Faux Pas Mercy

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Aren’t you glad for mercy?

Faux Pas is a word that is both singular and plural. So are the acts and resulting outcomes.

A faux pas is a misstep, often a blunder or tactless act. Untimely, unthoughtful remarks or expression of opinions, gaffes if you will, are also considered faux pas. There are outcomes or consequences to these bloopers, often more severe than the offence. In the Kingdom of Heaven, an unintentional sin and errors in faith, no matter how innocent, are missteps and most definitely faux pas. Aren’t you glad that God has great mercy for faux pas?

Until recently, General George S. Patton was king of faux pas. He was a very accomplished and professional soldier, a warrior general in World War II. After a great victory in the desert of North Africa, he visited the wounded. At the sight of a shell-shocked individual, Patton became enraged and called the man a coward. The General struck him and expelled the battered soldier from the hospital tent. Faux pas… Patton was relieved of his command. Consigned to a desk and menial duty in the backwater of a great war. Even in a “lockdown,” Patton found a way to exercise his gift in a faux pas. Speaking to a group of ladies, he pontificated world rule under the great alliance of England, France, and the United States after the war. Russia got left out and was very offended. After that, Patton could be found only in a doghouse. One thing about war, countries always need good warriors, and they will use them. Patton was called back to the fray and did very well; however, a misspoken word after the war ended his career.

At this point, a meaningful side note must be inserted. Patton believed in God, but his life did not exhibit a personal relationship with Jesus. Evidence: he believed in reincarnation, which is an opposing world view of resurrection. Reincarnation is the doctrine that the essence of a life will return many times at different points in history and possibly in other forms. Resurrection is the principle that one has but one life; after a person has run the course on earth, there is something more on the other side. Reincarnation proposes that if one is good in this life, the next life will be better; if one has been bad, the next life will be of lower station. Resurrection implies that all are reunited with the body; some then go to Heaven; others go to Hell. Had Patton known Jesus, he would have known the resurrection and the added benefit of grace to keep out of the faux pas prison. Maybe, General George S. Patton met our Savior in the last hours of his life, as God can intervene in a twinkling of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:52)

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 (NIV)

For those who know Jesus, an event of the new birth has occurred. Provisionally, a person surrenders to the old life or dies for new life. This is another picture of the resurrection. An added benefit is that God will gently work with us concerning mistakes and blunders. He hides faux pas from public view.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

One of the greatest human obstacles to a personal relationship with God is the misconception that we must measure up to be accepted. In other words, the person must do things perfectly before they are worthy of being admitted to the Kingdom of God. Some can pull this off for a period of time, then fail. Others won’t even try. But God levels the playing field and makes it fair for everybody. The thing is…no one has a leg up; everyone, good or bad, is required to do the same thing, rich or poor. Make a choice to follow Jesus.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

There will be a faux pas in a Christian service. Preachers will try a joke that isn’t quite proper. An elder will pay more attention to the affluent or parishioner of high social standing than to a more needy person. The Bible speaks to this by asking if anyone is sick, then says it is because they did not discern the body of Christ. This is a picture of God correcting the faux pas with a consequence, and only the most astute will see His hand working. God’s personal prophets often go unrecognized because God wants to work the faux pas quietly and with dignity for the one out of line.

In many cases, these servants of God are discounted because they are not flashy; they speak softly and try to lead the bungler into a productive conversation with God. Often there is double jeopardy that comes into play; the guilty, out of guilt, will try to cancel the servant, thus failing to acknowledge God and causing trouble for a believer. The Bible plainly states God, being just, will trouble those who trouble His people. (See 2  Thessalonians 1:6) Believers, especially leaders, should know better.

Sometimes a believer will be caught off-guard by some sort of confrontation. An automatic defense system kicks in, and the believer lies. Faux Pas! The quick correction would be to stop and apologize for lying and proceed with the conversation. This does not always happen. If the person is repentant, God will show mercy for the faux pas, maybe with outcomes, maybe not. He is sovereign. Sometimes a nasty commercial shows up on TV, and the person may not look away as quickly as possible. Just a small thing, but still a faux pas. Don’t fool yourself; God knows every thought. 

Another point about verbal missteps. The first time is a mistake, the second time is an error, and the third time is a lie. Liars go over a cliff at some point because they begin to believe their lie is the truth. That is the land beyond Faux Pas Mercy.

The more missteps the Lord fixes, the more blunders He corrects, and the more we realize that God is our salvation. We can trust Him with our most embarrassing episodes and not be afraid to come to Him for help. We can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13), and He is faithful to shield and hide us!  

Now, let there be unspeakable joy, unfathomable peace, and undying grace attributed to the one and only King of eternity. The good but not soft God is solitary in His greatness and lives forever more. Oh, Yes!!!

Feature Image: Bigstock.com | THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. | Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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