You’re standing at the kitchen sink washing the lunch dishes. Glancing out the window to check on your child playing in the back yard you discover, to your horror, that precious cretin is doing EXACTLY whatever dangerous thing you said NOT to do. You run outside, hands still soapy, screaming at the child to halt this instant. You deliver a thorough tongue-lashing about how inconceivable it was to attempt such a thing and somewhere in there, the words “Didn’t I tell you?” get thrown in. The child is sent inside to think about what he or she has done and “wait til your father/mother hears about this”.
If you’re a parent, this scene or some derivative of it has likely happened. Have you ever paused to examine the source of your reaction? The anger comes from fear, certainly– fear of the child getting hurt. Perhaps your child has nearly stepped into traffic, distracted by a handheld game or cell phone and you snatch him back just before he becomes a pancake. You fear for your children because you love them, and if they died, you would be separated from them. Fear turns to anger because you gave your children specific instructions about how to stay safe and they disobeyed.
Many people write off God because of His wrath shown in the Old Testament. But take a closer look. Why did He get angry? Because the people sinned. What is the result of sin? Separation from God. This is what angers our heavenly Father about sin, which is pure disobedience on our part, that it separates us, whom He loves, from Him. God is not some dictatorial control freak who has a hissy fit if everyone doesn’t do just as He says. Rather, He is a loving Father who created His children for fellowship and community with Him.
When we choose to sin, we choose to distance ourselves from Him. Meanwhile, God is begging you to hear Him. “Don’t you know what the result of your actions is?” Just as your children don’t understand the consequences of their actions, we don’t always see the ends that our actions lead to. Likewise, just as you know better than your children, God knows better than we do about what will happen if we pursue certain actions and lifestyles.
Additionally, there is probably some hurt on your end when your child disobeys you. “Do you not love me and trust me enough to believe that I only desire what is good and profitable for you and for our relationship?” God’s heart breaks the same way. “Do I mean so little to you that you would rather have your temporary fun and be separated from Me forever?” Do you not know who I am?” This is the crux and axiom of all Christian life. If we know who our Lord is, if we really understand Christ and allow Him to be integrated into our hearts and lives to the point that “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives within me,” then our actions will be in keeping with God’s instructions. Not out of begrudged obedience, but out of a deep heart’s desire to be intimate with God. This intimacy only comes from clean hands and a pure heart.
So do we want this relationship with Him? Or would we rather live separated from Him? What’s more, do we want this separation to follow through to its eventual result: eternal separation from God?
For Part 2, click here.