What Parts of the Bible are You Ignoring?

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It?s not easy to make sense of scripture. Parts of it are downright weird or even horrific. The story of Judah and Tamar, God?s interaction with Hosea and Gomer, and any story using the phrase “devoted to destruction” come to mind. They are the stories you don?t see in children?s Bible story books, or if they are included it is with some serious sanitation and airbrushing (a Thomas Kinkade version of reality, so to speak).

Those passages get ignored because they gross us out or break our fragile understanding of God. But there are other portions of scripture we ignore in an entirely different way – commands that are uncomfortable or nigh impossible to follow. It is so easy to willfully overlook them, much easier than learning how to reconcile them to my life and God’s reality.

Love your enemies.

Forgive 70 x 7 times (that means ALL of the times).

Bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you.

Honor you father and mother.

Children, obey your parents.

Give to any who asks of you.

Lay down your life and follow me.

If it causes you to sin, cut it off.

Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the Church.

Do not covet.

Serve God, not money.

Do not commit adultery (which includes willfully lusting).

Consider others before yourself.

Pray without ceasing.

Judge not lest you be judged.

Take up your cross and follow me.

And so on.

We have so many rationalizations and excuses for overlooking and ignoring such commands. So often our mindset is that of a transaction: every disobeyed or ignored command is a debt owed, and we simply can?t pay them all back. We?re in over our heads, and it feels impossible to face our wrongs and admit them. But we must, and it’s good and freeing when we do because we are not settling accounts with God; we are being restored in relationship. God’s grace and forgiveness far surpass our willful ignoring of his commands (that’s in the bible too, don?t forget). His grace is so great that what the debt we do owe was paid already so that we can be free to come to Him for forgiveness, as children.

So be brave and ask yourself “what parts of the Bible do I ignore?” Then trust God’s grace for understanding and forgiveness as you would trust a good father, a perfect father. He gave us scripture to show us as much of Himself as we can handle. It is for our good, our peace, even if we can?t riddle it all out. We can trust the parts that tell us of His mercy, goodness, sovereignty, and forgiveness. We can rest in the parts that tell us of redemption at the cross and the coming of a perfect helper to teach and grow us. When we rest in these parts of scripture we will begin to improve at all those hard commands and come to terms with those tricky parts.

The Grand Inquest of Conscience

“The grand inquest of conscience is, is God satisfied?? If he be satisfied, I am satisfied.” – John Flavel, The Fountain of Life, Sermon XI, 149

Confessions of a former Catholic:

My conscience stalked me like a band of hyenas. I felt like I had a festering sore under my shirt.

My guilt drove me to weekly confession.? I’d bare my soul in the shadows to Monsignor O’Leary (fake name) who was 800 years old and half deaf.? He’d blare: “You did what?? How old are you?”? I’d exit the confessional, avoiding eye contact with the other embarrassed penitents, who awaited their own public humiliation.

I confessed the same shameful sins every week.? Sometimes I padded the list with other sins for variety, but figured that soon Monsignor would start recognizing me. So I started rotating with young Father Earnest (also fake name), who at least didn’t broadcast my iniquities to the nations.

Soon thereafter, every 3rd Saturday I’d drive to a nearby town, and reveal my deeds to an ancient priest even more deaf than Monsignor O.? No rest for the wicked.

“Woeful is the state of that man, that feels the worm of conscience nibbling on the most tender part of the soul, and hath no relief against it; that feels the intolerable scalding wrath of God burning within, and hath nothing to cool it.” – ibid, 149-150

Woeful was my state.? Until my burden drove me to Jesus, who saved me and helped me grasp that God no longer held a sword over my head, but was at peace with me, for his justice had been satisfied by Christ’s atoning blood.? “If he be satisfied, I am satisfied.”? The Grand Inquest was over.

“If you ever had ever felt that shame, fear, horror, and despair, which are the dismal effects of an accusing and condemning conscience, you would account it an unspeakable mercy to hear of a way for the discharge of a poor sinner from that guilt: you would kiss the feet of that messenger that could bring you tidings of peace…” – ibid, 150

How about you?? Have you discovered the unspeakable mercy of a conscience cleansed by Jesus’ blood?

photo by kromatic