The Lord is not a God that enjoys punishment. No parent enjoys punishing their children. It's not the fun part of the job. But, just as parents will teach their children, so will God teach us. But, the Lord says through Ezekiel today, He longs to forgive. He longs to welcome people back. He longs for relationships to be restored. He doesn't want to see anyone far away from Him or from those that love them.
And God will do all that He can do to make sure these relationships are restored. He will do all that He can do to make sure that we are right with Him, and with each other. We have to do our part as well though. God will do all He can do to make it possible. We just have to do our part; make our step; forgive, love and ask forgiveness. God desires these life giving relationships; with Him and with each other. May we know the life that comes from these relationships.
New Testament Lesson
Jesus Christ makes intercessions for each of us. He sits at the right hand of the Father, pulling for us right now; praying for us, cheering for us. He loves and wants to see us keep going. CS Lewis said "The sin is not in the falling down, the sin is not in the getting back up." We are each going to fall down. We are each going to make mistakes. We are each going to do dumb things.
But when we do, may we find the grace of God that allows to get up, dust ourselves off, and keep going!
When we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritans were not liked by the people of Jesus' day. They were consider inferior, they were considered not worthy; they were considered less than. And Jesus holds one up to be a hero today.
Never forget that God can use anyone. Never forget that we are all made in God's image. Never forget that God loves each of us. Even those folks we don't like; that we don't think are as good as us; those folks that we just don't want to be around.
God loves them too. And God will use them. And God wants us to love them. Remember, God can and will use anyone for His good and for His purpose.