Feeling Trapped, Needing to Sin

Most of us pray for forgiveness after we’ve sinned, not before.

Not These Guys

 Jonah was on a ship headed for the Southwest tip of Spain. He was getting away from God and his prophetic assignment, to go to Nineveh, in Assyria, but Jonah didn’t want to go, so he didn’t.

Well, the Mediterranean developed a violent storm and the sailors realized that Jonah was the cause. They asked him what they should do and Jonah said to throw him overboard, they didn’t want to, but they did.

However, before doing so they prayed to Jonah’s God. 

“O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you O Lord, have done as you pleased.” Jonah 1:14

“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard.” Jonah 1:15

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Fascinating

Praying for forgiveness before we sin, what a concept!  

Some Things Some of Us Do

  1. Pray for safety and break the speed limit the whole way.
  2. Teach kids to respect the law and then throw paper and cigarettes on the ground.
  3. Uphold honesty and integrity but justify little indiscretions. 
  4. Hide our sins because we care more about what others think than what God thinks.
  5. Swear, gossip, complain, and grumble, all sinful, but just little sins, right? 

Feeling Trapped

The sailors were desperate and felt trapped. Their ship was about to break up and they had to do something.

Don’t we feel trapped sometimes? So, we lose our cool, get irritated, and say and do the wrong things. Maybe out of frustration, and maybe out of fear.  

It’s hard to do right every time. Jonah and the sailors didn’t, and neither do we.

To Close

Keep the faith. Stay strong. Wrestle with temptation. Give thanks that we have a Savior who gives mercy and grace. Thank God that he lifts from our shoulders the burden of moral perfection. Thank you Lord!

“Lord, we’re absolutely going to kill this guy, but please don’t hold it against us.”

“Okay boys, chuck him over the side.”

Uh Huh

Shalom

Contracts or Connections?

cross at sunset“Don’t cry, don’t be afraid, and don’t show weakness.” Are these the universal rules for manliness? Often it gets lumped into one rule: “don’t show, share, or talk about your feelings.” Men and boys are allowed their enthusiasm and excitement while on a playing field. They can root, holler and yell at sporting events, but that’s about it. If they lose, or their team loses, they can show disappointment, but no real emotions. Remember the line, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

It’s a social contract isn’t it? Feelings aren’t shared. Shame, fear, guilt, sadness and grief; it all gets pushed down and sealed over. Our culture insists that emotions are feminine while emotional disconnection is masculine.

Jesus was a man and he showed his feelings. But men struggle with his emotionalism. He openly wept and cried. He showed compassion and concern. He loved children, especially the infants, holding and blessing them. He wasn’t a woman; he was a man and was masculine. If you doubt that, then ask the money changers in the temple courts. Jesus made a whip and whipped them out of the temple. It wasn’t miraculous. It was a man with righteous anger cleansing the stains of greed and exploitation. Now see him carrying the cross, bruised, battered, and beaten. See him hanging there, scourged, impaled, and bleeding. Jesus, the son of God, will soon die for you. Is he a real man yet?

Men, can we overcome the social contract we were born to honor? Can we admit that we need genuine connection with Jesus, and not just an embracing of his intellect? We are naturally drawn to his strength and amazing power. But can we also be drawn to his heart and soul? I know, we aren’t going to join a circle, light some candles, and share our feelings. We don’t have to. But our relationship with Jesus needs to also have heart connection.

Let’s reach out to Jesus a little more. This week, let’s find our Messiah’s heart by seeing a child in need. Let’s experience his mercy and grace by giving some mercy and grace. Be Jesus to someone, sharing his soul as well as his mind. Let’s strive for a real connection and not settle for an impersonal contract.