By Rev. Arnel Tan
“Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair. “
-Proverbs 29:1 NLT
These wise words from the book of Proverbs serve also as a timely warning for those who have cheapened the grace of God as a license to commit sin. We need to transcend our biases so we can see the real intention of the Scripture and to wisely apply its principles into our daily grind. When we are the culprit we seek grace and forgiveness, when we are the victims we switch mode from grace to stern application of justice. I think the balance is achieved when we learn to enjoy grace in the fear of the Lord!
Remember, though God in His grace has allowed us many chances to recover from our fallings and failings, He does not erase the damage or consequences of our choices. Grace equips as to move on as we pay the hard and long consequences of our compromise. In other words while we are rebuked by God let us not harden our hearts. Let’s pay immediate attention and deliberately bring all our weakness to God in prayer. As Alan Redpath would say, “drown it in prayer” and we have a greater chance to enjoy God’s best than spend the rest of our lives paying the consequences.
Consider the word “whoever.” What it really means is that the passage covers anybody regardless of rank or race or spiritual records. We are all included in the possibility of being stubborn and hard or numb. If any body can be in the list of the “whoevers”, it also follows that we can suffer the stage by which we are beyond repair. Honestly, I don’t know the details of being beyond repair. But deep within I can sense an abyss of hopelessness and see the horror of having an unbroken heart. Beyond repair may mean God leaving you to your self, just waiting for the time for you to self destruct, with no sense of conviction and no desire for repentance.
Words are not enough to describe the misery of a life left alone to the custody of self. Here we find no chance at all to change. It’s a different kind of death, something sacred died and it is only a matter of time before the body is buried. All hope for recovery is snuffed out. We can only bow low before God and ask for mercy that God won’t allow us to reach this invisible line of provoking God. Aware of my tendency to destroy myself, I can only cry for grace and more grace that I may still sense God’s presence and delight in His discipline. It’s good to know that, when we can still feel the pain of God’s rebuke and can still cry in brokenness, bowing down in repentance, that we have not cross the line yet. Praise God when we can still feel the piercing of His words and still melt in the fire of his Presence. Hallelujah we are not yet beyond repair!
“Lord my eyes can’t see the line You have drawn before I can be beyond repair. Lord don’t allow me to even come close to that line! Have mercy Jesus. Amen”
Rev. Arnel Tan is the Senior Pastor of Davao Chinese Baptist Church and station manager of DXFE-Davao