Into the Mess – Excerpt

The January-February issue of Bible Study Magazine features an article written by yours truly titled “Into the Mess.” It’s my first written piece to be published in print! Here’s a brief excerpt from that article. Enjoy!

“Cookies are not treasure!” Max’s shrill voice rose over the din of the cafeteria, causing every head to turn. “Treasure is permanent!” he wailed. I had to summon all my strength to keep a straight face in front of the infuriated 8-year-old. Max was one of 96 kids attending a summer day camp for at-risk youth, and his class had just discovered cookies at the end of their afternoon treasure hunt. I tried to convince Max that the homemade cookies were a desirable prize, but despite my best efforts, he screamed, “It’s not fair!”

Each of us has our own personal sense of justice that helps us discern right from wrong, fair from unfair. But what happens when our sense of justice clashes with God’s?

Jonah’s life demonstrates what can happen when we’re at odds with God. Nothing goes the way Jonah anticipated as he reluctantly made his way to Nineveh. When God spared the city it “seemed very wrong” to Jonah (Jonah 4:1). You can almost hear him crying out, “it’s not fair!” His idea of justice for the Assyrian city was destruction—fair punishment for their sins.

Sometimes we’re unable to muster compassion for those who have acted sinfully. God does not respond to Jonah or Nineveh’s sin with punishment and destruction, but with compassion and mercy. God’s grace extends beyond mere justice. He brings healing and restoration.

To read the rest, check out the latest issue of Bible Study Magazine or you could ask me for a copy.

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