A friend of mine once told me about his experience reading the biography of Adoniram Judson, the first American foreign missionary. This friend told me how he wept while reading of Judson’s suffering for the Gospel, and how anger in his heart rose toward God for the pain Adoniram endured. Certainly seeing the loss of loved ones and for a time, even Judson’s mind, causes us to ask deep questions and even wrestle with God to get answers.

W hile anger towards God is not right (this friend didn’t think so either by the way), I have had a different reaction while reading Courtney Anderson’s To the Golden Shore. I have wept after reading of Judson’s dying loved ones, imprisonment, mental anguish, and brutality recieved at the hands of the people he longs to see awakened. However, I have not gotten angry with God (praise him for that!), instead I have become irate at the Burmans. In my mind I argue with them; “You foolish Burmans! How could you treat Judson, an envoy of Christ, like this! How could you be so wicked and wrongheaded!” On and on I could go about thier stupidity and wickedness.

But last night it hit me, all my anger towards the Burmans showed my own heart’s emptyness. Was I not an enemy of God once? Did I not hate him and his elect not too long ago? Was it not men just like me who murdered the Son of God?! By the very measure I applied to the Burmans, I was condemned. Suddenly I remembered:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”(Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8, ESV)

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”(Ephesians 2:1-10, ESV)

May God change my heart and yours to love our enemies as a result of Christ’s work in us – the giving of new, gracious, merciful, Father-like, hearts.

Advertisements