In the prophecy of Jeremiah we find the words: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) This is a promise from the Lord that can be hard for us to believe in […]
From The Pastors
Regularly one of our pastors will share a sermon, reflections on religion, or what’s going on around the community and the world. Our current message is below:
To Give Us a Future and a Hope
From Rev. Eric Carswell, Head Pastor
April 25, 2017
In the prophecy of Jeremiah we find the words:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
This is a promise from the Lord that can be hard for us to believe in some states of mind. Sometimes false principles stand in the way of us believing in this promise. A flawed human perspective tends to think that good things should go only to people who clearly earned them and that punishments should be meted out to those who have not done what they should. For some of us this view of life was common in our upbringing. But this perspective misses a fundamental quality of true love and especially the Lord’s love. The Lord is never angry nor does He ever punish anyone. As one passage from True Christian Religion states: “He is not even able to turn His face away from a person and frown upon him.” (True Christian Religion 56)
When the Lord has taught us “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:2) He wants us to recognize that the patterns of judgment we use with other people will also tend to be the patterns we use on ourselves. If we are relatively intolerant of other people’s faults and flaws, when we recognize our own failings we can likewise be harshly condemning of ourselves – sometimes in ways that are destructive of our own sense of a future and a hope for our lives. The hells love to both inspire destructive thoughts, words and actions and to strongly condemn those guilty of them.
For some people it seems that before they can be forgiving and merciful to others they need to become better at accepting their own fallibility. I don’t mean just shrugging at serious flaws, but rather even when we are trying to do what is good and useful, our limitations always mean that things won’t go as well as we hope. It is important not to get too bogged down in self-reproach when we recognize this reality.
For some other people it seems that before they can be more wisely accepting of their own fallibility they need to become better at being forgiving and merciful to others. If they truly recognized that we are all limited and accepted this, while still trying to do the best they can, their lives would be more hopeful and peaceful.
We can be sure that the Lord always has good things toward which He is trying to lead us. He has told us that it won’t always feel this way. There will be times when we can feel unloved, neglected, or even punished by Him. In these times we will not sense peace, hope, or the possibility of a desirable future. But these are always the goals the Lord has in mind for each of us. Why? Because He loves us more dearly than we can possibly imagine.