Thursday, October 23, 2015
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
It appears that the people have forgotten something.
Like the time their ancestors were enslaved in Egypt…
Or, the time that their people were enslaved in Babylon…
Also, that time right now when they are enslaved by the Romans…
And, oh yeah, all those times that they were slaves to sin…
But, 1st century Jews are not the only ones who have a monopoly on selective memory. We do it, too. We all tell ourselves comforting lies about our past. It helps us avoid dealing with the very present reality of our sin, which is painful and messy.
So instead we tell ourselves lies like:
People get what they deserve.
Believing this lie lets us off the hook when it comes to showing mercy or helping those in need. We can ignore all the factors playing into the suffering of others, and that we ourselves may be one of those factors.
When we believe this lie we can claim success as our own…ignoring all we’ve been given along the way, the many shoulders we are standing on, the way circumstances and what Warren Buffet calls the “the ovarian lottery” have factored in.
And when we fail, we tell ourselves that the answer to all things is inside ourselves. Just try harder. Just be better. Just do more.
Lie. Lie. Lie.
While this approach may help us avoid the hard things about the truth, it also keeps us from experiencing the freedom that is in the truth.
In forgetting their slavery, the Jews in our lesson have also forgotten the truth that God has delivered them, time and again.
In forgetting their sin, they are also forgetting:
The mercy God showed in their time of need…
The undeserving gifts of grace they have been given…
The power of God that does for them what they cannot do for themselves…
When we face up to our sin, we finally get to see the truth. And it is good news.
People do not get what they deserve.
We get mercy. We get grace. We get a power that can turn death into life.
All of it despite our sin.
All of it because of our sin.