Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What Were You Thinking?

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for. Proverbs 16:6

            One of the saddest misrepresentations of God is someone holding a sign or shouting out “God Hates You”…fill in the blank. Men have hated and defied God from the beginning of time. His response has always been the same, love.

            “Now, hold on a minute,” you may say, “the Bible is full of instances where God got angry and people experienced His wrath.”  True. Like it or not, sin’s consequences have greater impact than we realize. When God intervenes into situations and deals with men’s behavior He doesn’t hate them, just what they do. Unwilling to change, allowing their activities to persist would result in greater harm to more people.

            Jesus made a bold statement in John 14:9. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” He declared Himself to be the tangible expression of God’s nature. Jesus didn’t run around screaming at people and telling them how much God hated them and was out to get them. He did, however, address bad behavior and tossed the corrupt merchants out of the temple: Matthew 21:12 & John 2:15. Hypocritical religious authorities were confronted, Matthew 23:13-29 and rebuked. To a woman “caught” in the act of adultery (which takes at least two people) He said, “…neither do I condemn you…now go and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11. His greatest expression of love was spoken from the cross as He was dying. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Luke 23:34.

            Proverbs 16:6 reveals God’s motive for redemption. Love and faithfulness, not anger, frustration nor revenge compelled God to craft the plan of redemption. The sin issue was resolved through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. “Be reconciled to God. God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God,” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.

            For the better part of His arrest, “trial” and execution Jesus held His peace. Except for a few words with the priests, Pilate and from the cross, Jesus was silent. Hebrews 4:5 teaches that Jesus was “tempted in every way just as we are.” If that had been me, I would have been tempted to give everyone a piece of my mind. I’d have defended myself and criticized my accusers. I may have even vocally wished they would suffer the same fate, or worse. Jesus was probably tempted to do all of that and more, but He didn’t.

            Why? Jesus understood the power of spoken words. Remaining mute was superior to an angry outburst that couldn’t be retracted. He stayed true to His claim of being the representation of His father. He stayed loving and faithful.

            The Bible is clear; a day of reckoning is coming. God will right every wrong. Injustices will be addressed and corrected. Those who oppose God will experience His fury. With His love and faithfulness, God through Jesus has made a way to escape this fate. “Much more than being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him,” Romans 5:9. God loves humanity; it’s our behavior that He sometimes can’t tolerate.

            Romans 2:4 reminds us it’s, God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.” Angry words, demonstrations, hitting people over the head with the Bible may get attention and draw a crowd, but probably won’t work. Kindness is God’s chosen method of operation, so let’s follow His lead. We’ll be amazed how effective it is. People will experience love and faithfulness; just what God was thinking when he planned to redeem them.

P.S. This edition marks the one year celebration of The Thought Just Occurred to Me. I want to thank all the readers who have made this possible. Your words of encouragement and grammar correction have been priceless. God bless you.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephencuyos/5394047165/">Fr. Stephen, MSC</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your Blogoversary. You have given me a lot to think about in this post. Thank you.