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Lately I have been partaking in different discussions regarding God and suffering. Today’s message came to me a few weeks ago but I couldn’t get to it until today. God has been giving me some really good stuff to discuss lately.
Before we start today’s drash, let’s first set some ground rules:
- God is absolutely binomial. He knows what is good and he knows what is bad, and there isn’t anything in between from his perspective;
- God is not just willing to, but actually desires to forgive our sins (Ezekiel 18:23);
- God is understanding, patient and compassionate. Even when he punishes he does so with mercy (up to a point);
- God has made rules and he sticks by them. If he says “Don’t do that or else this will happen” you can be sure when you do that, what he said would happen will happen, sooner or later.
When we talk about God’s loving kindness we are talking about his desire for us to be better and to stop sinning so we can have eternal life. We are also talking about his willingness to be patient before he really lowers the boom. And despite how much he loves us, we must remember the fact that the one thing God will not do is act as we would expect another human being to act.
Humans make excuses for everything: we excuse ourselves when we mess up, we excuse others when they mess up (if it doesn’t make us look bad) and we excuse our children for their impolite actions and irresponsibility. We know there is good and bad, but to help remove our own accountability and responsibility for what we do and say we allow for a lot of “gray” in between the black and white of right and wrong.
“I didn’t lie, I fibbed.”
“I didn’t steal, I found that.”
“It wasn’t my fault- someone else didn’t do what they were supposed to do (even though I was in charge.)”
All lame and childish excuses; people will too often say whatever they need to say in order to land somewhere in that “gray” area of not right but not really that wrong.
Not so with God. God knows the heart and in your heart you cannot be gray: you are either repentant or you’re not. You are either willing to take responsibility for your sins or you’re not. You are either desiring to be righteous or you’re not.
And for those that are desiring the righteous path but are having trouble, God is merciful, patient and willing to forgive. So long as you are really trying. If you are saying you want to be righteous, but continually mess up and make excuses, God isn’t going to fall for it. He isn’t stupid, you know- he knows what you really mean, even if you don’t.
I have said it before and will say it again… people don’t mean what they say: they mean what they do.
So make sure that your heart is in the right place and that you take accountability for your words and actions. I like to pray as King David did in Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
If we do wrong and continue to do wrong on purpose, all the curses God promised will come upon us (Deut. 28) will come upon us. God must keep his word regarding punishment for wrongdoing because if we cannot trust in God to punish the wicked as he said he will, we cannot trust in God to provide salvation as he said he will.
I am thankful for God’s binomial attitude- yes or no, good or bad, right or wrong, black or white- nothing in between, no gray areas to fall within. I am also grateful for God’s wisdom and patience, so that when I am on the wrong side of righteousness, he is willing to give me time to get my head back on straight and will forgive me when I come to him repentant and humbled.
That’s the ticket, Folks! Repentant, humble and asking forgiveness with the proper heart-attitude of wanting to do better.
As I often say, we can never be sinless but we can always sin less. Having that as your goal and living with the words of David in Psalm 19 is the attitude that will always be OK in God’s sight.