Summary: What we are going to be trying to get our minds around today is how the promise of God Judgment can move us from being bitter angry people, to accepting and overcoming people
Life’s Turning Points
Becoming Bitter or Better
This weeks topic was Judgment, and normally I don’t like to hear the word Judgment. The message of God’s Judgment from Job is Good News. It is judgment from the perspective of the oppressed. It is justice for those who have been treated unfairly. It is the restoration of the good, and the judgment of evil.
What we are going to be trying to get our minds around today is how the promise of God Judgment can move us from being bitter angry people, to accepting and overcoming people.
We are going to take the bitterness Quiz together. This Quiz is scientifically proven to show how bitter you are. Warning: It is not wise to use this Quiz to tell your spouse how bitter they are.
This will be easy you will just use your fingers to keep score. True is a finger in, False and we keep our fingers out. No cheating off you neighbor.
1. Is life fair? True or False
2. If you work hard, you will be rewarded? True or False
3. If you treat people well, they will treat you well? True or False
4. If you faithfully serve the Lord, your life will go well?
5. If God is pleased with me, I will be Blessed?
Now we will come back at the end of the sermon to share the answers.
First I want to tell you about two men who came to a turning point in their lives.
Charles Templeton was tired of his life. After returning from a strip club he felt wrenched with guilt. He went back to his room and knelt by his bed. He said it was as if a “a black blanket was draped over me. A sense of guilt pervaded my entire mind and body.” Then he said the words that would come, “Lord come down. Come down.” It was as if a heavy weight was lifted from his shoulders and he could he himself whispering, “Thank you Lord, Thank you. Thank you.” Templeton left his career in journalism and began to pursue ministry. Fifteen years later he was Billy Graham’s close friend and pulpit partner. They traveled and preached together all over the country. Templeton had his own church as well that consistently packed out a 1,200 seat sanctuary. But then one day as he was looking at Life Magazine he saw a woman holding her dead child. The picture was of a child who had starved to death in the drought of Northern Africa. When Templeton saw the picture he thought, “How could a loving God do this to that woman?” Templeton began to struggle with the reality of suffering. He was at a turning point.
Steve Saint had a great relationship with his father. After he returned from serving in WW II he had become a commercial airplane pilot. He was a creative and fun man who seemed to love each person he came in contact with. When a missionary ask his Dad to help repair an airplane in Mexico he jumped at the chance. Steve’s dad became burdened for the people of Latin America and began to take the gospel to the villages of Ecuador that had never heard about Jesus. The government was about to wipe out many of the villages because they had begun killing oil workers. Steve’s father concluded that if they did not share the gospel with them they might soon loose their opportunity. As they flew into the area they had brought firearms, but had decided that they would not use them. They concluded. “We are ready. If we die, we will go to heaven. If we kill these villagers they may not.” The first contact with the villagers went well and gifts were exchanged. The men radioed their wives of the success and an upcoming meeting. At the next meeting the villagers surrounded the men and killed them. Steve and his mother returned to the United States. Steve was at a turning point.
When we come face to face with suffering. We are often at a turning point in our lives. Job describes loosing his family. When we loose those closest to use through death, divorce we can be overcome by grief and bitterness. Life can be extremely hard to bear.
What about friends bringing us to a turning point. Maybe some of us in this room have been betrayed and let down. Maybe the friends we thought we could count on ripped our hearts out. When this happens bitterness and pain can overcome us, swallow us. Harden us towards life.
So now how do we turn towards becoming better, how do we turn to God in the hardest of times? And how is God Judgment one of our comforters?