I don't know about you, but I hurt when watching people fail.
It reminds me of how I feel watching the Olympics. I don't care who it is; their country of origin; what they stand for or what they've said. I just hate to see a great ice skater fall. The whole audience grows tense before and during a triple axel, and when they fall, most of us momentarily share in their pain.
I am so glad I can put my trust in a God whose nature is to comfort those who hurt, because I, with the righeous, get no pleasure from the corrupt getting caught out there, uncovered and naked, trembling in stupidity and fear with no one and nothing alongside them but their wicked, ugly, disgusting works. I think, that could be me. It's like that old saying, "But for the grace of God, there go I." Suddenly, the prideful chest deflates, the backbone crushed, and they are reminded what God never forgot, For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Ps 103:14 BSB).
Our Shared Assignment
What awaits the unrepentant is not a punishment intended for them but for evil, itself.
Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons (Mt 25:41 NLT).
Even once caught and stripped of power, which was given to do good but used to kill, steal, and destroy; yet, even after the trial has ended, opportunity remains:
Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5 NIV).
Before giving Himself to be murdered so that He would make a joke of death through his resurrection, Jesus prayed "...that they [believers] all may be one...; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (1 Cor 17:21-23 NKJV).
The success of "the great commission," ie the world believing that Jesus is the Christ, is intertwined with our choice, yours and mine, to agree and move in solidarity with the love, compassion, and power of our Savior. Let's pray.
I pray for all those today who held onto their false deities of money or power or passing pleasures, hoping in them as if such transient things could save them from destruction; I pray that these who held on to darkness, refusing the light, until they were at last exposed and left stripped in front of everyone they sought to impress; that even suffering much loss they not lose their soul in eternity but accept the precious and priceless free gift of repentance offered us through Jesus Christ.
I've thought of this scripture often during the present season:
...each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor 3:13-15 NKJV).
For everyone will be tested with fire (Mk 9:49 NLT).
Strengthen us, Father, to disciple these as they come, in desperate need of rebuilding (edifying) from whatever is left of their soul; and You are able and You will rebuild them, and they will be restored. We acknowledge and embrace that there is no "them" or "they" that is truly apart from "us," and together we embrace our blessed assignment to love those who sought to destroy us; to pray for those who thought they could make enemies of us.
Beloved, don't be shy about the righteousness of Christ in you. Don't mistake false humility, which is self-centered and self-honoring, with modesty, which is Christ-centered humility rooted in gratitude for His power entrusted to you. In your every triumph, you shout from the rooftops: JESUS IS LORD!
Our Jesus said to "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
You can allow others to see and know of your good works without being caught up in self-promotion because you are constantly giving thanks to the One who enabled you.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Mt 5:14-16 NKJV).
Watch as many lost ones are drawn to that light. In that day, you will be glad that you had prayed for them in this one. Because of your faithfulness now, you will soon be blessed and entrusted with much more.