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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Difficult Reality

In the past couple of days one of the realities of the eternal kingdom has been a source of struggle for me.  That reality is that there will be people there that right now I do not like very much; in fact they qualify as enemies.  We Christians, in this life, seem to do a fairly good job of destroying one another.  I do not remember that as one of the “one another” passages, nonetheless through experience and observation it seems to be one of the more applied principles in the Christian body.
There will be people in eternity with whom we do not now get along...  What are we to do with that?
I have mentioned before the study on the Kingdom of God that some of my friends and I are doing.  Reflecting on some of the implications of the Kingdom, it occurred to me that reconciliation and forgiveness, at some level, is and should be driven by the reality that in the Kingdom we are going to reside for eternity with those with whom we have struggles with here, now.  Last time I looked eternity is longer than I will have to endure whoever I struggle with here.  So the application seems to be – I say “seems to be” in order to give myself an out – that I need to forgive and reconcile with those with whom I struggle.  Romans 12:8 reinforces this.  The problem is I dive too quickly to the phrase “as far as it depends on you,” and take the easy way out.  This seems really hard to me.  Really hard, but really central to the way Christ would have us live.  It is a whole lot easier to write about this than to do it.


  1. This may be THE biggest practical struggle and would be easy to ignore - if the Bible weren't so definite on it. I still manage to do so however. One encouragement is that in eternity my nature will be changed, from corruptible to incorruptible. That should help.

    But this is now. I'm still responsible, and in ways I don't understand what I do/don't do here affects eternity. And it certainly affects me here.

    In his excellent little book, "Who Am I?" on our identity In Christ, Jerry Bridges makes the comment, reflecting on Romans 6:12,(p.63)that "We cannot deal with the power of sin unless we have first dealt with its guilt." Or another way to look at it, when I repent and confess my sin to God and the other (in this case my resentment over how someone else has treated me) it breaks the hold that sin has on me, at least in that moment.

    Perhaps the easiest and most difficult place is to start with the one closest to me - my wife. I believe according to Genesis 2:18 that God made her "suitable" to me. The way I see that is she is perfectly prepared by God to be to me what I need. He wants to use her to speak to me. I like the part about her strengths, complementary gifts and godly character. But there are other parts.... Those messages from God I find more difficult to receive (I've known a lot of men who essentially have said, "I want God to speak to me, just not through my wife.") At times (too many) I've been one of them. But I'm learning - slowly. That's probably why God hasn't taken me a lot younger (He's had lots of opportunities) - I still need a whole lot of work on this....

    1. Yeah, well now you have moved from interaction on the Word of God to meddling...