Do you notice how God the Father responds to the Son’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus makes clear that he intends to drink the cup of God’s wrath. He agrees to do it. The decision is made in his mind. Its a huge moment in salvation history as the Father and the Son have a different “will” – while still having the same “will”. It is not inappropriate to say that the entire plan of the universe stood on a knife edge in that garden on that night. But Jesus decided he would do it.
Did you notice God’s response?
As important as Jesus’ intention was, it wasn’t enough. Jesus’ decision to bare the Father’s wrath was not enough to atone for sin. Jesus’ intention to suffer in my place was not enough to free me from punishment. Good intentions and hard decisions are really important, but they’re not enough. They don’t actually do anything. They’re just the first step of doing anything really important.
I wonder whether we live in a world that tends to consider intentions as more important than actually following through on them?
If you’re a leader, do you let people make decisions that they’re not going to follow-through on? Do you value their good intentions over their actions?
If you’re part of a team or a volunteer, do you make decisions and think that’s the hard part done? Do you think your good intentions should be appreciated, regardless of whether you followed-through on them or not?
The gospel is not a creed to be remembered, but a message to be proclaimed. It is not an answer to a question, but a question that seeks people’s answer.
You can be faithful to the content of the gospel, but unfaithful to the intent of the gospel. That is, you can hold all the answers, all the verses, all the knowledge. But keeping it to yourself… that’s being unfaithful to the intent.
The gospel’s intention is to go to the ends of the earth, to every nation and tribe and people. That’s not simply all types of people, but to every person. The gospel’s intent is that everyone hears it’s content.
Gossip isn’t simply when “other people” talk about you. That’s fine. Rather, gossip is when other people talk about you in damaging ways… when they talk to other people about your intentions, your motives. Or putting it the other way around, gossip is when you talk to someone about how another person is mean/awful/untrustworthy.
You could say those things to their face, and that would be bad enough since you’re attributing motives… you’re assuming to know their heart (which only God can).
What makes gossip worse is that the person you’re talking about isn’t even there. They can’t defend themselves; they have no voice, they are helpless and weak in the face of such an attack.
So defend the weak and those without a voice.
Stop other people gossiping. Ask people to stop when they start saying unkind things about someone not present.