Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ezekiel 33:17-20

"Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways."
Ezekiel 33:17-20

This is interesting stuff. I think we do wonder sometimes whether God is unfair or biased. And it is cool that he explains some of it to us here. He really does reward righteousness and punish wickedness, but it isn't about being righteous, earning righteous points, and turning them in for the cool mansion in heaven, or the specific blessing on page 45 of the redemption catalog. It is about who we *are* ... who we become. Read an article a few months back about a woman who was around 30 and had been living the gospel, which requires no sex before marriage. And that was long enough for her. She felt like she'd done what God expected, and didn't get the promised blessing, felt she was missing out on what all the people around her had, and now it was time to take things into her own hands. The article ended with her buying some condoms. ... I think a lot of us have felt similarly about different things in our lives. We feel like we're the exception, and everyone else has something except us... and that we've suffered enough. I don't think life works that way though. It is impossible to get to the point where we've done "enough" for God, or have enough points for eternal life, so now we can do whatever we want, or slack off and not try. When we think of things that way, we're missing the point. God is trying to teach us and help us achieve our potential. We're thinking of him as a zookeeper or a dog trainer rather than a schoolteacher or a parent. He's not whipping us or offering us a dog treat to show off to the crowds or do tricks for his personal amusement. He's also not a prison guard. This is a classroom, not a cage. God is trying to teach us what we can become and what we have the power to do... and misbehaving in class or throwing a tantrum because we aren't learning at the same rate or the same lesson as someone else, or because we aren't getting what we want is understandable, but pointless... it just distracts from the growth that we could be making. Our rewards are long term, and just like the physical 7-year-old that thinks that it will be an eternity before she gets to drive a car or go to prom, we also have to wait as we slowly become adults spiritually. Things might not seem fair to us as spiritual 7-year-olds, but when we grow up, we'll see that it all works out. Today, let's work on becoming and staying righteous... on learning our lessons about who we are, and who it is possible to be and not distract ourselves with our very inaccurate view of equality.

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