A lot of talk in the media these days about extreme sports. Downhill ski racing where the speed is measured in thousandths of a second. And kids doing things on skateboards and the half-pipe that we never thought possible. I’d tell you about my own prowess in Extreme Ping Pong but that’s a story for another day.
This piece is about Extreme Family. Aka church. I’m convinced that criticism is the devil’s counterfeit for intercessory prayer. You are as aware as I am that this world is a broken residence so there has to be some place where it’s ok to fail. There has to be a spot where – no matter the circumstances – we hear the echo from the heart of God that says, “There is nothing you can do that will make Me stop loving you. Nothing.” That spot is called church.
But doesn’t there come a time when disobedience becomes so flagrant and so relentless that the family of God is justified to just give up and say, “OK, that’s it; until you decide to behave like we behave we don’t have room for you here anymore.”? Oh, you mean like Jesus did when Peter betrayed Him in public and His response was, “…I have prayed for you.” Or that thunderous epitome of grace – you remember it well – “Forgive them, Father, for they don’t know what they are doing.” We hear that, remember, at the site of the most heinous crime ever committed in the history of the universe.
We owe the errant among us the same grace we have received. If we learn anything from our Father and our Elder Brother it’s that we never give up on family. Never. Your name is written on Jesus’ hands, right there beside that gaping scar. Rascal though you’ve been, your picture is on His refrigerator. And I love this: “Jesus did not count heaven a place to be desired while we were lost.” DA417 We owe that same unreasonable, never-give-up, compassion also to the least lovable among us. They’re family.
Our sin breaks His heart but it does not break His hold on us. I owe you that same God-like embrace. You owe me that same God-like embrace. We only love God as much as we love the one we love the least. Because we’re family, Extreme Family. Sing it with me: I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God…
By Don Jacobsen