Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is God Loving?

I was considering some of the questions that many of us have heard:

“If God is loving, how could He send anyone to hell?”
“If God is good, how can He let children suffer from abuse, disease and starvation?”
“If God is righteous, how can He allow so many bad things to happen?”

On the surface, all of these questions sound reasonable to us. We may struggle to answer them, as believers. They may even be our questions.

Well, here is a mind-bender for us all. We are asking the wrong questions.

The Bible says in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”

And in the 100th Psalm, David says:

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

In Psalm 119:75, the writer has an interesting frame of reference for his afflictions:

I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Here it is, then: The Bible says God is love, God is good and God is righteous, therefore He is. This means that instead of comparing God to our ideas of what is good and righteous and loving, we should study the actions of God to learn what is truly good and righteous and loving.

Let me illustrate it this way:

If you say that something is “gaudy”, because you think “gaudy” means “big and attractive,” then you may not understand why someone else becomes offended by you calling their wedding ring, “gaudy”. They think “gaudy” means “unnecessarily big and overdone – too showy.” You have two different ideas of what a word means, so where do you go to solve the issue? How do you come to an agreement as to what is “gaudy”?

You would go to the dictionary and find out how the word “gaudy” is defined.

We think we know what “love” means, but God defines “love” for us. If He does it or says it, that is the definition of “love”.

So we can’t say, “If God is loving, how can He do this or that?” We have to say, “Since God has done this, it was the loving thing to do, because God is love.”

1 comment:

Sue W. said...

What did God do?
Because people want to give God the credit for every bad thing that goes wrong in the world.
If we are looking at the actions of God to learn what is truly good and righteous and loving, what are we looking at? Jesus said the thief is the one that came to kill steal and destroy, and we know God sent His Son to destroy the works of the enemy. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to work in us to will and to act according to his good purpose and pleasure, and one of Jesus’ purposes was to destroy the works of the enemy. Another work of the enemy: The Lie that God is mad at us, he is so displeased with us that he is looking for an excuse to crush us, and we deserve it. Guess what, we don’t deserve it. Jesus took what we deserve on the cross, and when we have put ourselves in Him, He gives us something else we don’t deserve: His Grace, His Spirit, His power, love and sound mind/self control. Our sound minds, the mind of Christ, should be able to recognize the work of the enemy, and partner with God against it, not blindly accept it, give God the credit for it, and define our God by our negative experiences. God is love. He is not cancer.