The redemption network

MICHAEL J. BROOKS / Guest Columnist

Many of us remember the three networks we had on television in the olden days. Now the television universe has expanded to encompass hundreds of channels, though it’s hard to imagine anyone really needing this many!

I had satellite radio in a car several years ago. Someone asked me how many of the 150 channels I listened to. I’d not thought of it before, but I counted only two or three channels in my favorites list.

Nevertheless, a friend recommended a different TV news channel to me. I’ve watched a bit lately and have been intrigued by several of the commentators and guests. One anchor looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember the details. Then I remembered the story of his being dismissed from another network. Another contributor or two had experienced personal scandals and several had been fired from presidential administrations. And they interviewed a former state official who had faced indictment.

I remarked to my wife that this must be the redemption network!

Of course, I began to think about this channel being a model for the church.

The evangelical church believes God invites us to have a relationship with him. He’s a merciful God who offers to forgive us of all the wrong we’ve ever done. Then we begin partnership with him to remake our lives unto his honor. He gives us his Spirit and directs us to live lives of obedience.

But along the way we all suffer the same fate. Our rebellious inner nature compels us to choose wrongly and rebel against God’s will. In a word, we sin.

I’ve often suggested to our congregation that we find camaraderie in scripture since all its major characters, save one, failed God. The Bible is in no way a display case for human goodness. Scripture treats human failure honestly and forthrightly. There is a very good reason for this. God wants us to know that his mercy continues with us as it did for them. Thus we come to him often seeking restoration.

The church cooperates with God when we offer grace to people who fail.

Certainly there are always those who seem to relish in reminding us we messed up. We read recently about a college student called to task for a teenage video posting in which she said something stupid. The college quickly asked her to withdraw. Yes, it was unwise to say what she did and record it, but as George W. Bush used to remind us, “When I was young and foolish, I was young and foolish.”

Though the university hasn’t yet offered redemption, the church must be the redemption network offering grace to those who seek forgiveness.

People are too valuable to waste.