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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

The Life

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

Ephesians 4:18

For some people, it’s easy to see that they are evil. We look at their actions, we listen to their words, and the decision is just too easy. We were walking the other day and there was this “person” that was yelling, screaming, and cursing at their little dog. Whenever it wouldn’t do exactly what was commanded, they let out a tornado of curses, F-bombs, and assorted other words that would make any cynical criminal cringe.

I bet this dog owner, like you and me, wasn’t always like this. They arrived where they are one day at a time. One disappointment, one hurt, one tragedy at a time. Their fall into darkness took time.

That’s what’s happened in Ephesus. They weren’t always darkened. Their slide into darkness went on for quite a while. Day after day, they kept up their walking deeper and deeper into darkness. And now, they are forever blinded. But it’s not their eyes that are blinded, but their mind. Their understanding.

And what’s the result of this blindness? They’re separated. Separated from God. Their walking into darkness took them away from God. When we walk further and further into darkness, we’re also walking further and further away from God.

Another thing that happens from walking into darkness for so long is not just physical blindness, but blindness when it comes to the things of God. This blindness, this lack of interaction and information with God is a kind of ignorance that causes blindness.

When we’re moving away from God, we lose touch with him. Our daily conversations with him become more and more infrequent. Father and farther apart. We were made for a deeply personal, intimate, totally transparent relationship with God. And without it, we become dry, shriveling up.

Our dryness turns our hearts dry. They become hard, covered with rough callouses. Rough to the touch. Rough to the people around us.

As you read these words, I bet that you thought of a rough person or two. Right? I’m also going to go out on a limb that you also remembered how their past words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes rubbed up against you. They skinned your heart, tearing away the soft flesh of your soul like asphalt on your knees.

As I write these words, I can’t help thinking about a couple of people myself. They have deeply hurt my family with their selfishness and anger. And now, they walk around like nothing ever happened. They play the part of the kind, gracious Christian but without any sorrow or repentance for their actions.

It’s so easy to point at these callous people in our lives and say, “Thank God I’m not like them. What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they see their problems and be better people? When are they going to get their stuff together and see how they’ve hurt us?”

And we just don’t remember it once and then move on for the rest of the day. Oh no. We hit the rewind button and replay that scene over, and over, and over. Remember the original pilot for The West Wing? Josh Lyman keeps replaying his career-ending quote on a political talk show, “Your God’s too busy being indicted for tax fraud.[1]”.

We do the same thing with the hurts and mistakes in our life. We reload the tape and fast-forward to that memory. We then press play to relive the pain. Then, after experiencing it afresh, we press rewind and replay it again. Over and over we replay the awful event until we get distracted or fall asleep.

And all the while, I wonder if God says the same things about you and me? Does God look down on us, replaying scenes from our lives where we’ve hurt him? How many times do you think he relives it? Does he go over it in his mind? Over and over again replaying it? Does he keep hitting the rewind button of eternity, showing off our selfishness for all of heaven to be shocked at?

Thank God that he’s not like that. He’s a loving, forgiving, gracious God that is willing to forgive over and over. He is love[2]. That’s part of who he is. It’s his nature.

And that’s why our holding a grudge, our unwillingness to forgive is such a big thing to God. That’s why God pulls out the big guns and says that it’s a sin. You may be uncomfortable with the word sin, but that’s what God labels it.

Sin is so bad that it took nothing less than the death of the Son of God to pay for it. To fix us. To restore our relationship with God.

When we turn in repentance, asking forgiveness because we’ve offended God and who he is, that truly is the life.

Noodling Questions

  • How are people “darkened” and “separated” from God?

  • What contributes to and creates hardness of heart?

  • Why do we hit the “rewind” button of life and replay our failures?

[1] [2] 1 John 4:8

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