Skip to main content

Mistakes, consequences and forgiveness

For one month and 29 days now, a damaged oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has been pouring oil into the sea, polluting the water. On Wednesday, BP’s boss Tony Hayward agreed to pay a minimum of $20 billion into a compensation fund for the victims of the oil spill. And, after a number of failed attempts to contain and stemming the huge flow, BP’s latest containment device finally seems to be making a difference. But for many, it’s simply too little, too late.

In amongst all the hysteria, speculation and confusion about who said what to who, and who is responsible for what, it strikes me that there’s a rather important question that’s not really being addressed, either by the media or by our governments.

That is, How do we handle notions of responsibility in a compensation culture?

In this case, just as with many situations where a beautiful relationship has gone belly-up, the offended party (pretty much the entire USA in this case) is eager to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the offender (BP) and demand reparation. And, indeed, what’s wrong with wanting to see things put right? What’s wrong with wanting people to somehow pay for the harm that they have done to us?

But how do we cope when it’s clear that things will not be as perfect as they were before a tragedy? The water will never be as clear or as clean, those heading to the beach will have to make new plans, and gulf coast wildlife will be scarcer.

No matter what BP do now, they can’t turn back the clock and undo the mistakes they made, and I can’t help but imagine how much Mr Hayward must want to (almost literally) wipe the slate clean. There’s only one who can truly do that – God, who through Christ forgives our sins and lets them fade forever from his mind. But that doesn’t mean that our actions don’t matter - forgiven or unforgiven, our mistakes come with consequences. Like BP, we may have to pay a financial price, for others it can mean a term in jail or the premature ending of a relationship.

But we will never lose God – he sticks to us like glue, and he can help us to weave a new path through the mess we’ve made and out the other side. It might not be the path we planned but we won’t be walking it alone, and we can trust that one day, God’s promises to us will be fulfilled. At the end of the Bible, the one seated on the heavenly throne says ‘See, I’m making all things new!’ (Revelation 21:5).

So we can we can be confident that one day things will be as good as new - the waters will run clear, creation’s original plans will be realized, and life will flourish in abundance.

Article by:

Anna Drew, Lead Media Officer for the Methodist Church in Britain.


Popular posts from this blog

When God turns a deaf ear on prayers

Does God always hear people’s prayers, or do some pray in vain thinking that God hears them, when in reality He chooses to turn a deaf hear to their cries? Some may perhaps have a notion that all prayers are worthy, and God being who He is is by nature willing to listen and hear their prayers delightfully. They entertain the notion that it is their birth right for God to listen to their prayers and answer them accordingly. Also, there are some who come before the presence of the Lord with severe doubts, defeated by the devils whisper that they are such an unworthy soul that for them to lift up their cries to the Lord is an abomination. They are mute by their own wickedness, depressed and thus fail to pray.

What does the scripture say about God turning a deaf hear to prayers? It is to be said that God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer as He sees fit. He is altogether happy and never backed into a corner, God always does whatever He pleases for He is free to do as He wills…

What does it mean to live a godly life?

If you ever asked yourself the question, what does it mean to live a godly life? and if your not exactly sure what living a godly life involves, this extract taking from Charles Seet book 'A Christian in a non-Christian world' provides ample guidance on just what to do.

Now it is worth asking the question then, 'What does it mean to live godly?' It does not mean that we are just to confine ourselves within a set of rules and regulations. Some people reduce godly living to a list of 'do’s and don'ts.' But the meaning of godly living goes far deeper than that.

Godly living means living in the manner that God wants us to live. It means having the same feelings, attitudes and heart's desires that God has. It means that we love the things that God loves, care for the things that God cares for, and dislike those things which He dislikes. And since God loves righteousness, a godly person also loves righteousness. Since God hates sin, a godly person also hates …

Women of the Bible: Adah and Zillah

The Sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the fall of humanity. Every generation after them became wicked and that is why scripture affirms, ‘that there is no one righteous, no, not even one.’ Mankind became enslave to the passions of its flesh, its desires became its ruler and men followed the natural dictates of their hearts; and were it not for Sovereign grace, the race of men would now only be read of by angels in the library of extinct creatures. Adam and Eve witnessed the consequences of their sin in the death of their beloved son, Abel, by the hands of Cain who murdered his brother in anger and was thus sent away from the presence of God. My dear sisters, sin is not only sin when it is found in its extremes, sin is also sin in its subtlety and vanity. Sin is sin when one's affection is set on another and not on God, when one lives to please a thing or a being which is not God; this is also sin.
This becomes especially evident in the lives of Adah and Zillah the wives of Lamech. Th…