of the post — it’s a good one.

Movie Notes – Star Wars, Episode I, The Phantom Menace

Crystal and I started watching the Star Wars movies last night with Episode I. She’s never watched them before and was pretty leery about making a start at it, but she’s hooked already. We decided before we watched them that we’d look for gospel parallels, just for fun. I know, we’re dorks, but what do you expect from Star Wars fans?

Here’s what we found:

Parallels

  • “Fear gives way to anger, anger to hate, hate to suffering.” Yoda says this regarding Anakin. We’re not sure if it’s God’s timeless truth, but undoubtedly these things are all connected in the mess of our sinful hearts. Relying on a sinful “chosen one” spelled suffering for the entire universe in Star Wars.
  • Anakin is the “chosen one” (or is he?) who will bring balance to the force. Jesus came and brought His followers back to Himself by living a sinless life and taking our sins upon Himself on the cross. Anakin will eventually die for the galaxy by sacrificing his busted up body as Darth Vader in Episode VI.
  • Anakin is born to no father. “The Force” spawns him, allegedly. Perhaps God the Father is the force in these movies — the insurmountable problem with this, of course, is that the Force has a dark side, and God is infinitely far from darkness.
  • There is always hope for sinners, even for Anakin, who is given much and eventually uses what he’s given for evil.
  • We leave a legacy of ourselves in those we disciple, just as Qui Gon Jin leaves a legacy in Obi Wan Kenobi. At the start of the film, Obi Wan seems to be more of a straight-and-narrow type, but by the end, after Qui Gon is dead, Obi Wan seems to be ready to step into his defiant shoes.
Non-parallels
  • The Jedi are an elite group, and they  gain entry into the group by born qualities and demonstrated ability. Christians are part of an incredibly amazing group (God’s children), but they are invited into an eternal family based not on their performance or abilities, but rather on Christ’s.
  • Anakin, the chosen one, is sinful. And his son, Luke Skywalker, who may be the real chosen one, is also sinful. Jesus isn’t. He’s perfect.

Tim Keller sermon notes / Series: Practical Grace / Sermon: Forgiving Grace

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

I dug up these sermon notes this morning, wanting to post them today. I picked them seemingly at random. But as I read them, what joy I had. I just spent a half hour meditating on Romans 15:7, which is basically the gospel (I’m unacceptable, yet I was accepted, so I can accept people). My thoughts went to a situation today where a student whose been defiant and disrespectful to me for a long time made pretty clear evidence against herself as a vulgar graffiti artist. My inclination was to get out a sample of her writing, compare it to the graffiti, and take the case to our assistant principal tomorrow.

But this is a good word from Tim Keller: If you try to get justice before forgiving someone, you’re not going for justice, you’re going for vengeance. And, you’ll never get justice.

God bless you, and may He use these notes to sanctify You as a Father instructs His children.

Tim Keller / Series: Practical Grace / Sermon: Forgiving Grace

Scripture: 2 Cor 4:7-18 “jars of clay”, 12:7-10

 

Suffering = not a choice

Long-suffering = an active choice

 

Forgiving spirit: the ability to bear injuries and mistreatment from other people without it taking your poise or getting you down.

 

Hebrews 12:15 Take care lest any harbor a root of bitterness…

–Anger is called a root in this metaphor, the deepest part of the tree.

1. We can admit to others and ourselves the sin of anxiety, worry, lust, depression, but we cannot admit anger. We hide it from ourselves, we always minimize it. We always minimize just how mad we continue to be. The anger passes into you and it twists you, making you cynical and hard and starting a low- grade spiritual fever that goes on and on and on and on.

 

2. Anger works in a subterranean way in your life. It’s down there and you don’t know it, it’s affecting you and don’t know it.

 

Long-suffering—to not have how you’ve been wronged affect you. This is the big task!

–If you don’t have this, you’ll be in prison, tortured, not free

 

What is it?

3 things you’ve got to do when the little roots of anger try to come in:

  1. Cancel the debt, refuse revenge

    • You do not make the other person pay the debt of emotional pain, but you pay it down yourself. When someone wrongs you it creates an emotional debt of pain, it’s a debt that you feel.

    • The other person has to pay: insult them, gossip about them, ruin their reputation with other people, slander them, all while saying “revenge is beneath me”

    • You want to hurt them because it makes you feel better. It’s paying down the debt. You want to see them pay. Slowly you feel less and less that the person owes you.

    • BUT it passes into you. It has melted you into its likeness. When we make the other person pay, we are becoming like the evil it did to us.

    • Paying it down yourself: Every time you want to rehash the past with a person, but you don’t, it hurts. Every time you want to rub their nose in it but you don’t, it hurts. Every time you see them prospering and you refuse to stick little pins in them in your imagination, it hurts.

    • Why does it hurt? Because it’s costly not to take the revenge. (Wow.)

    • But dealing with that hurt and refusing to take revenge means you still possess your soul. You’ve beaten your wrongdoer—you’ve beaten them with love.

  2. Be moved with compassion for someone else’s misery.

    • Automatically when someone wrongs you your heart is going to start enumerating the differences between you and that person.

    • If you want to possess your soul, you’ve got to stress the commonality between you and the person.

    • Whenever someone wrongs you, you caricature them in your heart, making huge their worst feature. Deep in every human soul is a deep desire to justify yourself. We’re afraid that we’re not okay, that we’re not desirable. That fear is behind workaholism, racism. It’s all self-justification, rooted in fear. It’s behind how you caricature the person who wrongs you. You need to feel noble, you need to feel superior, you need to feel better.

    • In order to transform that to grace, you’ve got to focus on the commonality. I am fallible, so is this person. I am weak, I make dumb mistakes, so does this person. (This is amazing.)

3. Let him go.

 

I don’t want to forgive, I want justice. If you want to confront them before forgiving them, you’re going for justice. You’re going to hurt them. AND you’ll never get justice.

 

Vengeance is selfish, you’re not concerned with truth, it’s all about you.

Resignation is selfish, you’re letting a person go on sinning.

Forgiving spirit: Doesn’t like conflict, doesn’t avoid it. Doesn’t do vengeance, doesn’t do resignation.

 

How in the world are we ever going to do this?

Behold the king who became a servant. Jesus Christ: It’s paid. He knew that his servants would ruin him—that’s why he came.

After all she’s done for me, I’m almost happy about this tiny opportunity to show her how much she means to me.

Jesus didn’t make you pay a bit.

You’ll never be able to pay the debts people have to you unless you see the infinite debt. After all he’s done for me, I’m almost glad to have the opportunity to show him what he means to me by paying this debt.

 

Col 3:12 Therefore as God’s chosen people set apart and dearly loved clothed yourselves with patience.

Not be patient in order to be loved, but because your utterly loved you can be patient. — (This is a facet of the gospel-changed heart.)

Control

I get itchy with fear thinking about my classroom getting out of control, and even moreso having someone else–especially a colleague–see the chaos. And that’s one reason why Mr. Scriven moving to Woodlawn High next year and Mrs. Maul moving to a different middle school (and all of the other staff changes that seem set to take place next year) may be the best things that’ve happened to me. Mr. Scriven has been like a protector for me, someone I could go to when I knew I needed backing up in a challenging situation. In politics, you collect mutually beneficial relationships; in the gospel, Jesus made Himself bereft of the ultimate relationship so that we might never lack it.

It’s easy as a public school teacher to begin living politically rather than in, for, and through the gospel. As I walk through feelings of bitterness and despair towards what once seemed like a solid and clear future, I’m drawn to reflect on Christ’s victory over my greatest enemies of fear and evil and death. If next year I don’t have a “supportive administration,” let me recall Christ who was not just unsupported by administration, but mocked, beaten, and killed by them. My fear of having a classroom that appears out of control is conquered by Christ’s final day, where it appeared He had no control at all. He could have done an infinite array of things to regain control that day, but He did nothing–in fact, He didn’t even defend Himself from mockery.

If these administrative changes for next year take my friends, my administrative support, my effectiveness at my job, or whatever else, but they give me a greater depth of relationship and intimacy with God, I have lost nothing and gained everything.