Understandable But Not Justified

Life is full of things – complicated things. Some things are easy to define – helping others is right, stealing is wrong. But many things fall somewhere in between. And dealing with these things is never easy.

We do wrongs not always because we’d like do so. Some people gamble for pleasure, some conduct free sex lifestyle for satisfaction. But some people have to steal to provide food for their children. Some women get abortion for unwanted babies happened by rapes. Some people kill themselves under the unbearable pressure of life. Some people cheat on their spouse because they don’t get enough attention. These are the things we know as wrong things – murder, stealing, adultery – but the reasons behind them can be understood by most of us.

Such things actually happen for all of us. We don’t only deal with this kind of dilemma on grand things like murder or theft, but in our everyday life, the time we get so mad we throw all the bullets out of our children and somehow do them harm. We have our reasons, yeah, but still the damage is done.

When John the Baptist called out people to repent, to leave their selfish and sinful ways and produce results in their daily lives that would prove their repentance to be genuine –  some tax collectors and soldiers came to him and asked, “What should we do then?” (Luke 3: 7 – 14) Their works were considered evil to the Jews at that time. One was pestering their lives by asking for money for the state, and another one was abusing the freedom of the Jew. Both were hated by the people because through their works they did what was considered ‘wrong’. 

Being a tax collector and soldier were far from working as a noble profession. Should they quit their job if they want to repent? Can they still lead a just life while doing such a difficult profession?

John replied to the tax collector: “Don’t collect any more than you are required to.” And to the soldier he replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – don’t use your power to violate people and get more money from them, but BE CONTENT with your wages, be content with what you have!”

Life sometimes leaves us with little to no option. We are squished into a corner of life without easy ways to escape from our difficulties. Sometimes the wrong actions we do seem to the last resort to our troubles. We don’t like to do it, but we have to! We are somehow let by God to be in these troubled situations, we don’t have other ways, this is the only thing to do! What we do is understandable, almost justifiable, no matter how wrong it is.

But God said, be content with your condition – how hard it is. Even when it seems to be the only hope, do what is right, and wait, wait for the Lord, even when your waiting seems too long and without answer. When Paul was tormented and he cried and pleaded to the Lord to take out the thorn away from his flesh, the Lord answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 8, NIV). 

God said, no, I won’t take this difficulty away from you, but instead I will grant you the grace and power you need to ENDURE it. Because that is precisely then the time we can understand what the power of God truly means.

It’s not fair. No it’s not. Sometimes we’re trapped in madness on the account of others. Their nastiness tangles our necks and we just want to get out, we just want this trouble to end. But still we need to endure, and to be content with what we are now in. It is never fair, at least not according to our eyes. But God knows what He’s doing. And with that point we have to trust. And we trust that He can use all things for our good – and for His glory.

Just like Joseph was brought to Egypt against his will, almost got murdered, sold as a slave, wrongly accused and thrown in prison. He had to endure 13 long years of suffering and hardship without any logical reason because he didn’t do anything wrong from his end. But still he endured and was content with his situations, and stayed faithful until the day God pronounced his freedom and restored his position by fulfilling his dream.

Let’s be like Joseph. These “last options” might seem like the only way we can take in order to get out of the mess in our lives. But remember though it’s hard, we have another option: to accept (be content) and endure. Because we know it’s not yet the end, and God’s power and grace is always sufficient.

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