I have had some things going on in my life that have gotten me thinking about how people view God and the “reputation” that he ends up having amongst people who follow Christ and those who do not follow Christ. Many times I hear people say something along these lines – “if God is good or if He loved us, why would he put those rules/ standards/ expectations on me?” This mindset is basically who is God to tell me “no”, when I want it. And when He says “no”, or “don’t touch” or “stay” He is some kind of ogre or some foolish or strict parent. He gets the reputation as the bad guy, the buzz kill, a tyrant who takes away good options, or just plain old mean.
Let me say it very clearly – God always has your best intentions in mind. ALWAYS! We may not see it or get it or like it or trust it or whatever, but God gives us so much grace and mercy in ways we just do not even fathom. One of those ways is when he warns us in the Bible and then we do not listen and then we get mad at the results. God offered you and me the grace to spare us from whatever pain we are experiencing, but we did not listen. Why is that on him? He said do not take that train, it will crash. The train crashes. And then we and those around us blame God for allowing the train to crash while we were in it.
The Bible talks about missing the grace God gives us and the author says when we miss the grace of God, a root of bitterness is planted God loves you. God has your best in mind. It is not about don’t, it is about don’t hurt yourself. God is not out to get us. If we only knew, how much heartache he is trying to spare us from. Look for the grace God gives and trust that grace. Let’s all stop blaming God for our foolish steps.
Your statement “God offered you and me the grace to spare us from whatever pain we are experiencing, but we did not listen.” seems a bit too simple and like you are applying it to all of life’s hurts and pain. If this is your intention, I think you would have a difficult time maintaining that position. Life is full of general consequences of sin and living in a fallen world that may not be directly related to our disobedience and not listening to God. God does provide us grace to get through these circumstances, they break His heart when they happen, and yes He will allow us to face the consequences of our sinful decisions, but sometimes the consequence we face are a result of someone else’s sinful decision and not our own. But even in these circumstances we cannot get angry or bitter at God because that will only hurt us and our relationship with Him.
Great point Jen. I am definitely referring to those times when we choose to go against God’s direction and not those times when we are affected by another’s sin. But as you mention even when another’s sin affects us, God gives us grace and direction for how we should respond. Often we ignore his direction on how to handle the pain and then blame Him for not being able to cope or forgive or grow or move on. I agree with your though though that sometimes our pain is not our doing. That is a great point.