mental radio when the tunes playing inside my head,

turn out to be the LORD trying to tell me something...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
70 x 7

How much is too much? How often is too often? How many trips to the well can one person make before that well runs dry?

How many times can a Christian mess up and come back asking for pity, for compassion, for help - before the rest of us Christians throw up our hands and say, 'Ya! Enough! You must like to wallow. If you really wanted to be free, you'd be free already.' And we wash our hands of him, kick the dust off our feet against him, and leave him to himself.

At what point do we do that?

At what point should we do that?

Or even - should we ever do that?

Peter asked the LORD how often he should forgive his brother - up to seven times? And Jesus answered him, not seven times, but seventy times seven. Was the LORD wanting us to keep a careful count, and on the 491st time, cut off the forgiveness? What do you think?

How far do we take this? How long do we hang in there? How many days do we put up with a fellow Christian who is given the same good advice over and over again, and never seems to change? One week? Two weeks? Three?

James speaks of the farmer waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, having long patience as he waits for the early and latter rains. Just how long does a farmer wait, watching for his crops to sprout and grow and ripen for the harvest - one week? Two weeks? Three?

A whole season?

Or what of the case of a tree? A whole season is not long enough for it to grow to maturity. Jesus spoke of the impatient owner of a fig tree. Three years the owner had come looking for fruit on that tree and found none! Cut it down!

But the gardener begging of him yet one more year. One more year, before cutting it off, before giving up hope.

Four years. How many of us bear with someone that long?

How long did GOD have to bear with us, before HE ever saw us change?

Change can be long in coming. Not everyone 'gets it' quickly. Sometimes the good seed planted is snatched away by the birds of the air, again and again and again, before it can ever take root. And then there may be rocks still in the soil - so many rocks! - that need to be cleared away, and more cleared away, and more cleared away, before that root can go deep. And sometimes the weeds spring up, again and again and again, and must be rooted out again and again and again - before the good soil is at last ready to bring forth a fruitful harvest.

Patience. Patience untried, patience unstretched, is not yet patience. Mercy unstretched, unproved, is still but a pleasant concept, not yet living and active.

Mercy. James tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. And warns us that those who show no mercy cannot count on receiving mercy when they need it.

How much is too much? Just stretch a little more. Have a bit more patience, a bit more mercy, with the person who is 'taking too long.' Let it grow you up a bit more, in love and compassion and mercy.

After all, GOD's well of love and compassion and mercy hasn't run dry yet. Why should ours?

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