Punched by Truth
"It’s blasphemy to think God is punishing you.” The first time my pastor said it I misheard him. I thought he said punching. I had zoned out, so my mind picked the parts it could relate to and pieced together what I believed to be a sufficient quip. I heard: God is punching you. Sounds about right, I thought. It didn’t make much difference, anyway—punching, punishing—either way I was convinced God was unleashing His wrath on my life—serving me blow after devastating blow.
But my pastor repeated himself—significantly louder this time (he was yelling, actually), “It’s blasphemy to think God is punishing you.” And that time it sunk in. My brain caught up, and the clarity overwhelmed me. I’d been on the ropes for a while, but now I had nothing left to fight with. He’d served me a knockout hook. He’d punched me with truth.
Blasphemy. It was blasphemy. I was a blasphemer.
Yes, there are consequences for sin. Yes, sometimes they hurt. And sometimes, bad things happen that we don’t understand. But no matter what—no matter how hard or horrific or sad life is—my circumstances are not a punishment from God. The world is broken, but God’s love isn’t. He is love.
Yes, God is also just. Yes, a just God doesn’t ignore sin. But God’s justice was fulfilled in Jesus. Punishment taken. Debt paid. It is finished means it’s done. Through. It won’t be revisited, revised, or reevaluated. Ever.
And that was my pastor’s point. To think that God is punishing me for a sin He already rebuked His Son for is blasphemy. It’s simply not true. It’s like calling God a bully.
For the record, I don’t think God is a bully.
In fact—none of this was new to me. I’ve always known that Christ died to take the punishment for my sins. But twenty-eight years into this whole Jesus thing the finality of that concept is only starting to sink in. I’m starting to actually experience the full impact of this truth. Beyond knowing it, I’m beginning to live it.
Truth is like that sometimes. It can float through a hazy in-between—being known without necessarily being experienced. Truth needs space. A place to land. A place to really nestle in. And only then, after it lays down actual roots in your life, will it blossom and bear fruit. That’s when truth becomes more than simply knowing a fact.
So what about you? Are there any areas in your life where you need to make room for truth? Real truth. Punched-in-the-gut truth. Feel-it-deep-down-in-your-soul-and-live-it truth? If so, stop. Take time to move beyond knowing a fact and do the hard work of creating space. Let truth land, take root, and grow.
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