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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Do You Make a Wrong into a Right?

Do you have a sin that you remember as being especially horrible? I do.

One time my wife and I had just watched a movie in a theater when the credits began to play. I wanted to leave badly. I can't recall why. She wanted to read the movie credits. I got so upset that I left her in the theater. I should never have done so. It was selfish on my part. It was more than unloving- it was hateful! I am so sorry I did it. I have apologized but I have never forgotten what I did.

How do I make things right? The truthful answer is that I can't. I can apologize but not remove the hurt. I can grovel but it won't erase the act. I can give elaborate gifts and walk across the widest desert to prove my love for her but it will not erase the memory. I can't make a wrong into a right.

Yet a wrong can have good consequences. I will never leave her anywhere no matter what I would rather do. I will keep her feelings in mind before my own.

I have used this failure to explain sin itself. Our sin against the One we love is like leaving Him when He has other plans for us. The pain I cause Him is comparable to what I did with my wife.

My wife has forgiven me even though she didn't have to. I see my Lord's work in her life as He has forgiven me when He didn't have to. I grasp grace much better now.

Do these positive results make me glad I did wrong? Absolutely not! I wished I had never been so selfish as to have me way at the expense of someone I love so dearly. I can't take back anything I have ever done. I can't make bad things good nor turn wrongs into rights.

God's grace working through others provides their forgiveness. That doesn't change the wrong into a right.God's grace brings good out of bad. The bad remains bad. God uses the bad (and good) to make the good.

I think that people like to say that the bad thing that happened to them was actually good when they what they mean is that the bad thing had good consequences. God is always doing that. He is taking the x-ray for the cracked ribs to reveal the early stages of lung cancer. Neither of these are good but catching the cancer early allowed for treatment that eliminated the cancer. God is taking the diagnosis of strep throat to have the doctor examine the heart. The heart is irregular and allows the person to get treatment long before there is a heart attack. Strep throat is not good but God uses it to bring about good.

And God uses my own sins to bring about good. They are no good sins. God uses even sins to bring good into the world. I can't do this. God never changes a wrong to a right. He does make bad actions have good results.

That's His grace. Plain and simple.

Man's sin killed Jesus. Jesus death brought salvation. Think about it.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
5  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

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