Love and Injustice – Luke 23:39-42

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise”.

You don’t have to look very hard to see the world we live in is one lacking justice. Pick up a paper and read about the royal commission, asylum seekers, political corruption, civil war, religious persecution … the list goes on and on. As we read the paper and watch the news, the natural and right response from us, the public and from the media is to demand justice. When we look at the evil acts perpetrated by those unknown to us, it’s easy to cry out for justice.

But what happens when that cry for justice turns on us? When we face the consequences of our actions would we still demand that justice be done?

This is a question faced by two men who hung on crosses beside Jesus. Both convicted criminals. Both being punished for their own actions. Both seemingly without hope. Yet they have two very different responses to their situation.

The first criminal doesn’t ask for justice. He does just the opposite. He joins in with the rulers and soldiers who have been mocking Jesus. He too hurls sarcasm at him – ‘if you’re really some kind of king, prove it. Save yourself!’ But he goes one step further. “Aren’t you God’s chosen king? Save yourself and us.” His cry isn’t for justice. His cry is for Jesus to save him from justice. He demands injustice.

The second criminal is different. He knows his crime and he knows he is getting exactly what he deserved. And he recognises Jesus’ innocence. He knows that on the cross next to him is no ordinary man. He is a man to be feared, because he is also God, and he is suffering innocently.

But then, he too cried for injustice. He turns to Jesus and says ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom’.

This request is outrageous. This man is a criminal. He’s been judged by human authorities and they’ve hung him on a cross to die. This man knows that he’ll be judged by God and that he doesn’t deserve any mercy. Yet he dares to ask Jesus to remember him.

When you stop and think about what he’s asking for it’s quite amazing. A criminal is talking to the king of God’s people, and asking him to keep a place for him in God’s kingdom.

Jesus’ response is even more amazing. “Today you will be with me in paradise”. Yes, I will remember you. Yes, you will have a place in my kingdom. How is it possible that in this 11th hour confession this criminal has found some kind of favour with Jesus?

The answer is found in the biggest injustice of all – the death of an innocent man. Jesus’ death was a huge injustice, but not an accidental one. It was intentional. It was willing. And it was motivated by love. God’s love for his people, his desire for them to be reconciled to him and his knowledge that reconciliation would be impossible without him stepping in to act. So he stepped into the world in the person of Jesus, and dies a death that he didn’t deserve, so that when someone cries out ‘Jesus, remember me’, he can answer ‘yes, you will be with me in paradise’.

This is a tremendous promise to the criminal on the cross. But it’s not just for him. All of us are in the same position as the criminal. We may not be judged by our peers, or be hung on a cross, but we will all stand before God and will all be found wanting. We will face the same choice the two criminals faced. Join in the mocking and demand temporary salvation, or recognise Jesus as the king who is able to provide eternal salvation.

The criminal’s words from the cross are more than a confession of his crimes. He has come to believe and declare that Jesus really is the King of the Jews. He confessed his need for forgiveness and turned to the only one who is able to meet that need.

Will you do the same?

Do not resuscitate

It’s one of those things you see in TV shows all the time. I’ve lost counts of the number of times a story on Grey’s Anatomy has revolved around a DNR (do not resuscitate) signed by patient, then disputed by a loved one. How about when Issy was unconscious after surgery on her brain. Alex, her new husband pleads for the doctors to do something. Insert suspenseful 2 minutes before the chief exclaims “screw the DNR” and they save her life.

It makes for exciting TV and until this morning meant little more than that to me personally. But this morning my mum signed a DNR order for my Grandma. Strangely since then all I can think about is every TV show I’ve seen when a doctor ignores a DNR and the patient miraculously survives.

This is a little different though. Firstly you may wonder why my mum signed it and not my Grandma herself. Grandma lives in the dementia ward of a nursing home. She has Alzheimer’s disease. Mum has power of attorney so this is just one among many tough decisions she has to make for her mum.

I think she’s doing the right thing. If something happens and Grandma is in a situation that requires resuscitating, even if doctors successfully revive her, she’s still going to have Alzheimer’s. She still won’t know who any of us are. She still won’t remember how to talk. She’ll still need someone to feed her. And bath her. They can revive her a hundred times over but she’s not Grandma anymore and she won’t ever be again. She won’t ever have it good again in this life. But I know where she’s going when she dies and she will have it great then!

I love her and I miss her so much. There’s never a day I don’t pray for her. Everyday the same prayer. Jesus, please make today the day you take her home.

Want to know where you’re going when you die? Find out here.

“What can I do to love you?”

Tonight I sat at dinner chatting to 2 of my dear Christian sisters, watching each of them fight back tears talking about the lovely, non-Christian men pursuing relationships with them. As they were talking about the things they find the hardest about the situation, I realised there are 2 things that make the loneliness they’re feeling worse –

  1. Their non-Christian friends simply don’t get it – they don’t understand why a woman would turn down a guy based on something they equate with a hobby
  2. (As much as I HATE the us/them divide) their married friends don’t get it either –  maybe it’s because they have never experienced being in your 30’s and single but it seems like most married people have no comprehension of how intense that loneliness is. Some of the most insensitive and ridiculous comments I’ve heard have come from married Christian friends.

Harsh, I know but I’m so frustrated. As Christians surely we should be trying harder. Because it’s not simply a matter of whether of not you can sympathise with someone, it’s about trying to work out how to love them despite being unable to sympathise. Married friends – when was the last time you had a conversation with a single christian friend about their struggle with singleness? And who initiated it? If you’re not sure how to be helpful to them I recommend this question – ‘what can I do to help you?’. You could also substitute the word ‘help’ for ‘support’ or ‘love’ – but be prepared to follow through.

Anyway, I was thankful tonight that I’m single, so I could love my sisters. Please pray for them.

The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage

I spent most of my afternoon reading The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage: 6 Things You Need to Know About What’s Really at Stake by Erwin W. Lutzer.


I think this is an excellent book that encourages all Christians to think biblically about a delicate issue. But it doesn’t just encourage thought – it encourages action.

The thing that I like most about this book is that, in his intro, Lutzer first grounds us in the truths that are so often forgotten by Christians as we discuss these issues

We must lower our voices in this debate, speaking with respect and dignity. No matter how strongly we oppose the homosexual agenda, we are first of all called to be Christians who have the privilege of representing Christ to all the communities of the world, regardless of class, colour, nationality or “gender orientation”. […] We must never speak of homosexuality as if it is the one sin worthy of the eternal flames. Yes, the Bible does condemn homosexuality, but it also condemns a host of other sins that are rampant in the best of our churches. If all we do is shout at homosexuals across a chasm, be assured we will hear only the echo of our own voices ringing in the air.

Those sins are not only rampant in our churches, but in our lives as well. A point which Lutzer takes up in chapter 1.

We must repent of the double standard that sees the sin of the homosexual behaviour in a different category than adultery, premarital sex and pornography. We must plead guilty to the charge of bigotry, for we have acted as if our sins are minor in comparison to those of the homosexual  community, whose sin we think are of a different nature and category. This attitude of condemnation has caused us to lose our voice in the wider culture.

In my opinion this is our biggest problem. Why does the gay community think we are judgmental? Because often times we are!

This book is easy to read and quite short and yet covers a great deal. Lutzer discusses the effects of same-sex marriage on the tradition marriage (grounded of course in the Bible’s covenant based marriage), as well as its effect on children, the issue of adoption, the common arguments in affirming same-sex marriage, how and why the church should act and our continuous need for repentance, humility and hearts that seek God always.

At the beginning of the book Lutzer shares his motivation and thought process behind writing the book. He ends with this interesting paragraph.

Let no one say that we have to choose between loving homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriage. Biblically, love is defined not as license to legitimatize sinful behaviour of any kind, but love helps us to see there is a better way. Obviously, we must be as concerned about our own sins as we are about the sins of the homosexual community. We must be concerned enough to speak out about any action, heterosexual or homosexual, that violates God’s intended plan for marriage and the family.

Food for thought.

Loving your husband before you get married

“Whether or not the Lord attaches an andros to our phileo love, this kind of “heartwork” is crucial to growing in the likeness of Christ. By working to become more like our Lord and Savior, we will be worthy of the full trust of both our earthly husbands (should we get married) and, ultimately, our heavenly Bridegroom.”

This is a quote from an article by Carolyn McCulley called ‘Loving you husband before you get married.’ Its an article that, to be honest, was a bit confronting for me but extremely helpful. Since I’m now willing to admit that I thought it was time to share it with you. I hope it’s helpful for you too.

Read it here