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    Notes from THE HAVEN
    Thursday, February 27, 2003

    Home Group Notes: Wednesday 26th Feb 2003

    The other day the news was on and a pharmaceutical company in America is being sued for producing an Aids vaccine that turned out to be useless. A friend of mine commented that Aids is one of Gods punishments for those who commit sexual sin.

    First and foremost, I responded to the comment by asking whether we as Christians believe that God would punish us at all? I personally do not think that God will punish us. If he had the hatred to do so, why would there be a necessity to send Jesus? Why did Jesus have to come down and die for us in proof that we are not of this world and that we can be born again, free from sin and that so long as we believe, we will have a reward that waits for us in heaven.

    Suffering that could be considered some form of punishment comes from consequence of our own actions. Silly example: if we ate a tub of ice-cream and we knew not to eat so much, the “punishment” for our own actions would be a stomach ache. Those who think and preach that God’s anger will lead to punishment may need to rebuild a closer relationship with Him.

    Matthew 9:12-13
    On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means:‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come for the righteous, but sinners.”

    We found this scripture super powerful as it encapsulates the true meaning of why Jesus came to earth. First, to look at the context, Jesus was amongst the sinners and was criticized by the Pharisees. In apt, we will always be scrutinized by people who don’t know any better. We will be attacked when we try and perform tasks, which are righteous. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”; sacrifice is the “giving up of something” for another greater good. It is associated with loss and deprivation. But God calls us to be living sacrifices, to lead a holy life following him so that we do not feel the loss nor are deprived from anything unless it be unholy, and that is very, very different from being a sacrifice altogether. The word mercy is one of great power. When we looked at the reference section of the application bible, we found countless verses that list three main things together; compassion, mercy and grace. Going back to what my friend believes on Aids as punishment, is it because we have a lack of compassion that disallows us to hate the sin and love the sinner? If we cannot love the sinner, can we at least try to accept them as god accepts them?

    When using any of your spiritual gifts, we can see that the deciding success factor is COMPASSION. The absence of compassion will not let you minister to someone as well as you could, the non-compassionate cannot pray for healing as they do not care. Our discussion also found that we have less motivation to have compassion for those who are closest to us, especially our families. Somehow we cannot deal with their problems because they affect us. We can pray for people we don’t know. We can pray that God gives them the ability to be strong for their family and that they will bring healing because our personal involvement may be limited making it easy. How much compassion do we really have? Do we have enough compassion to get involved?

    Compassion also interferes with faith. The more greater your faith, the more compassionate you will become, the more compassionate you become, the more you will seek god’s will for everything. If you have the heart to minister to the sick, you will rely on God for protection and for anointing. If your faith is small, you will fear that you yourself will contract some sickness.

    I feel Jesus has proven to us that we are disciples of disciples and he gave them gifts and ordained them to go out into the world to serve people. If that was possible then, it is possible now. If we think that people deserve punishment, then we cannot follow God’s will for us to do likewise.

    Bless you all.