Wednesday, February 22, 2023

God of Accidents

God is more gracious with us than we are with ourselves. Or with each other.

One of the things that I love about God's law is how it makes space for the humanity in all of us. It does what we often can't (or won't) do in that it makes provision for the times when we're going to mess up without meaning to. God knows there is such a thing as an accident. 

Throughout His law, He keeps reminding us of this. There are offerings you bring when you've done something wrong, then there are offerings you bring when you have done something you didn't even mean to do that is wrong. There are offerings you bring because you know you've made a mistake somewhere, even if you haven't identified it yet, and there are offerings you bring when you become aware of the sin you've committed without even knowing it. There are cities that you can run to if an accident results in someone's death, so that you cannot be killed in revenge for something that you didn't intend to happen - the Scriptures say, for example, if you're chopping wood and the ax head flies off the handle and kills your friend. That's an accident, and God has made provision for that. 

It's not something we're very familiar with any more in our world: accidents. We believe that everyone is in control of their actions at every point in time, and any time anything at all happens, we immediately start looking for someone to blame. We look for someone to hold accountable. The ax head flies off its handle and kills your friend? It might not be your fault, but many in our world would be quick to say it's time to sue the ax manufacturer. Their product was clearly defective, and if they'd just done their job better, this wouldn't have happened. 

On one hand, maybe that's true. Maybe the ax was poorly made. In a disposable world that doesn't seem to take as much pride in the quality of its products, and with a workforce who has dubbed phrases like "quiet quitting" and "bare minimum Monday," it's easy to think that someone, somewhere, was negligent, and this is their fault. 

On the other hand, accidents do happen. Just by nature of our being human. We know this because we cause accidents in our own lives all the time. And sure, sometimes, we beat ourselves up over them. We think about the tiniest little things that we could have or should have done better, what we should have been paying more attention to, that might have prevented it, but deep down in our core, we know that we can't stop everything from happening. Sometimes, things. just. happen. Even with the utmost of diligence over our own lives, things still just happen. Accidents are real. 

God's Word reminds us of this. And not only that, but it reminds us of grace. God already knows that accidents happen, and He's already made a way for us through them. 

And if God has done this for us, don't you think it's time we do it for ourselves? And for others?  

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