Photo by pdesigner.com
I don’t know how many of you have been following the news this past week, but there are a lot of global things going on right now. Recently, the United Nations (U.N.) had their 61st General Assembly session in NYC. Not only was this meeting a bit tense due to all the political issues around the world, but I am still trying to understand what good came out of it or will come out of it in the future.
The United Nations was started in 1945 after World War II. This international organization’s mission and goals were clear – after all the devastation of WWII, the U.N. was established to bring nations together on common ground and dialogue in order to prevent any future wars. The premise was that if countries would cooperate on common international laws and international issues such as economic development and human rights, then we would have the world peace that we so desperately desire.
But with all due respect to the U.N. and the people who are trying to reach global peace, the U.N. has been very ineffective. In fact, when you look at their track record, you will notice a lot of resolutions that got passed but they were never really enforced. This is the problem with a lot of things in life. If you end up barking really loud but do not follow up with action or punishment, then you will lose your authority and your ability to lead.
With the recent discovery of Iran’s secret uranium enrichment facility, it was an embarrassing moment for all the people who believed that diplomatic efforts would help Iran disarm their nuclear pursuits. More importantly, it revealed the character of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On Friday at the U.N. General Assembly, Ahmadinejad vehemently denied that there was a secret nuclear site in his country. He even went as far as to say that some of the global powers would regret their accusation of Iran hiding a nuclear facility. But we discovered through satellite photograph that he lied.
What is more troubling is that Iran has recently test-fired two short-range missiles that have the capability of reaching Israel and various U.S. targets in the Gulf region.
The thought that came to my mind is – when do we cease diplomatic talks and approaches and start taking some hard measures? Diplomatic talks only work when both sides are trying to come to some agreement. But when one side is already determined to accomplish something and defy the efforts of the other side, all the diplomatic talks will not help.
Then I started to think about God’s dealings with us.
How many times has God shown grace and patience with us? He has “diplomatically reasoned” with us by revealing how much He loves us and cares for us. God has also refrained from delivering His wrath many times throughout our disobedience. He has even poured out His favor when we least deserved it. God is constantly trying to bring us back. In fact, His kindness should lead us towards repentance (Ro 2:4). But does it?
How long will His patience with us last? I guess every day that passes by, it is a reminder of His unlimited grace and mercy.
Even with this understanding, we cannot forget about Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus. Every time when God relented and there was relief, Pharaoh would harden his heart and would not listen (Ex 8:15). Then we see God fully “unloading” his judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt for not allowing God’s people to be released. But the quandary appears in Ex 10:1 when God tells Moses, “For I have hardened his heart.” Can God really do that? Does God harden people’s hearts? Shouldn’t God then be culpable for the lack of obedience in people?
Theologians have always argued that when a person is already determined to disobey and willfully go against God’s will, even after many warnings, then God willingly gives them over to their decisions. So the hardening of one’s heart is a decision that the person has made and God is just confirming what is already decided upon by the person.
This is when we realize that mercy always triumphs over judgment (Jas 2:13).
We need more of God’s mercy.
I am wondering in what ways is God trying to diplomatically to speak to us?