A Home-going To Be Remembered
Today as the news of Billy Graham’s home-going hit the air waves I began pondering the impact of one life on the world. What he meant to this world is almost inconceivable. He influenced some of the greatest leaders of the last 100 years. How can that be? In what manner was he different from us? What can I do to have just a small portion of this impact on today’s world?
One of his quotes that could possibly play a big part in our lives as a covenant keeper is: “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” Oh that we could get this truth so deep in our human spirit that the devil could not possibly steal it from our reasoning.
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict.” Say this with me. “It is not my job to convict my spouse of their wrong doing.” In fact what we think of as “their wrongdoing” may really be “wrong thinking” on our part. But even if our reasoning is accurate it is not our job to convict them. Wow, what upside down thinking that is compared to how the world thinks! Somehow we as humans believe that if we just tell someone often enough about their transgressions, they will see the picture of reality accurately and will change their evil ways. But God says this is not my job but the work of the Holy Spirit. John 14:25-27 (MSG) says: “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
Did you catch that? “He (the Holy Spirit) will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole.” The question I want to ask you is, “Do you believe the Holy Spirit will really tell your spouse the things of the Lord?” If you really believe this then you will act like you believe it. It is totally unnecessary for you to help the Holy Spirit. Your title is not Junior Holy Spirit. Zip your lip and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work with no interference from you. Trust what the Word says.
“God’s job is to judge.” We have all read the end of the Book. We know how this world ends and what will happen to everyone in the end. God is the judge. This could be a really scary proposition if we didn’t know that we will be judged through the blood that was shed at the cross by Jesus. Jesus is our Advocate. Without this knowledge we would each be a heap of dung on the floor because we are all guilty of sin. We should no longer wallow in our sin because we have repented and been forgiven. Therefore, our wrongdoing will not be held against us. If we have confessed that sin, our fault in our separation or divorce has been forgiven. Wow, that’s great news. But that also means that our spouse’s sins could be or have been forgiven also.
I implore you to not be like Jonah. He held the sins of Nineveh against the people of the city. He didn’t want to grant grace to them. He wanted God to kill them.
In Jonah 4:1-3 (MSG) we hear the sad ending of Jonah’s lack of grace for the people of Nineveh. “Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, ‘God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! So, God, if you won’t kill them, kill me! I’m better off dead!’” Jonah wanted to judge the people instead of allowing God to be the judge. The sad thing is that Jonah knew God to be a forgiving and merciful judge but he didn’t believe that Nineveh was worthy of God’s grace. He wanted them dead. But God in verse 11 (ESV) says, “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah’s story is not just a story about a man who was swallowed by a fish. John Otte says in his article titled Jonah and the Anti-Prophet, “Jonah the Anti-Prophet is not just a fish story. It’s actually a reminder to all of God’s people of every generation that we are called on to emulate God’s compassion and mercy. We shouldn’t cluck our tongues at Jonah and his silliness too much, because in reality, Jonah is a stand-in for us.” God’s job is to judge and our job is to emulate Him in His love for people.
This brings me to the last part of the statement said by Billy Graham, “my job is to love.” Our job is to love our spouses just exactly like Jesus loves them. He sees them through the blood that He shed at Calvary. He sees them whole, healed and serving Him. He sees them as forgiven. He sees them with a kind of love that does not require good behavior to continue in that love. I Corinthians 13:5c “Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone.” (NLV) When you get to the point of not remembering the suffering you have endured because of your marriage situation you will know that you love like Jesus. This is what our spouses need. They need us to love them just like Jesus does.
Maybe this is just one small nugget we can grasp from the life of Billy Graham that can make a difference in our corner of the world.