Excerpted from Leaving and Finding Jesus / Chapter Seven: Retribution

I interviewed William Paul Young, author of The Shack, a couple of years ago. During the conversation, he asserted, “Trust is my throughline.” I loved the statement. It resonated deeply.

A “throughline” is a central theme on which a writer focuses, holding the whole piece together.

Trust is the central theme of life here on earth. Trust is our throughline and the evidence of heaven coming to earth. Trust is eternal life in the ever-present now. Trust is a Triune God perfectly revealed in the God-Man, Jesus. Trust is discovered in Jesus’ prayer that we would know union as He did—first with Him, our heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit; then with each other.

Trust is defined in Jesus’ rebuke of Peter’s swung sword and revealed at a cross through the sovereignty of Greater Love.  1

Trust is the goal for every human interaction on this often broken and divided planet, and, because it is an often broken and divided planet, trust is our most valuable commodity. And it is a commodity: it’s both earned and traded.

I’ll say it again. Trust is earned through faithfulness over time by those who lay down their lives. When it comes to this world, without trust, there is no eternal life, no heaven on earth, no family of God—only corporations, institutions, and systems for the purpose of control and power grabs.

Trust looks like Jesus. He earned our trust. He laid down His life to prove it. On His way to the cross, a Triune God rebuked the violence of Peter’s sword and gave His very life so we could fully and truly trust.

No one can experience union without trust, and only Greater Love can be fully trusted. Jesus is where trust can be placed, He is what trust looks like, and how trust works. Outside of the model Jesus gave us on a cross, reconciling the cosmos, not counting our divisions against us, trust is fleeting.

And, sadly, when it comes to much of the church today, trust is fleeting. Why? Because, instead of revealing God’s measurelessly reconciling love, we have become obsessed with retribution.

Consequently, like my angry Christian friend, much of the church doesn’t seem to understand how trust works. Trust can’t be coerced, controlled, pressured, compelled, manipulated, or forced. There is no arm twisting, shaming, or condemning, no fear of retribution or punishment. Trust is only available through participating in mutual, other-centered, self-giving love.

Trust is earned through faithfulness, demonstrated over time, by those who lay down their lives. Period.

And trust is lost when love is presented through the faithless hypocrisy of a good Father who looked away, a punishing God who throws spears, a condemning God who swings swords, and a people who do the same.

Thankfully, Jesus took the trust-compromising, retributive God lens to the cross. God in Christ stepped inside the cruel and fallen belief of retribution and blew up the whole thing. Cruciform love reconciled the world. Then, He rose from the grave, met Peter on a beach, reconciled him in love, and has been building His church upon the Rock of reconciling love ever since.

And only upon this Cornerstone can the church be trusted to feed His Sheep.

1 John 17:21

This article is excerpted from my book, Leaving and Finding Jesus
Order Now At AMAZON.COM

Jason Clark is a bestselling storyteller who writes to reveal the transforming kindness of the love of God. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE…

BRIAN ZAHND / WHEN EVERYTHING’S ON FIRE

“I felt like the Jesus I knew deserved a better Christianity than the Christianity I knew.” In this podcast, Zahnd shares about the Christian faith in alignment with Jesus and the journey he’s taken in discovering this good news! De- and reconstruction, a non-violent, non-retributive God who is reconciling the world to Himself, hermeneutics, hell, and the wonder of church deep and wide, in this conversation, the guys discuss a much richer, wider faith. The guys dive into Brian’s book, “When Everything’s on Fire,” a conversation that invites us to move beyond the crisis of faith toward the journey of reconstruction.

WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN / with DEREK TURNER

He came and he walked beside us, He said, “I will never leave you, I will never forsake you; you are not alone, you belong.” When we discover this love, we are transformed and we begin to love like He does. On Palm Sunday Derek speaks about the cross and how we are invited to live surrendered and sure in love. He talks about laying down our loves, loving our enemies, and seeing the kingdom come.

BISHOP JAMIE ENGLEHART / MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS

Lucifer and the devil, God, and control, union vs. separation, awakening to Light, Life, and Love, and approaching scripture through sonship; in this conversation, Bishop Jamie Englehart breaks down myths for truth and sheds light on many of our religious misconceptions that have been built upon separation.

Jamie’s understanding of the Kingdom of God, the New Covenant, and the heart of the Father is evident in every word he speaks.

ROD WILLIAMS / UNION WITH DISTINCTION

Union, a Triune God, mutual indwelling others-centered love (perichoresis) approaching scripture to discover Jesus, and communion are some of the themes Rod Williams dives into. What if “all” means “all” and God isn’t distant? There is no distance, no separation in God and this conversation is a beautiful invitation to awaken to that discovery and our union with Him.

RANDALL WORLEY / Questioning My Answers

Randall Worley talks about having a “beginner’s mind,” faith while embracing mystery, pioneering and the nature of heresy, the limits of language, approaching scripture through love, and the importance of remaining curious while understanding that God is not insecure or defensive when we raise hard questions.

The Older Brother

Because he didn’t truly know his dads heart, he couldn’t truly know who he was nor could he understand how his dad could celebrate his brothers return. He was essentially saying, “Why on earth are you celebrating my brother? What’s he done for you lately?”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!