#15 IN MY CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER JOURNEY THROUGH ROBERT MCGEE’S BEST-SELLING BOOK, THE SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE.
The fear of punishment and the propensity to punish others can affect our lives in many ways. The following provides a brief description of common problems taht often result from this deception.
Many of us operate on the theory that if we are hard enough on ourselves, then God won’t punish us. We fail to realized that God disciplines us inn love and does not punish His children. Because God loves us unconditionally and does not punish us, we don’t need to punish ourselves. The greater the sin the longer the self-condemnation. Some have spent their entire lives condemning themselves. This process will never lead to a more holy life.
In essence we are accusing God of being what what the book of Revelation in the Bible describes as the “accuser of the brethren.” This is accusing God of behaving like satan, which ignores the fact that God tells us that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). No wonder there are so many bitter, angry Christians, considering all those who were and are deceived in believing that satan’s activity is really God at work in our lives. Satan enjoys this greatly because it alienates God’s children from Him and leaves them vulnerable to even more of the enemy’s attempts to deceive.
Fear of punishment is at the root of one of the most common problems in our society: passivity. Passivity is the neglect of our mind, time, gifts, or talents through inaction. God intends for us to cooperate actively with Him. But fear can have an immobilizing effect on our will. Passivity results in a dull live, avoiding risks and missing opportunities.
Punishment of Others
Our specific response to the failure of others depends on several factors: our (temperament) and personalities, the nature of their failure, and how their failure reflects on us. Our condemnation of those who fail may take the form of verbal abuse, physical abuse, nagging criticism, withholding appreciation and affection, or ignoring them. These responses are usually designed to make them “pay” for what they did.
Fears of All Sorts
The blame game leaves us feeling all alone without experiencing the faith we need to live without fear. Fear and faith can never be co-equal. One will always dominate the other. The more we give ourselves to fear, the more difficult it is to experience faith in our lives. The fear of punishment and the desire to punish others can be overcome by realizing that Christ has borne the punishment we deserve. His motives toward us are loving and kind. His discipline is designed to correct us and protect us from the destruction of sin, never to punish us.
Beginning with my next posting I will be discussing God’s response to the blame game and the need to punish.
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