Tears for the Disobedient

Psalm 119:129-136

It was our last run of the day snowboarding. The college student I was boarding with was a lot more skilled than I and a lot younger. Last runs are always more threatening. You’re tired, the sun has set, and because much of the mountain is now in shadows, it’s tough to see the terrain. A drop in temperature can make the surface icy. All add up to potential harm.

My friend blasted ahead, confident he could flash to the bottom as his older companion took it slow and easy. He didn’t want to hear my cautious warning. Then up ahead he was down. The ski patrol surrounded him in force, and soon we were in the infirmary at the bottom. When I walked into the examining room tears streamed down his face. The pain was excruciating. His leg was broken.

When I taught World Religion at a community college, few of my students could bring to mind more than three of the Ten Commandments and many believed that biblical sexual standards -like sex was to be enjoyed only in a monogamous, heterosexual, married relationship –were restricting and bigoted. Jesus’ biblical statement “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except by me” was often flatly rejected as intolerant and destructive in a pluralistic society.

As my fellow believers see this increasing rejection of Jesus and biblical morality, a lot of them are angry. My burden is that I need to get a lot angrier about sin in my own life and in the lives of professing believers than about sin in the secular culture. The writer of Psalm 119, on the other hand, is challenging me to shed some tears.

“It’s time for the LORD to act, for they are breaking Your Torah, declaring it invalid. Psalm 119:126

“My eyes pour out streams of tears because they do not obey Your Torah.” Psalm 119:136

God’s Torah, his moral instructions in his Word, doesn’t teach us how to get safely down a mountain, but it does teach us how to navigate through life, and it can protect us from a lot of destructive falls. I need to join the writer of Psalm 119 and do some serious crying because I know some who are facing and will face a lot more than a broken leg because they believe flying through life without God’s guidance is the ultimate free thrill ride.

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