All the time

When Christians speak their code called Christianese one of the most repeated phrases is: “God is good’, which, especially if spoken from a pulpit, will most probably get the response, “All the time.”

Does “God is good actually come from the Bible?”

Mark 10:18, So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God

Matthew 19:17, So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Psalm 34:8, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Psalm 107:1, Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 145:9, The Lord is good to all,

And His tender mercies are over all His works.

Exodus 33:19, Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

The Bible clearly states that God is good. Do we really believe it though, or do we have a secret fear that the plans God has for us might include a few things which aren’t going to be good or easy for us? Of course, being good Christians we can’t say anything like that out loud. We are expected to say that we know that everything will work out for the best, and we have come to expect ourselves to believe that too. There are certain things a good Christian just doesn’t say out loud! There are times when everything is going 100% wrong and we feel like that if we weren’t held together with sinews and ligaments we would surely physically fall apart. Isn’t that so? I think I’ve lived long enough to know that everyone at some time, or at various times, feels exactly that way. Life isn’t easy and the longer you live the more that becomes abundantly clear. So if God is good, why doesn’t life feel like the bed of roses the movies make it out to be? Why don’t we have continuous happy endings and live happily ever after and all the things fairy tales are made of?

Because…God is good. That’s why. If God was a wizard with a magic wand or whatever they use in fairy tales, then we would be able to eat all the chocolate we want and not get fat. But, because God is infinitely good, we are able to rely on concrete truths that He has included in His Word. There isn’t one single word in the Bible that isn’t true. We don’t have to doubt anything we read in it. We don’t have to worry about inconsistency. We don’t have to be stressed that He won’t have enough time for us when we want to speak to Him. We know for a fact that if we’ve done something wrong we can ask Him to forgive us, and He will. We can fix our hope on the promise that if we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are going to have everlasting life. We can sleep peacefully at night because He gives us peace. We can ask Him for provision because He has promised us that He will provide. We know that He will give us good things, they might not be the things we think we need but they will be the things God knows we need. We don’t have to be anxious about reprisals for our misdeeds because God is love and as such He is patient with us.

Yes, there are consequences. If we do stupid things we reap the rewards, but that is good because if there weren’t consequences we would be in terrible shape. We would all be like spoiled children. You know the kind. The kids who throw tantrums and their parents give them anything they want, and they grow up to be obnoxious pests. That kind. That’s what we would be like.

God is good because he is a responsible parent who cares enough for His children, He teaches them accountability and makes sure that they develop strong characters and are responsible human beings. That’s why we say God is good.

Take responsibility, not offence

I read something that someone said about people getting upset about things people do. They said if it isn’t going to make a difference in five years from now then let it go because it won’t be worth making a fuss about. That’s a good philosophy to follow but I started thinking about it a bit differently. I want to ask the question. “Is it going to make a difference when I get to heaven?” and most of the time I’m sure it won’t. What if I turn that question around and ask, “Is this issue going to prevent me from going to heaven?” Sometimes we get so enmeshed in offences that we forget all about our salvation and the matter that is foremost in our minds becomes the most important thing in our lives. What did God say about having other gods before Him? But this issue isn’t a god, it’s between myself and whoever caused the offence. If God is the most important in our lives then we wouldn’t get entangled in these webs in the first place. If you go to bed at night and something that happened during the day is replaying itself in your mind, then you have a problem with letting it go, but if this happens night after night after night, you really have a problem.  You cannot allow offences to influence your salvation!

John 6:56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

v61, When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

v66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

They thought that Jesus was referring to physical eating and drinking and they were freaked out by it. They didn’t stay and try to understand, they just assumed that they knew. I am sure that the offence these people took at a statement they didn’t understand fully caused them to lose their salvation. We have to realise that we aren’t always going to be given an explanation. Most of the time people say things and they never even know that we have taken offence. They don’t have a clue because they didn’t mean to give offence but we walk away and beat ourselves up and in our minds have all the answers we should have or could have given them but  didn’t. The only one who is hurt and suffering in the process is ourselves.

Matthew 18:7-9, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

This is saying that offences will cause us to lose our salvation.

What if I were to take offence at something someone says to me at church and because of that I decide not to go to church anymore because church is full of hypocrites and I’m better off on my own without all these awful people. Who am I hurting? Me! I am hurting myself and I am in danger of losing my salvation because of the offence I’ve reckoned to myself.

If we don’t know how to speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, then we have to learn how because nobody is going to pamper us to make sure that we understood them correctly. We shouldn’t be spiritual babies that need to be fed milk. If we want to be warriors who can fight in the front lines then it’s time we stand up and take responsibility.