“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’” (Matthew 6:9-10 ESV)
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)
Virtually everyone reading this column has been blamed at some point for something you did not do. You know, therefore, how horrible false accusations can be.
False accusations are unjust and unkind. They hurt the heart of the one accused. Most destructive of all, they malign the good character of the accused, crippling the relationship between the accused and everyone who believes the false accusation.
The extraordinary evil of false accusations may best be revealed by the name Scripture often gives to Satan, the “father of lies”. (John 8:44) Over thirty times, Satan is called “diabolos” (the Greek word we translate “devil”), which literally means “false accuser”, “slanderer”, or “one who divides”.
So, if false accusations are clearly evil, why do so many Christians falsely accuse God?
A son or daughter comes home from Afghanistan in a flag-draped coffin, and some Christians say to their parents, “It was God’s will.” A father of four dies in an automobile accident and some Christians say to his wife and children, “God took him”. A grandmother is diagnosed with breast cancer, and some Christians say, “God wants to teach you through suffering”.
If these Christian witnesses are to be believed, then God is to blame for these deaths and diseases. He chose for them to happen. What kind of loving God is that?
The tragic reality is far too many Christians blame God all the time for things that He didn’t want and didn’t do. It is the devil, not God, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. God wants us to have a rich and full life. (John 10:10) God’s will is always good! (Romans 12:2)
Our problem begins with a misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty. Yes, God is eternal Creator, all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present. His sovereign authority and power allow Him to rule all from His throne in heaven. (Psalm 103:19)
But the same sovereignty that allows God to reign also allows Him to delegate, and God has delegated the responsibility for what happens on earth to mankind. (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 115:16) If we had embraced our authority while remaining under His authority, then the Kingdom of God would still be on earth as it is in heaven. But we didn’t, and it isn’t. The blame for the disease, death and other evil in the earth lies with us.
This is why Jesus came. This is why He asks us to pray for the Kingdom of God to return to the earth – so God’s will, which is not being done, will be done!
Our second problem is a failure to fully embrace the revelation God has given us about Himself. For centuries, theologians have intellectualized, debated and divided the Church over issues like the Trinity, eternity, predestination, divine foreknowledge and exactly who gets into heaven – all things we are incapable of fully comprehending. And all that time, God has invited us to intimately know His character so we can trust Him completely even when we do not understand all His thoughts or ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
As Jesus declared, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children….” (Matthew 11:25 NIV)
Childlike Christians enter into Kingdom living on earth because they know God is love. (Luke 18:16; 1 John 4:8, 16) They know God is always good, and that His goodness is the essence of His glory! (Luke 18:19; Exodus 33:18-19) God has a hope and future for them that involves wholeness, not evil. (Jeremiah 29:11) He is the heavenly Father they can always trust, who gives good gifts to them, not stones or serpents and not disease or death. (Matthew 7:7-11)
A third problem for many stems from a misunderstanding about prayer. We pray for our loved ones to be safe, our sick friend to be healed, or our lives to prosper, and when things don’t turn out like we asked, we conclude it must be “God’s will”.
Scripture teaches, however, that effective prayer is conditioned upon several very important factors, including our motives, our lack of doubt in God, the faithfulness of our lives, our unity with like-minded Christians, our passion and perseverance, and our desire to see His will done. When our prayers are not answered like we wish, it is not God’s fault. It simply means we have somehow “missed the mark” of God’s good purpose for the overall situation.
Dear friends, we who are the Church must stop falsely accusing God. We must stop accepting theologies that accommodate our little faith, and start growing our faith in accordance with the divine revelation of a God who always loves us, is always trustworthy, and whose will for us is always wonderfully good.
That change in us will change the world.
God bless you, and God bless our community.