God is really not holding back in this particular little section of Ezekiel.
A prime example of how the Bible is not for the faint of heart and it's also pretty PG-13. Heck, it's R rated sometimes.
This little passage reminded me a lot, of course, of Hosea and Francine River's novel based on Hosea, "Redeeming Love."
As I've been thinking more and more about what it means to promote the gospel, to be a light in this world, I must confess it has been a struggle. I fancy myself a sympathetic, friendly, compassionate person and the idea of talking about Jesus actually sometimes grates on those impulses. I want people to live in harmony and be encouraged, and talking about Jesus can make people uncomfortable and make them feel inferior. "I'm a good person though. What does it matter if I believe in Jesus or not?"
But if I didn't get this before, this passage in Ezekiel says it all. No, we are not good people. Maybe we aren't trying to actively hurt people (which is generally the gist of people's morality) but we are hurting God.
We are not good people.
We don't deserve death because we lend a cup of sugar, protest social injustice, smile and say "have a nice day," share the video about world hunger on Facebook, or whatever good things we do. These are in fact good things but they do nothing if we've rejected God.
We deserve death because we've rejected the very One who gave us life. He breathed life into our lungs, He chose us and we decided to be a minimally "good person."
And God calls it like it is in this passage of Ezekiel. "'Good person', you are not being who I created you to be, you are being ugly."
But all this is to talk about the problem, when really the message is the solution: Jesus. Because no matter how ugly we have been, Jesus is ready to fix everything. He has already.
As a Christian hoping to be a light in this world I could worry all day about how judgmental and mean I may come off when I believe that being "a good person" is not enough. But it's not up to me to convict, it's not up to me to judge. I just have to hold onto the hope that I myself need to cling to.
For Jesus "unlike the other high priests, does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of all the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself" (Heb. 7:27).
Today I thought a little bit about the practice of gratitude. No matter what we have going for us in life we will always want for something, it's just our ugly human nature. We need to remind ourselves of how faithful God has been already when we find ourselves wanting.
So today, though I did spend a lot of today wanting, I will practice gratitude: for a bed to sleep in. For a cute puppy. For the way God faithfully and seemingly magically provided me with a job.
And for a God who is merciful every single bleeping day even when I wallow in want. (I'll censor myself because even if the passage in Ezekiel today was R-rated I'd like my blog not to be, haha)