I recently heard a message about repentance that broke my heart. I do not doubt the preacher's good intentions, but his preaching made me so uncomfortable that I almost walked out of the church before the end of the service. In his sermon, this man of God taught his congregation that the sinking of the Titanic, 911 in the United States, and the disasters occurring around the world at this time were God's judgments.
Watching the news about the horrific fire that destroyed the town of Lahaina on Maui, the first thing that came to mind was that probably many people would blame God for such devastation or, like the pastor I heard preaching about repentance, might think that the fire was God's punishment for the sins of the victims.
My friends, Earth would be roasted if God judged people for their sins now. Those who think natural disasters are God's punishment do not know God or His Word well. Romans 5:20 tells us, "God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people increasingly sinned, God's wonderful grace became more abundant."
God is not punishing anyone now. He is extending grace to all of us. Most of the disasters we face today do not result from God's wrath against us. They are the result of the mismanagement of our planet. When we blame God for natural disasters, we do what Adam did when he blamed God for his actions.
When God asked Adam what he had done after he sinned, Adam replied, "The woman you gave me made me do it." I do not doubt that some of the disasters we face today are the result of sin, but they are by no means the result of God's wrath.
In the same way that a person, who, after having smoked his whole life, gets lung cancer, should not blame God for his disease; we cannot blame God for global warming. My friends, God gave the Earth to us to manage. After overusing and abusing its resources, it makes sense that our planet is in such bad shape.
The day will come when God will judge men for their sins, but that day has not yet arrived. God's grace to man will eventually run out, but it has not yet. The Bible tells us that grace wins hands down every day when it comes to sin versus grace. There is still time for sinners to repent.
Let us preach repentance. Repentance is necessary because there is no forgiveness of sins without it. Repentance is necessary because the wages of sin are eventually death. Repentance is necessary because God loves His children, and they are disconnected from God unless they repent. Still, let us offer repentance as Christ did. Instead of throwing stones at sinners in their lowest moments, let us love them enough to tell them, now go and sin no more.