Better Than a Fresh Start or a Chance to Redeem Ourselves

The allegations of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and predatory behavior keep pouring in. It doesn't seem it will slow down anytime soon. 

Photo by Thomas Hawk on  Flickr

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

It's leading to all kinds of good conversations.

There are a lot of conversations about the direct and the ripple effects of some people's bad behavior, especially people with power. And about justice because of those effects. No one is saying, "Just forgive these perpetrators."

No one is saying to just forgive because we know deep in our hearts that to just forgive is not enough or really even possible. To just forgive is what we ask for when we speak about sin in general terms or about our sins, but we know better when we see sin destroying or terrorizing real people.  

But there are more and more conversations about what to do with these men who have behaved badly--is there any hope for a fresh start? 

I heard it from a feminist activist in an interview on NPR. Her take was something like, 'Yeah, a lot of men behave badly, and I'm concerned that there will be much judgment without a chance for them to redeem themselves.' This is someone who can appreciate the real life, devasting effects of their behavior. 

This weekend's passage highlights one of the most important themes in Scripture that relates to fresh starts and redemption.

Ezekiel 37 is likely the most familiar passage in Ezekiel. In a vision, Ezekiel is taken to a valley of dry human bones, and God tells him to preach to the bones!

The dry bones represent Israel in exile. There is no life left in God's people. They even describe themselves as dry bones, cut off from God.  

God speaks to Ezekiel as he walks among the bones, and the message is about something more than a fresh start or about giving Isreal a chance to redeem themselves.

There is no fresh start. Israel can't redeem themselves.

But there is hope. A great and awesome hope. It's contained in one very important but rarely used theological term and idea that makes redemption possible. 

Their hope is our hope. 

We have all behaved badly. We all wish for a fresh start and redemption. 

Is there a friend who, like you, needs to hear about something better and greater than a fresh start or a chance to redeem ourselves? Seriously, can you think of one person? How about inviting them? Send them this link.