Noli nothis permittere te terere – Psalm 103

When I was a paramedic/firefighter in Chicago, I was having a particularly rough time with one of the lieutenants. He was not kind to me, didn’t appreciate my “christian ignorance” and would find every opportunity to put me down, give me extra work, and humiliate me. I took this hard and was at a loss one particular day when one of my mentors gave me a Latin phrase, “Noli nothis permittere te terere”, translated, “don’t let the (bad guys) get you down”.

While I thought the phrase was in reference only to my obnoxious LT, I soon realized that I was one of the “bad guys” too… I messed up frequently! (And still do!)

I’ve come to realize that God must have this Latin phrase memorized! Israel rarely if ever got things right… at best they were toddlers in their relationship with Him, and at worst they were prostituting themselves for other gods.And it isn’t just Israel — she is just a type of ourselves. We frequently follow in her same paths.

Indeed, God has every right to be angry with Israel and with us. But God is, in fact, SLOW to anger — restrained in His response. Why doesn’t God just wipe the smudge of humanity off this planet? Because he is “gracious and compassionate and abounding in love”. His love is a covenant love that is based on His love for us, not our good behavior and works.

Simply put, God never lets us “bad guys” get him down… rather, he seeks ways to restore us. God expertly separates sins from sinners!

For the sermon, click here

For a small group study on this passage, click here or go to the Life Group Page

One thought on “Noli nothis permittere te terere – Psalm 103

  1. Deb says:

    I love this reflection. I have this phrase as my signature on my emails. Then I stumbled upon your reflection – and yes – I agree – God MUST have it memorized…and like the story of the prodigal son – we are all – at one time or another the: bad guy (in the latin phrase…) the older son, the squandering son, etc. etc…and God still loves us.
    Stunning.
    thank you for sharing!

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