Sometimes when my wife offers words of encouragement about how smart I am, how sexy she thinks I am, or how much she enjoyed a sermon I preached, I have a tendency to take it with a grain of salt, forgetting about it a few minutes after she voices it or just shrugging it off almost immediately. After all, she ‘has’ to say these things, doesn’t she?
But when my wife is in a bad mood and doesn’t respond to me like I think she should, or when she’s had a rough day and she gets snippy instead of encouraging, my anger and frustration will stay with me much longer and in a much more intense form, than the good feelings brought on by her words of encouragement.
During these times of anger, I will ignore that she has given her very life to me – she has promised to support me, love me, encourage me, and that she has performed these functions in our marriage exceptionally. I ignore her character and focus on her momentary lapse, taking it to the extreme, as if that’s really who she is.
We human beings, with our proclivity toward sin and brokenness, are much more impassioned by the negative things people say to us (we remember them much longer!) than the positive. We are much more frustrated by the bad things people do than by their character of generosity, humility, and love.
I was wondering last night if this doesn’t shape our view of God. That is, we assume God is the same way – he takes the little sins we commit and acts as if THAT is who we really are. And he takes the good things we do, the righteous things we do, and all but forgets about them a few minutes later.
But what if God is the exact opposite of us? What if, as the Scriptures say, our sins are removed as far as the East is from the West as soon as we commit them! What if, instead of getting all frustrated with the little things we do that our against our character, He is instead lavishly celebrating every act of kindness, ever step toward self-giving love no matter how small? What if God isn’t count up our sins and holding them as a grudge against us for the Judgment Day? What if, instead, He delights so much in us that He’s almost a love-blinded father who rejoices over ever little step is daughter takes?
What if God doesn’t hold grudges against His children, but instead, takes the little acts of goodness and views them in light of eternity? And what if this, through the lens of the cross and resurrection, is exactly how He sees us all the time? Wouldn’t that change the way your relate to Him? Wouldn’t that help you see that He delights in you? Wouldn’t that shift the way you respond to people when they offer encouraging words? And even more the case, wouldn’t that challenge the way you and I respond to people when they are rude, snotty, or sarcastic to us?