hunted down

27 05 2011

First Osama bin Laden, then Ratko Mladic. What a month for hunting down the world’s most wanted. The A Team had better be afraid.

It must be an odd life living in the knowledge that one day everything might come crashing down around you. Secret hideaways, multi-million fortunes, armies of bodyguards… all this may well never be enough to shield you from being brought to justice. Because you are guilty we will hunt you down, even if it takes 10 years, 16 years, or more.

You will be found out.

Ratko Mladic. Image: BBC News

There are not many of us who are fugitive war criminals. Not that I know of anyway. But there are a lot of us who are terrified of being found out. Terrified that the protection we have built up around us will be breached. Terrified that God will see through our defenses and bring us to justice. Terrified that God is actually a hunter who seeks us out in order to expose us, humiliate us, and ultimately destroy us.

I think that is why many people avoid God. People in church and outside church the same. Because, we think, if God really knew us, he would not love us. If we were the 1 he left the 99 for, he would make his way back to the 99 disappointed. Like a blind-date that goes wrong because we look nothing like the photo, when God truly knows us he will reject us.

I am afraid of being found out. I am afraid I have been found out. I know I have been found out. For the mass of insecurities I am, for the prejudices I hold, for the thoughts I have and ultimately for the fact I do not love myself. As most of us don’t.

The thing is, God has found me out, and yet I have no fear of being put on trial. Not because I have bribed him with my good works, or held him hostage with the power of my dog collar. But because he has released me as a free man. No longer captive to my desires, my past, not held by karma; no longer a slave, no longer a king, no longer a nobody. Free.

We have many metaphors for this. We sometimes say Jesus has paid the price for us.  Sometimes we say we have been redeemed.  Sometimes we say we have been washed whiter than snow, although being ‘washed in the blood of the lamb’ never sounded very clean to me.

However we describe it, it means that we need not live in fear of being hunted down, found out, humiliated and punished.

What marks us out as followers of Jesus who have welcomed the Holy Spirit to dwell in us is that we no longer hide like fugitives; we no longer hang our heads in shame; we no longer hunch under the weight of who we really are and would rather not be. We are totally free and totally released. If only more of us in our churches and outside our churches would know this…!

Of course in reality I still don’t like the fact God sees everything. I cannot believe he sees it and still loves me, accepts me, welcomes me. I cannot understand how he see me as holy, pure, unblemished. But he does. He does.

Sometimes I want him to hunt me down because it makes more sense. Punishment is easier to accept than grace.  

And if you’re looking away now because you really can’t believe it for yourself, how much more is it true for you.




4 responses

27 05 2011
27 05 2011

So we have our chance of vengeance now, he has been given up at last,
handed over to the court, to confront and explain his past.

But even now it looks as if he might escape, from being put on trial.
Debates about his health will delay things quite a while.

But would it matter if he didn’t get his time in court
If by claiming or feigning sickness he died in the time he had bought?

Has he had his time in hell while being on the run
All those years a hunted man cannot have been much fun.

I don’t know how God will judge and what he then will do
but is Ratko actually more evil than me or you or you?

Does he deserve eternal hell while we are God forgiven
Or will we see him, made anew when we all meet up in heaven?

I’m so glad I’m not God to have work this out
But God will do it right of that there is no doubt.

So I won’t be looking for vengeance just glad that he can no longer harm people.

27 05 2011

I don’t quite know why, but for some reason, to completely believe in the God you describe, a God who will not feel some degree of disappointment or disgust if he sees EVERY element of me; a God who doesn’t want to make me suffer in some way, feels like a) a MASSIVE risk, and b) as though it’s the ‘soft option’.

Aside from the fact that my paragraph is all one sentence, I’m hoping that makes SOME sense..!

28 05 2011

Indeed, you do make sense! It is a massive risk, to trust God that he will not reject us. But like other relationships we take risks based on trust and character – by his character revealed to us we learn to trust him. Still a risk though. As for the soft option… I can see that too, though I don’t think it feels very soft most of the time! And there are consequences that aren’t soft of course, like trusting our lives to him and not knowing where that will take us and allowing him in to our darkest places to change us . And then there’s Jesus of course, who took the hardest option for us, looking into to eye of everything dark and taking it upon himself so that we don’t have to.
If that makes sense!

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