- Why would we ever be disappointed with God? Have we?
- Sometimes we do not want God to show grace but deliver punishment.
- We do not share God’s heart or His will a lot of the time. If you say you do you are not being truthful.
Have you ever been disappointed with God? I think we could all admit this feeling at one time or another. However, to say we are disappointed with God is to say we in fact should be God. If we are truthful, just as Paul Tripp said, our hearts do not always share God’s will. For example, wanting someone to experience judgment and punishment instead of grace. We cannot understand why God would allow them to receive grace. In our minds they certainly deserve judgment. This is exactly what Jonah was feeling. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he knew God might change His mind and not punish the people if they repented. The truth was that Jonah despised these people because they were known for being a ruthless people. Nothing in his heart wanted God to forgive these people. Have you ever felt that way about someone? Your heart could not get on board with what God’s will required.
I am not sure if you have seen The Shack, if not, then you might not want to read this part. There is a scene when Mackenzie admits that he feels God is not a good God because He allowed this evil man to take his daughter. He feels like the man should be punished to the full extent. He is asked to sit in the judgment seat since he is very good at judging. His two children and their sins are presented to Mackenzie. He is tested to make a decision of which one will go to heaven and which to hell. After moments of anguish he breaks down in tears and sobs, “I can’t choose just take me instead. I will gladly go!” The whole point of this scene is to see God’s love and why He sent His Son. Also, although one day we will be judged by an Almighty, God it is not our place here to be judge and jury. Jesus came to this world in hopes that everyone of His children would find their fullness in Him.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone come to repentance.
Paul Tripp declares, “A God of grace sends his people of grace to make his invisible grace visible to people who need grace.” The problem is when we forget we have received God’s grace in our own lives. He goes on to say what better person to give grace, than the one who knows how precious God grace has been in their life. I feel like God’s theme for my life this year has been grace. What better place to learn grace than in God’s classroom of life. So today in the classroom He sent this Word to me, “Grace is a way of responding to wrong, not calling wrong right.” God spoke directly to my heart. People can sometimes cause enormous pain in our life by say things that are untrue, judging with a self-righteous attitude, or overall just being a big irritation. However, God wants us to act the way He would toward them, not because their actions are right, but because he extends His grace to us when we are wrong. Does that resonate with anyone today? They don’t deserve it, but neither do you! To give grace does not mean to condone their action, but that you are leaving the consequences to God where they belong. Does this mean we should never give biblical correction, absolutely not. It means you are not responsible for the outcome of their actions. Make no mistake; everyone will stand before the throne of God and answer for their actions. Mathew 12:36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. Here is the freeing news God has literally chiseled on my heart- you will not answer for anyone but yourself! I have found such freedom in this verse. You see we cannot change people’s heart only God can do this work.
I am reminded about the story of the debtor in Mathew. 23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. 26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. 31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. 35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Are we not like the first debtor? We receive grace in enormous measure, but then we demand perfection from others. We were forgiven, but then turn and become demanding. We were released from the prison of darkness, yet we hold many people prisoners because of their past mistakes. Have you ever been in an argument with your spouse/friend/relative and recalled every failure they had in the past 6 months, year, or maybe several years. When we put these disappointments on speed dial in our mind, we are in essence holding them captive by their failures. Although, they may have gained God’s forgiveness we choose to keep them imprisoned. I wonder if our life was put on a big screen, everything we thought or did, if we would have an ounce of self-righteousness in our body; I seriously doubt it. Here is another example. As sinners we were saved only because God accepted us as sinners, yet we expect others to get right before they walk in the church doors. How about if the church would allow God’s grace to pour out on them right where they are. In the New Testament Jesus was walking in the crowd and He felt someone touch Him. It was a woman who was unclean, which would have been devastating to the priest because they had to stay ceremonial clean. But don’t miss this, the woman did not defile Jesus the high priest, but instead he purified the woman. Listen, that just wants to make me get up and shout. There is no one that is too far-gone, or living too bad of a lifestyle to experience the transforming purification of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
You see love will take you farther than the law ever will. The New Testament was no longer about the rigid law but about God’s love, mercy, and grace. There are two main commandments. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The other, love your neighbor as yourself.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
What is love asking of you today? Maybe it is to recognize you can extend grace without condoning ones behavior. Maybe it is to allow your spouse out of the prison you have built for them. It might be to mend a friendship. Honestly, it might just be giving yourself some grace for the mistake you made because certainly God is willing. I pray today that you remember love ALWAYS requires grace! What would our world look like if every professed Christian poured out grace everyday? What does love require of you?