Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

What does God think when we mess up?    (11/11/2012)

So where are you now in your life, as you look at your past and contemplate your future? Are you happy where you are? Do you have regrets about your past? What about the future: is it a happy outlook, brimming with opportunities?

Whatever your age, background, location and circumstances, God will meet you where you are. When Adam was hiding in the Garden of Eden (he had messed up, deliberately disobeying God’s instruction) he heard God looking for him, asking, “Adam, where are you?”

Many people think that God is very demanding, and eager to punish—and, worse still, that the people who go to church are much the same! It’s sad that Christians can be the church’s worst advertisement; some are the best, too, but whatever your view of Christians, the truth is that God is searching for you and he is seeking you out. He wants to know where you are!

Adam could have been seriously told off. “Look what you’ve done! I told you not to eat that apple. You’re so stupid! How could you disobey such a simple instruction? I can’t leave you alone for five minutes!”

But Adam heard none of the sort of talk we’re familiar with hearing whenever we screw up. Instead, in a place where he felt alone, afraid and exposed, he heard a question.

It’s also true that God explained to Adam the consequences of hismisbehaviour.There are always consequences when we decide to ignore God’s instructions, and we sin, just as if we were to ignore the instructions for running a car. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is simply a good idea, not someone bossing you around. That’s just the way it is.

Wherever you are, don’t listen to misguided voices that try and heap on the blame, or magnify any mistakes you might have made. Jesus met with thousands of people, as described in the four gospels. He met each of them where they were at—he spoke into their own personal circumstances.

He ignored the official opinion held by the teachers of the law, and the common view from the local population. Most neighbours and church leaders at the time were quick to put down those whose lives had gone a bit wrong. Jesus cut through that nonsense, and met people in their place of need: he spoke gently to the local good-time-girl, ate with the tax collector, and even touched the leper. In the gospels we hear that Jesus was criticised for this by the religious leaders. But he replied, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Don’t be fooled by any lies that tell you you’re no good. You are very precious to Jesus—his death on a cross was no accident, and neither was your birth. It was a very deliberate act for God to reach out to you, to communicate how much he cares about you. Wherever you are, right now, God will meet you there. Don’t be afraid.

Pray: Lord, when I mess up, please remind me that you still love me as much as ever. Help me not to make the same mistakes again, but to keep learnng and keep loving you in return, Remind me also to be careful whose counsel I take. Amen.

Think about: Do you think it is ever right for God to be angry? What sort of things do you think God reserves his anger for?

Challenge: Have you ever imagined God as a big scary character, simply waiting to be angry with you? How do you think you came to have that idea of him? What might change that view?

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