Tag Archives: Selfishness

Love is…

Love is patient, love is kind…

Love is..., True Love 4, 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13. I won’t label it overused, but it has definitely become cliché’ in marriage ceremonies. Read within its context, Paul is hardly doing marriage counselling! The church at Corinth has revamped their definition of spirituality to be based upon individual talents. Those considered the most spiritual were the best at their trade, the most eloquent speakers, the wisest advisers, the most talented musicians; these people were considered the closest to God. (Does that sound eerily familiar with the modern church to anyone else?) Paul is not defining love to Corinth so that the boys know how to make the girls’ hearts melt or so that the girls know how they should expect a guy to treat them, he his blatantly rebuking Corinth for screwing up spirituality and totally rejecting what Jesus taught and died teaching.

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist in its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong-doing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Replace ‘love’ with your name in these verses. Does it describe you? Maybe a little?

Hate is impatient, hate is unkind, it is envious and proud; arrogant and rude. It insists in its own way, is irritable and resentful; rejoices in misfortune and is skeptical of truth. Hate bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing, only when it is convenient and benefits themselves.

Replace the ‘hate‘ with your name in this version of the passage. Does it sound more or less like you? I honestly do not expect anyone to admit, even to themselves, that they are more like the second version of verses 4-7 than the first. No one likes to admit their flaws, particularly those that impact other people (like your ability to love). If you are serious about loving well, give these descriptions of love and hate to someone close to you, let them tell you which best describes the love you’re putting out.

At the end of the day, love focuses on others, hate focuses on self. Where’s your focus?

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How Precious Did That Grace Appear

If we only conclude the problem is “out there”, we completely miss the concept of grace. The problem is always “in here.”

Jonah’s adventure is the gospel in literary form. Grace, fall from grace, consequences, anger, repentance, and the return to grace. In no way can I judge the heart of Jonah as he found himself washed up on a Mediterranean beach. What I do know, is that he accepted his mission and made his way to Nineveh. I imagine, from his retreat into exile that led to his three-day isolation, he still has some apprehension about this trip. Nineveh is the bully of the world at this point. Jonah would like nothing more than to see God eradicate this city from the earth, yet his mission is to lead Nineveh into God’s grace.

The literary tool heavily used in the recount of Jonah’s tale is one which expresses the largeness of the main players and the circumstances. God is a big. Nineveh’s sin was big. The storm was big. The fish was big.

Our semblance to Jonah is becoming increasingly clear. Though we are not all commissioned to preach repentance to a major city, we are all called to something bigger than ourselves.  The bigness of Jonah’s adventure is not emphasized by chance. Putting ourselves in Jonah’s shoes, the first thing we’ll discover is the bigness of our sin. No matter how pure a façade you put on or how good you think you are, things are always worse than they appear. You never find yourself immersed deeper into sin than when you see others as worse sinners than yourself. If we only conclude the problem is “out there”, we completely miss the concept of grace. The problem is always “in here”; your decisions, your motives, your attitude, your hypocrisy, your selfishness. Sin is no respecter of persons, selfishness freely invades the mind of every human being. Recognizing the presence and tactics of this enemy is the first step toward taking back your self-control.

Once we ourselves and our sin in perspective of its bigness, the massiveness of God’s grace is brought into focus. Grace is also no respecter of persons. God freely offers His grace to all humanity, regardless of their past. Grace is freely available through repentance, no questions asked. Even Nineveh, who blended extreme narcissism and extreme brutality into a way of life, had God’s graciousness liberally spread over them at the moment of their repentance.

After grace comes commission. Our responsibility is to choose grace through repentance, we then prove our honor by our service. Like His grace, God’s mission is enormous. The creator of all things is heartbroken over the selfish path His creation has taken. His mission is to re-create all of creation through the lens of perfect selflessness. Nineveh was not the only target in God’s mission for Jonah. Jonah, the sailors on their way to Tarshish, Nineveh, Israel, you, me; we are all targets in God’s mission objective.

Jonah made the mistake of thinking Nineveh’s destiny rested souly on his shoulders. He was just as self-consumed as Nineveh, believing it was only by his grace that God’s could be offered. After delivering a intentionally blunt and vague warning to Nineveh, the city did the thing that Jonah feared most; they mourned over their sin and repented so corporately that God spared the city.

The people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. Jonah 3:5

Nineveh’s outward expression of repentance is the image that stuck in my mind as Dean spoke this morning. To be so broken that weeping alone is insufficient for expressing your grief. Only by reducing your physical self to the lowest stature your culture recognizes, replacing your soft cotton clothes with a rough burlap sack and covering your head with dirt and ashes decomposing on the floor of a fire pit, there is little question of the integrity of one’s mourning at this point.

One of my medium’s of choice is charcoal. I enjoy the raw, natural feel of drawing with compressed ashes and using the natural oils in my fingertips to manipulate the hue and intensity of the charcoal color. I started today’s drawing by expressing the grief of Nineveh, covering the page with a heavy layer of vine charcoal. Next, I firmly pressed my open right hand onto the page, removing charcoal from the page and leaving an impression of my skin. With the hand defined, I darkened the area around the hand with compressed charcoal and blended it into the vine charcoal with my finger. Pressing my hand onto the page once more, I pulled off any compressed charcoal that spilled over into the white space and created this finished image.

How Precious Did That Grace Appear, Jonah 3

God’s grace is substantial enough to remove every blemish from your soul. His grace is bigger than your past. By His hand, He can make all things clean again.

You are Jonah, but your story is not about you. Look at Him.

“How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” – John Newton, ‘Amazing Grace’

Save Me From Myself

As we determined last week, the story of Jonah is the story of us all. We are each faced with forks in our road, moments where the decision you make forever impacts all those around you. Today, we shift our focus intrinsically and reveal what that means for you personally.

I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and He answered me;

out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas

and the flood surrounded me, all your waves and your billows passed over me.

Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight;

yet I shall look again on your holy temple.

The waters closed in over me to take my life;

the deep surrounded me, weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains.

I went down to the land whose bars closed on me forever;

yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,

and my prayer came to you in your holy temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols, forsake their hope of steadfast love.

But I, with the voice of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you;

what I have vowed, I will pay.

Salvation belongs to the Lord!

This was Jonah’s prayer as he breathed from the belly of the sea monster.

Sanctification, 1-12-14, Jonah 2

While the choices we make implement a butterfly effect that leaves unchangeable marks on the lives of everyone in its range, each decision leaves permanent marks on our individual lives as well. Though many leave their marks unnoticed, these scars forever map our journey through life. For better or worse, our choices trace the road we’ve chosen and serve as a guide to those who come after us.

Jonah’s decisions led him down paths where he was venerated and exalted by his peers to suffering and isolation where being cast into the sea was in the best interest of those closest to him. After running from the mission God set before him, Jonah found himself cowering beneath the deck of a fishing vessel while his new friends brave the wrath of the sea brought on by his disobedience. He finally concedes to God’s persistence and confesses his responsibility for the situation along with its remedy, removing him from the situation. His fellow sailors, quite reluctantly, launch Jonah into the raging water, all the time begging the God Jonah just tangibly introduced them to for mercy. Only then, when the environment created by his own choices becomes too overbearing, does Jonah cry out to God for help.

God provides the world with a fool-proof navigational system to guide us both day and night, which sailors on Jonah’s journey primarily relied upon. While the sun guides vessels during the day, patterns in the stars guide ships at night. Mediterranean sailors in 5th and 4th century BC used the constellation Cetus as one of their guides. Cetus, known today as ‘The Whale’, was once coined as ‘The Sea Monster’. Sailors who set off in the direction of Cetus were said to be “sailing into the belly of the beast”. The original Hebrew and Greek texts of Jonah use words which literally translate ‘great fish’ to describe the place Jonah found himself after he was thrown from the ship to Joppa.  4th century Greek translations change this word to Cetus. From that, William Tyndale gave us the English translation of ‘whale’ in Jonah’s adventure. Whether Jonah was swallowed by a literal fish or if we are reading sailors’ slang and Jonah miraculously survived three days on the open sea by God’s mercy, (having been tossed into “the belly of the beast”), I am not sure. Either interpretation makes Jonah’s story no less of a miracle, but I do find it interesting Jonah never thanks God for providing a fish to swallow him, but does express gratitude for protecting him from specific perils of the open sea (i.e. the waves and billows, the deep which surrounded him, the seaweed wrapping around his head).

Something else is missing from Jonah’s prayer, repentance. Not once does Jonah acknowledge his disobedience to God. His entire prayer is a cry for help to get him out of the mess he created. This arrogance is a place many of us will find ourselves, likely on more than one occasion. We become so invested in our own sin that, instead of taking responsibility for the circumstances we’ve created, we bathe in our refuse until the environment becomes too putrid to bear. Only then, whining out of our voluntary discomfort, do we cry out to God and beg for His intervention. In His unfathomable mercy, God will respond to our cries as a devoted father and pull us up from our filth, but his answer to our insatiable desire to return to the muck came centuries ago through His son, Jesus.

Jesus sacrificed himself so that we may find salvation though him, a way out of our cycle of failure and disappointment, but salvation is not a one-time deal. Salvation, embracing Jesus as your savior by committing your life to forever emulating his, is the kick-starter for your continual process of sanctification while you walk the earth. Christians refer to someone professing their faith in Jesus as “being saved”. I prefer the phrase quoted by Brennan Manning which was commonly used in the 1930’s, “I’ve been seized by a great affection”. Jesus died to save us from our sin, but he also rose so that we may be daily saved from ourselves.

I have been seized by a great affection so that I may show great affection. God loves in us what is not yet. We love in people what they already are: virtue, beauty, courage, and hence making our love self-interested and fragile. We must learn to love people as God does, empowering them to spread His love further.

May your choices map out a life spent in selfless love that inspires generations.

He Gives Sight to the Blind

image

We’re a little over half way through our year long study of the book of Matthew! Today we look at Matthew 16:1-28. Jesus is addressing three main groups within religious circles in this passage; Pharisees, Sadducees, and disciples. The traits these groups share are eerily similar to modern society, tell me if you see the correlation!
Pharisees are define themselves with self-righteousness. These are the guys who hold to strict legalism and create new laws to bend the old ones to their liking. Modern Pharisees vomit up barrage of condemnation followed up with a chorus of “Jesus Loves Me”, calling it evangelism.
Sadducees swing to the opposite extreme. Self-indulgence is the defining characteristic of this group. While Pharisees create new laws and follow them strictly, Sadducees “‘re-interpret” the old ones so they fit popular lifestyle trends. If it’s fun, if it feels good, it must be OK with God. After all, God’s number one job is ensuring our individual happiness. Sound familiar? Modern Sadducees turn Grace into grease. “Tolerance” is a popular buzz word for these guys. Their flaw is taking just my toleration to such an extreme that NOTHING is sin. If nothing is sin, everything is God. Our understanding of God depends on whatever shakes our coconut tree that particular day! The Bible is obsolete to a Sadducee.

While their dogmas are in direct opposition, Pharisees and Sadducees share a common trait at their fundamental core. Neither of the philosophies would survive without narcissism. Our physical eyes are designed to communicate one area of focus to our minds at a time. The same is true for our mind’s eye. Focusing on ourselves eliminates the ability to focus on anything else. Selfishness blinds us from the gospel. The disciples combat the selfish tendencies of human nature, which sets them apart from any other religious sect.

The mark of a disciple is complete self-denial. People who live as disciples walk with all eyes open. They value other’s lives and well being over their own and live having been freed from fear of death. For the disciple, death is not the end, it is the start of a new chapter of life. A community of Jesus disciples are obvious by their intimate knowledge of and relationship with Jesus. They don’t just know the Christianese lingo, they live it out in a way that you can see them coming. The legalists’ and grace greasers’ knees tremble when real disciples come into town. Why would anyone fear disciples? Communities of disciples share Jesus confidently. We don’t require political angles or scare tactics to teach the gospel, we simply live it out and attract people by our example. Finally, communities of disciples follow Jesus sacrificially. We give ourselves in service and share all that we own to an extreme that confuses the world. Through our giving we are blessed with resources that allow us to give more; this really blows the cynics’ minds!

Jesus gives sight to the blind. Not by changing our eyes, but by taking off our blindfolds.

Blessed

1-20-13, City on a Hill 1, Blessed

Matthew 5:1-12

Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed – ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy.

Notice the word ‘happy’ does not appear anywhere in the definition of ‘blessed’ above. Derived from the word ‘happenstance’, happiness is contingent upon extrinsic variables. Our circumstance determines our level of happiness, so if our circumstances are dire, then we cannot be happy (or so we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe). Blessedness is intrinsically motivated. Our level of blessedness is reflected in our gratitude for life (ultimate well-being) and the ability to be joyful in any circumstance. Followers of Jesus learn the secret to joy is not to hoard it, but to give it. Leading another soul to experience joy is an inescapably joyful experience for the one leading! The joy you experience is a direct measure of the joy you bring into the lives of others. Let’s break down these declarations of blessedness from Jesus’s most famous oration into real-world situations:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Pride is a characteristic unbecoming to all who wear it. Pride is often the attitude the bible references when you read of someone being ‘rich’. To enter heaven, one must replace pride with humility.

Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.

Human nature defaults to sympathy in the presence of sadness. Those who are sad are blessed through empathy from others.

Blessed are those who are meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness is strength under control, another reference to humility. When the prideful have fallen from their pedestals, the strong who controlled themselves are who the people look to for leadership.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

God will not withhold righteousness from anyone who desires to embrace it.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Pit this statement against the ‘judge not lest you be judged’ verse we’d much prefer to regurgitate. People will be as merciful to you as you are to them.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

No one is entirely pure in their heart. Everyone carries with them a sinful nature that is manifested through selfish motivation. Through humility, we can begin to purify our hearts. This principle echos the first, reminding us of the importance of humility and self-control.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be sons of God.

This line if often reduced to a political statement. Political activism is not a form of peacemaking. Can activism inspire peace in tense political situations, sure. The peacemaker Jesus is referring to is one who creates peace at a more personal level, leading other souls to peace with themselves and peace with God. The only way to lead someone to peace with God is through proclaiming the gospel. Peacemakers of this caliber are sons of God because they literally reflect the very mind of God; peace.

As followers of Jesus, Christians are literal agents of reconciliation within their communities. Wielding mercy and the gospel as our weapons of choice, we fight for peace in our circle of influence by taking advantage of opportunities to show others mercy and taking time to personally share the gospel. Mercy and the gospel must be used in conjunction with each other. Sharing the gospel without showing mercy leads to bigotry, counter-productive to inspiring peace and the antithesis to the gospel of Jesus. Mercy without the gospel is the root of  modern-day social justice. What’s wrong with social justice you may ask? In theory, social justice is at the root of Jesus’s ministry; peace and equality among his people. In action (at least in modern terms) social justice is a band-aid that enables irresponsibility and conditions people to dependency.  One cannot follow the gospel of Christ without also taking full responsibility for every decision. Social justice paired with the gospel requires those being justified (and those doing the justifying) to accept responsibility to sustain their justified state.

Now for the last two, I’ll clump them together.

Blessed are those (you) who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for their’s (your’s) is the kingdom of heaven.

Back the truck up here. I’m bless for being slandered (insignificant in comparison to other forms of persecution) and should accept it with joy?! Pride. Once again, pride is juxtaposed with humility. If you truly are humble, it won’t matter what people say about you because you understand your spiritually broken state. On some level, even outright lies could be conceivably accurate. Pride responds to persecution with defense, humility finds joy in celebrating God’s love for us despite our nature.

Proclaiming the gospel opens the door for persecution, but a blessed heart cannot contain the mercy it’s been given.

May you be blessed.

The Eight Portraits of Joseph

Joseph, adored by his father, despised by his brothers, owned by his enemies, employed by a foreign king, then reunited with his family – it’s not about you.

Week 4 of It’s Not About You took us back into Genesis to study the life story of a man that mimics Jesus himself, Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph. The message today actually inspired two images, both requiring color in order to communicate properly. Instead of posting the concept drawings and notes I made during worship, I created a digital drawing of each image to translate what went on in my head.

8 Portraits of Joseph - watermarked

The Eight Portraits of Joseph

The core of Joseph’s life progresses through eight key stages, eight separate chapters of a life, eight portraits of a man.  As Ray was teaching us about each stage of Joseph’s life, I spent time contemplating on the emotional and physical environment where Joseph found himself, settling on a color to adequately represent that stage.

Portrait 1: The Favorite Son 

Portrait one is yellow; bright, warm and comforting. As Joseph’s story begins, he is the favored son by his father, Jacob (that’s Jacob that coerced his father, Issac, into giving him the birth rights due to his older brother, Esau. Yeah, that Jacob). Joseph’s in a pretty good place. As a sign of his esteem, Jacob has an elaborate coat made for Jacob, the garment we know as the “coat of many colors” (subtly alluded to in the overall image). All things considered, Joseph has it made.

Portrait 2: The Despised Brother

Portrait two is a drab, dark green; symbolizing discontent and envy. Joseph is not an only child. Naturally, his siblings do not appreciate the favoritism he’s receiving from their father, Jacob. The flashy coat was the last straw in a long line of offenses. With Judah instigating the deal, Joseph’s brothers devise a plan to remove him from the equation and earn their father’s favor by default. Joseph will be sold into slavery, his coat strategically torn and dipped in an animal’s blood, and the trail covered by explaining how Joseph was torn to shreds by wild animals to their father. The plan seemed impeccable.

Portrait 3: Enslaved

Portrait three is a drab, dark green; drab to make you taste the awkwardness experienced by Joseph’s brothers, green to symbolize the envy that awkwardness spawned. Judah and his brother’s observed a caravan of Ishmaelites passing through on their way to Egypt and chose to capitalize on an opportunity to get rid of Joseph without carrying the guilt that would follow murder. For twenty shekels of silver (about $228 USD in today’s conversion rate), life as Joseph knew it was over. He became legal property to a band of foreign traders. Jacob was destroyed at learning of the “death” of his beloved Joseph, to the wrath of wild animals, as his other sons re-told the scene.

Portrait 4: The Pure Servant

Through every stage of Joseph’s life, his constant was purity. Purity in body and in spirit in complete devotion to his God. Pure white, the universal symbol of purity, the fourth portrait of Joseph.

Upon reaching Egypt, Joseph’s ownership changed hands; the Ishmaelites sold him to the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards, Potiphar. Joseph, a hunk in modern vernacular, drew the eye of Potiphar’s wife. She immersed herself in the pursuit of Joseph’s body, taking control of a moment when her husband was absent to seduce the object of her lust. The scenario did not play out with Joseph becoming Mrs. Potipher’s Mr. Grey, like she had hoped. Joseph ran, as his master’s wife literally tore the clothes off his body! Enraged by the rejection she’d experienced, Potipher’s wife created a scene using Joseph’s clothes, accusing Joseph of attempting to rape her and condemning him to prison.

Portrait 5: The Slandered Prisoner

As a result of his devotion to purity, Joseph was imprisoned in, what I imagine as a dank, dirty environment. Dusty, blue-grey was the only color I imagined to represent the coldness Joseph must have felt in this chapter of his story.

Joseph’s life and legal status changes once again, he is now property of the Egyptian government, as an inmate. While serving his time, some of the pharaoh’s servants are imprisoned with him. Joseph brings out one of his innate big guns, and interprets the dreams of the two servants; a cup bearer and a baker. The dreams become reality, as Joseph predicted, and the cup bearer was restored to his position, beginning to create a path for Joseph into the royal court.

Portrait 6: The Celebrated Leader

Purple, the rarest, most expensive dye in Joseph’s culture; obtainable only by royalty. Now a member of the royal court, Joseph’s sixth portrait is purple, but not free of some subtle dark streaks to remind him of his past.

Despite being forgotten by the restored chief cup bearer, Joseph receives an opportunity to interpret a dream for the Pharaoh himself. His successful interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream earned him a get out of jail free card, straight into the Pharaoh’s employment, as governor over Egypt, no less. Distributing food in Egypt, during the seven-year famine predicted through Pharaoh’s dream by Joseph, becomes a responsibility of the governor and leads into the next portrait.

Portrait 7: The Brother Who Restores

The color for portrait seven didn’t come quite as easily as the others, how can a color represent the emotional release of restoration on its own? I thought further about what Joseph restored and the catalyst for its restoration. He restored his family through food distribution. Red and yellow are colors proven to inspire hunger (hence major fast food chains utilize them in the marketing designs), what color results from combining red and yellow? Orange. To represent the dirtiness of restoring a broken family, particularly this family, streaks of brown flood the orange hue.

As Joseph is distributing food in Egypt, familiar faces approach from the line of families praying for food; the faces of his brothers. Joseph is face with a choice, given his position. Feed the men who are his family by blood, or condemn the men to sold him into slavery and completely altered the course of his life to certain starvation by denying them the rations they wait for. His presence unbeknownst to his brothers, they approach and reach for their portion. Joseph stops them and accuses them of being foreign spies and locks them up for three days, despite their denial of any conspiracy. Joseph has a plan.

Portrait 8: The Reunited Son

Joseph’s story now comes full circle, back into the arms of his father Jacob along with the rest of his family. To symbolize this, the final portrait mirrors portrait one, the same warm yellow.

At the end of the three day stent in the Egyptian prison, Joseph reveals his identity and offers a deal to his brothers. Return home with enough food to feed their families, but leave the youngest brother behind. Confess to Jacob all that has happened and return for both members of their family.

These eight portraits of Joseph’s life are a foreshadowing of another’s, Jesus. From his rightful place at his father’s side, to despised by his brothers, sold into  captivity, brutalized despite his purity, justified his accusers by his mercy, and now back at the right hand of his father.

What else can we learn from Joseph’s ordeal besides the imagery predicting Jesus? God is sovereign, no matter your situation. We have a responsibility to perform the tasks God directs us toward, but his sovereignty follows the mission through to completion, even when we drop the ball. Judah was the instigator of Joseph’s plight. Jesus is a direct ancestor of Judah. Despite Judah’s envy and poor decision-making, God’s son was born out of his blood line. God’s sovereignty is balanced with our responsibility.

Sovereignty Balanced With Responsibility - watermarked

The background of this image is a deep, heavy blue which reflects the weight of our personal responsibility. Our success or failure at fulfilling our responsibility can bring us pleasure or it can result in pain. Judah’s irresponsibility brought with it pain; first for Joseph, then for himself. God’s sovereignty opened the doors for his ultimate mission, delivering the Messiah, to succeed through Judah despite his failure with Joseph. God’s providence is the only foundation we have for experiencing pain in life. As we learned during week one, God doesn’t owe us an explanation, even for our pain.

God’s sovereignty flows like a waterfall over our responsibility. The flow separates at the top of the image, curling back together as it splashes against the bottom of the page. Turning the image upside down reveals a heart shape forming over our responsibility. Further inspection of the heart reveals the updraft of the waterfall of sovereignty impedes on the center of the heart, breaking it in half. Like any good parent, it pains God when a child fails and must experience the consequences of their actions. With greater ability than any other parent, God’s sovereignty allows an ultimate goal to be accomplished through the consequential pain.