The ancient Greek legend of Prometheus, one of the gods who sided with Zeus in the rebellion of the Titans, fascinates historians and art lovers to this day. The abridged version is that Prometheus was punished by Zeus for giving his creation, humans, fire, so that they would have a chance of survival in this newly created earth. Prometheus was chained to a rock on a high cliff where an eagle would eat out his intestines, stomach, liver, etc. every day into eternity. Then miraculously, Prometheus’ innards would grow back overnight, only to be devoured again once the following day. This was Prometheus’ punishment for disobedience.
In our era we dain to punish anyone for wrong-doing. (Excepting hardened criminals.) The very definition of “wrong-doing” is constantly in flux, as is any final word on right or wrong. Outside governmental, territorial, and local law there is little prescription to determine right from wrong, or good from evil. Those definers have given way to societal acceptability, majority rule, and the prevalent wave of moral opinion. How dare anyone judge my personal preferences in business practices, moral absolutes (or not), ethical decisions, or sexual/sexuality definitions!?! What’s true for me may not be true for you; but that doesn’t make it any less-true—for me.
Thus, in our homes, our schools, and in our courts, punishment comes in second to last, just short of the death penalty. This position stems from the belief that people are basically good. Given the choice between doing what it right for the good of the many, versus doing what is best for themselves, they will do what is best for society. Read any book on World History and you will come to a somewhat different conclusion. Punishment is just when it is rightfully deserved. The determiners of justice, in our society, are “a jury of our peers.” They are also our parents, our classmates, and those with whom share work responsibilities. Not measuring up is one thing; crossing the lines of trust and propriety are quite another.
When, throughout your life, have you deserved punishment for wrong-doing and did not receive it. If this happens enough you will come to believe that you can get away with anything. You cannot. Justice and Punishment always catch up. Believe it.
So why is it that a Holy God puts up with us!?! If any species on this planet has defied Him consistently, it is us. Why has the axe not fallen on our necks every day? What is He waiting for!?!
Not, mind you, without genuine remorse for deeds done— or left undone. Neither without a change of life, or at the least, the desire to live differently, more honorably, before God and men, with a sense of humbleness for our forgiveness.
So if you do not want to have your guts eating away at you day after day, or being gnawed on by a really large bird, maybe it’s time you owned up to the punishment you rightly deserve—and pray for the forgiveness you surely do not deserve. You might be surprised how ready other people, and God, are to set things right. You just have to do your part too.
Have a nice week,