Lord's Day Liturgy

There Is Always Someone

All sin is personal. I don’t mean only that a person sins, but that sin is always an attitude or an action against a person. Righteousness has to do with what is right between persons. You can’t be right, or wrong, autonomously.

One thing this implies is that you cannot ultimately be angry due to the “situation.” There isn’t an impersonal cause of your bitterness. You can call it what you want, but you can’t blame no-one. There is always someone behind every frustrated or annoyed, in other words unkind and impatient, response.

In a recent sermon I mentioned that I’m enough of a Calvinist to know the ultimate target of my ill temper. There are times, of course, when I can see the person who has irritated me. My personality is the type that wants to deny that I’m angry because, after all, being angry toward one’s wife or kids or sheep or students or friends or neighbors is ugly.

The first stage is to find a word for it that doesn’t sound so unbiblical, something more reasonable like “frustration.” If you know too much Bible or if your parents don’t let you get away with redefinition, move to stage two. Admit that yes, you’re angry, but not at the person in front of you. You’re just mad at how Things went, at The Circumstances. But that is true madness.

Who controls all things? Who said that “all things work” in a certain direction? Who commands trust and thanks? It is the One with whom we have to do. It is God. The universe is personal because He is, and our sin is personal because whomever else we might blame, we often follow Adam’s example and blame God who put us in that spot.

God is gracious with us and our sinful weakness. But do not presume on His patience. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.”