In a yard near us, a sign recently appeared with these words on it: MOM ON STRIKE. Michelle had "moved" into her children's tree house and vowed she wasn't coming down until a few things changed. A local television station saw the sign and ran a story in which they interviewed her. But even more to my interest, they interviewed her husband. I wondered what he was going to say. During his interview, he said, "I've told the kids to cool it with the back talk. I've told them to do their chores again. We're doing everything we can to get her to come down."
It makes perfect human sense that when you've offended someone, when you've done something that's not right, you want to make it up to that person. You want to make amends. It makes perfect human sense, but it makes no spiritual sense. In this passage in Luke, our Savior took great pains to make it clear that if we are depending on what we do to make ourselves right with God, we are barking up the wrong tree. After all, if you pressed us deep down into our hearts, what we really want is for the power of God to come down. We want God to be real and present and moving in our midst, changing hearts, changing culture. We want God to come from whatever tree house in heaven he occupies and be here.
But how do you get God to come down when his standards are so high? Do you want to see how high they are? Look at the opening verses of Luke 17. Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves" (v. 13). What's the standard? Cause no sin. That is ...
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