Monday, January 17, 2011

The Insufficiency of Time

"Time heals all wounds"

Who said it? It's not in the Bible. Most would attribute this proverb to Chaucer, who actually got it wrong here. It's vaguely comforting; it's just not really very true. It's the kind of popular line people pull out when they are groping around in their ill-stocked memories for something compassionate to say to a grieving friend (a good reason to memorize Scripture). When I look back on some of the things I did and said in my teens, I often ease my regret and disgust with the thought that these events occurred over ten years ago and I'm a different person now. I can forgive myself for having been so daft and coarse. On a much smaller scale, if I can keep myself from gnawing my nails for a week, I often look at my former nail-biting self as a sort of monster, far removed from the civil human I am now.

But let me ask you this: if the man were caught today who had murdered your brother ten years ago, would you accept his version of that defense? "I was a different person then. Time has healed this wound. I am not responsible for what that young man I was once did so long ago." A general rule of jurisprudence is that if the argument only sounds good when you're using it to defend yourself, then it's probably not a good argument.

Time cannot erase consequences. It cannot separate you from culpability that you have earned for yourself. It cannot make you into a different person. In fact, most often time festers wounds, multiplies bitterness, and hardens hearts. Time is no friend to the hurting. That's why Hell is such a believable reality to me.

But Jesus IS a friend to the hurting. And if you'll let Him, He will take that time, along with all the mess that is your life and He will forgive and recreate every bit of it.

He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
   from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
   from all the earth.
            The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 25:8

"Be very careful then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, and redeeming the time, for these days are wicked." Ephesians 5:15-16

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