God is Kind to the Evil

A preacher from the past named G. Campbell Morgan once asked, “How would you like to live with somebody who is everlastingly grieving your heart by his conduct?”

I’m quite certain some probably do live with such an individual and others may have been wounded by someone in their past. Sadly, this world is filled with dysfunctional relationships. Even people in Bible times endured grief in their relationships as can be seen through Joseph’s life story recorded in Genesis. There’s no doubt the wounds inflicted by those harsh relationships are real and very painful.

But for just a moment, could I urge you to consider the dysfunctional relationship that exists between the wicked and God?

Psalm 10 vividly describes the abusive treatment God receives from, “the wicked.” Here’s a bit of a summation of the Psalm’s description:

  • Because he is proud, the wicked does not seek God out (Psalm 10:4).

  • God is not someone the wicked thinks of very often (Psalm 10:4).

  • He convinces himself that God has forgotten about all his evil deeds. In fact he’s convinced God will never see those deeds (Psalm 10:11).

How would you like to live with somebody who is everlastingly grieving your heart by his conduct?
— G. Campbell Morgan

And by the way…the deeds of the wicked are…well…wicked. For example, he proudly persecutes the poor and boasts that whatever his heart desires, his heart will have (Psalm 10:2-3). He puffs at his enemies and is arrogantly secure in himself, even declaring that he will never suffer adversity (Psalm 10:5-6).

Then there is the speech of the wicked. Psalm 10:7 says, “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.” And we haven’t mentioned the wicked person’s abuse of, “the innocent” and “the poor” (Psalm 10:8-10).

Now, I ask you, how quickly would you extend kindness to someone who completely ignored you, was arrogant, selfish, verbally abusive, and dishonest? Would you be quick to share your possessions with that type of individual? Wouldn’t you find it quite difficult? Perhaps you would feel it would be impossible.

But are you ready for this?! Jesus said God is kind to just such people. In Luke 6:35 He stated that God, “is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” He blesses, “the evil…and…the unjust” with sunshine and rain.

You see, so many people are asking if God is so loving how come there’s so much suffering in the world? What I’m thinking about today is this; since mankind is so wicked why does God extend any kindness to us at all? I hope you’ll check back soon as I ponder the kindness of God a little more.

God is Kind to the Unthankful

There are 1,440 minutes in a day. How many of those minutes do you spend giving thanks to God? Let me guess…not as many as you spend complaining. Am I right? Can I pry just a little more? When in pain, how many of those minutes do you spend in thanksgiving? Probably even less than when you aren’t in pain.

Doesn’t it seem like the more intense our pain is, the louder we complain? In fact, suffering and evil have become the most common complaint against God. Many question His goodness (maybe even His existence), accuse Him of mistreatment, and thus have become inconsiderate of His kindness to us.

Yes, I said His kindness. Remember, Jesus told us that God, “is kind unto the unthankful” (Luke 6:35). So, for all the naysayers out there, I want to take a moment to consider God’s kindness to us, the unthankful.

 Too many people are disappointed and angry with God because they’re too busy counting their burdens rather than counting their blessings.

Too many people are disappointed and angry with God because they’re too busy counting their burdens rather than counting their blessings.

Let me begin by quoting Jesus again who said God, “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). You have to admit; that’s very kind of Him to do. Now let me assure you that I’m not ignoring the reality that many people’s lives have been devastated by natural disasters, nor am I trifling with their pain. I’m merely pointing out that even, “the evil…and…the unjust” benefit from sunshine and rain. And you know what else? The good and the just also suffer in natural disasters.

When suffering, all of us are experts in considering and complaining about how imperfect life is. However, perhaps we should stop and consider God’s perfect gifts given to us (James 1:17).

For example, how many of us thank Him for the gifts of His Son and eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23 I’ll say more about these gifts at another time). How about the blessings of family, friends, a good church home, the Word of God, ect.? Too many people are disappointed and angry with God because they’re too busy counting their burdens rather than counting their blessings.

However, if you’re still questioning the kindness of God, may I urge you to consider His patience with us. Now think about it; He’s never promised us a perfect life. But even when life is imperfect, we are still recipients of many blessings. But, still we complain, question Him, and accuse Him of mistreatment. It’s as if we feel we’re entitled to be blessed and if we’re not then we get angry with God. And despite the anger and rebellion the Bible tells us God, “is longsuffering to us-ward” (2 Peter 3:9). That is an act of kindness on God’s part.

That’s all the time I have for this week. I hope you are planning on being with us this Sunday, September 16th at 10:30 am as we will be considering the greatest proof that God does care about us.

God is Kind

Have you ever had anybody invest in you personally? And I don't mean financial investments. What I mean is, have you ever experienced someone investing their time in helping you grow as a person? 

For me, one such person is named Dick Phaup. When I completed high school Dick was just launching his own house painting business. I was an aimless dreamer who needed a full time job. He needed another painter. I knew nothing about painting houses, but Dick was willing to train me, so I accepted his offer of employment. 

This began a relationship that helped me grow as a person. Dick showed patience with this rather inept handyman and he always paid a fair wage. Whenever we worked together on a job site, he always engaged me (a quiet introvert) in good conversation...even some spiritual conversations.  

There is more I could say, but I will merely state that Dick was great to work for and I really wanted his business to succeed. And it did.

 We question God's goodness so often that we seldom consider His kindness to us.

We question God's goodness so often that we seldom consider His kindness to us.

But let's suppose I didn't care about him or his business at all. Rather than being on time and working hard I was intentionally tardy (at times even absent) and lazy (goofing off on the job). What if I did sloppy work on purpose and constantly argued with Dick - even did the complete opposite he told me to do? Can you imagine how he would feel if I slandered his character and blasphemed his name? And if that were not bad enough, suppose all I did was complain about how miserable Dick seems to make my life. 

You know what I mean...I made comments such as, "If Dick really cares about me as an employee why does he accept difficult jobs? How come we have to climb so high on these ladders? Doesn't he care about how difficult this work is?"

Would I be worthy of retaining my job with him? Not at all! But let's suppose that Dick kept me on. He continued to pay a fair wage, and instruct me despite my consistent rebellion and rejection of his tutelage.  What would you think of Dick if that were situation? 

Well among the many words that may be coming to your mind right now, I'm quite confident you would say that if that were situation then Dick would be showing me extreme kindness. Kindness I probably wouldn't even deserve.

You know, the question concerning God's goodness in the midst of suffering is asked so frequently we don't even realize how kind He is to us. Jesus said, "...he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6:35). Time will not permit me to delve any further into that reality today. Therefore, I invite you to check back soon as I contemplate the kindness of God. 

Meanwhile, I do hope you're planning on joining us on Sunday September 16th for our community Sunday as we explore the greatest proof that God does care about us and our pain. 

 

 

 

I Can't See How God Can Possibly Be Good

His name was Joseph. He had to endure family turmoil and abuse at the hands of his own brothers. He was falsely accused and imprisoned and his biography is written for us in the book of Genesis. Am I actually going to attempt to convince you that God was good in all that suffering? No. Because Joseph himself said, "God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50:20).

In the greatness of our troubles there may often be space for the greater display of the goodness of God.
— Charles Spurgeon

Perhaps you're thinking, "I can't see how God could possibly be considered a good God in all that mess."

That's just the problem isn't it? It is hard for us to see the goodness of God when all around us is not good. It's even harder to trust Him. But the problem is not with God's character. The problem is with our vision. You see, Psalm 145:9 says, "The LORD is good to all." But for some reason we feel that if He were really good than nobody should have to suffer. 

Suffering however, is often the tool of God's choice to cause us to grow and become stronger and closer to Him (James 1:1-5). Isn't it true that from the anvils of suffering rise some of the greatest stories of heroism, sacrifice, and perseverance? Isn't it also true that often suffering becomes God's greatest platform to demonstrate His glory, sovereignty, and faithfulness (keep Joseph in mind right now)?

But doesn't it seem like if God has good reasons for our suffering, He should at least tell us what those reasons are? Well, perhaps at times He does let us in on why He's chosen to allow us to suffer. Often however, He does not. But that doesn't mean He's not good. Maybe he knows we wouldn't understand or be able to handle His explanation.

It's like a small child getting a necessary vaccination as they look into their parent's eyes with big tears and an expression that says, "this hurts! why are you allowing this person to do this to me?" The parent knows the pain is good for the child, but the child will not understand any explanation offered. 

Despite having to endure the pain of a needle though, the child does not do so all alone. Through the whole ordeal they can clutch their parent's hand, and when it's over enjoy their comforting embrace. 

Do you remember Joseph? Well, throughout his dark days you read these words regarding God's activity in his life; "the LORD was with Joseph." Though no explanation for his trials were given, God's presence was very evident and a source of comfort. 

Often the goodness of God is demonstrated in suffering not because He gives us an explanation, but because He stays close by our side through whole storm. He clutches our hand and says, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10).  

Perhaps it would clear up our blurry vision of God's goodness if we learned to find comfort in His presence and His promise to, "uphold" us when suffering. 

  

What Does God Have to Say for Himself?

Have you ever heard the expression, "what do you have to say for yourself?" I can still hear my mom posing that question to me when dealing with my disobedience as a young boy. My answer generally was a shameful, "nothing." That was never the right answer by the way.

When suffering has invaded our comfortable lives, questions often abound. We want to know why it happened, why God didn't prevent it, and How allowing or sending such adversity into our lives could possibly be the work of a loving God. It's as if we're asking God, "what do you have to say for yourself?" 

So, what does God have to say for Himself?

Well for starters He would like us to know when He allows us to suffer it is not an act of disobedience on His part: Psalms 145:17, "The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." He would like to gently remind us of Jesus' words when He said, "in the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16:33). In other words, the Lord would remind us that He Himself told us trials are a guarantee in life.

However, knowing how painful the suffering is for us and that often we need more than just answers - we need valid reasons to rejoice and be hopeful - God would say such things as the following: I see your affliction and I hear your cries. In fact I know all about your sorrows and I even know how painful this is (Exodus 3:7). He would want us to know that He is in complete control and has a purpose for the darkness.

If we have experienced the spiritual birth of John chapter three, then Jesus encourages us to find peace, joy, and hope in our heavenly future...a time when all tears will be wiped dry (John 14:1-6; Revelation 21:4).  

Finally, God would urge us to cast all of our cares and burdens upon Him. Why? Because He deeply cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). 

So, what does God have to say for Himself? He says, please give me your burdens - your cares - because I deeply care about you. In the mean time don't forget to join us in September as we continue to consider how much God cares for us and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to answer them for you.

 

Suffering is a Personal Experience

Pain and suffering is not only a universal experience; it's a very a personal experience. Pain knows my address and your address and it will drop into our lives uninvited. Sometimes it will even stay longer than we anticipated and sadly for some suffering will never leave. It will remain the uninvited resident in their lives. For this reason, the issues of pain, suffering, and evil is an emotionally charged issue for many. It's deeply personal. Theologically it has led some to conclude that God is either evil, impotent, or non-existent. 

However, the Bible has much to say regarding, "the sufferings of this present time" (Romans 8:18). Written onto the pages of God's Word are the real accounts of men and women who suffered the loss of a loved one, family turmoil, disease, abandonment, among other trials. And God is not presented as an evil or impotent being either. 

Instead we meet a God who gives Himself.  For example, He becomes the father of, "the fatherless" (Psalm 68:5). To the widow, God becomes their defender and judge (Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5), and for those being oppressed, God is the greatest refuge (Psalm 9:9). In fact, Jesus Himself stated He is the one who heals, "the brokenhearted" and sets the captive and the wounded free (Luke 4:18). Then there is the invitation to cast, "...all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). 

That invitation is extended to all who are either weighed down with the daily cares of life and to those devastated by immense suffering. It is not the invitation of an evil and weak God who does not exist. It is the invitation of an all-powerful God who cares deeply about you, your pain, and your questions. 

We hope you will begin making plans to join us throughout the month of September as we consider just how much God cares about all of us.