Always The Nails, Never The Hammer

"For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

James 2:13  

Every time I read the book of Job and all the circumstances surrounding Job’s life I find myself admiring him all the more. Of Job it says in verse 22 of chapter 1, "In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." Job understood something about God we do well to know too. Though Job  didn’t know everything there was to know about God, what Job did understand is that God is good all the time and when we are left with the choice, "choose the nails over the hammer.”  

You see loved one, life is made up of relationships, relationships to God, to one another and our fellow man, our spouses, our children, our extended families, friends, etc. I think everybody gets that. I know life is complex and we all enjoy color but some things are easier to comprehend when they are just remain, “black and white”, and “yes and no”. Even the trials of life, pain and suffering are best understood when we don't seek to understand all the "why questions,” surrounding the events that bring us pain as much as we simply need to seek the heart of God who is working behind all the events of our lives. Remember, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart".

I have discovered that the Cross itself is much easier to comprehend when we view it in its most simplest form. Jesus was perfect, yet He died for sinners, the righteous for the unrighteous, the just for the unjust. When we consider who killed Jesus we can honestly say it was the Jews leaders who wanted Jesus dead or we can say it was the Romans who carried out the barbaric act against our Lord, but in reality it was you and me who drove the nails into Jesus hands and feet as it was my sin and your sin that caused Jesus to even need to go to the Cross in the first place. We would love to lay the blame on someone else and in life we most often do, but in all fairness we can’t. Jesus is innocent and all of humanity guilty.

When you think through your relationships have you been the one who took the nails for the relationship or have you been the one who has held the hammer in your hand and drove the nails in? I know its graphic but trust me, there is beauty and pain in this little exercise and if it hurts please know there is grace and forgiveness at the Cross of Calvary, the good news of the gospel for you and me. But before you go there understand there is pain on both sides of the Cross but if you have to choose which side of the Cross you are on, like Job, like Jesus, we do best to choose to take the nails. Don’t be the one found with the hammer in your hand who drives the nails in. It was Jesus Himself who said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friend.”

Like I said, as I consider this thought both beauty and pain shoot through my own heart and mind. It makes me appreciate afresh today what Jesus Christ has done for me when He took the nails for my sin on Calvary’s Cross and looking at what Jesus did for me makes bearing the nails driven by the hands of others somehow bearable. On the other hand, it makes me cringe at the thought of the countless times I have been the one with the hammer in my own hand. I remember the first Easter when I watched the movie the “Passion of the Christ” directed by Mel Gibson where he shared that the only scene in which he allowed himself to be filmed in the movie was the scene where it shows a bloody hand holding one of the Crucifixion nails in it and the other a hammer. Mel Gibson explained in an interview that he did that to show the blame of the Cross was not to be laid on the Jews or the Romans present that day. Jesus went to the Cross for sinners, all sinners which includes me and you. Mel Gibson knew Jesus died for him, that Jesus took the nails for sinners like me and you as that is what love does.

Thank God today, friend, that Jesus took the nails for you. Thank God today, loved one, that Jesus has not come with a hammer to nail us but that He Himself took the nails for us that we could be forgiven and live free from the penalty of sin and death. "Always the nails, never the hammer" is a great reminder for me and you today too on how we should approach life and our relationships with others. Mercy and forgiveness triumphs over judgment, life over death. When you have to choose between the hammer and the nails in your relationships today, like Job, like Jesus, choose the nails!

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Mark 10:45


Michael Osthimer





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