Five Facts for Good Church Folk to Remember
We love good people, even though we know that they are not perfect. We applaud their noble practices including moral conduct, regular attendance at places of worship, generous contributions to the needy and even random acts of kindness.
However, the more commendation they receive, the easier it is for them to forget that God measures not only what they display in their public performances, but also who they are in their hearts.
- For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
The following facts about God, also quoted from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, will help us remember that much of God’s evaluation about us is based on our attitude toward our fellowmen and our interaction with them.
(1) We Cannot Love God and Hate People
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. 1 John 4:20
Loving God is the reason some people give for hating those who do not love Him like they do. Some parents become intolerant of children who exhibit ungodly behavior. Some employers discriminate against individuals from certain races known for strange habits. Some spouses resent mates who do not participate in their devotion to Him. Intolerance, discrimination, resentment and other similar attitudes can gradually grow into hate.
Good people become hypocrites when they respond to human offenses with an unforgiving, hateful attitude. They forget that they sometimes offend God with their selfishness (which they try to hide under their good deeds) and God does not stop loving them. If God can love and forgive them when they confess their faults, He can give them the grace to love and forgive others when they confess their hate.
Individuals who hate whom God loves are against Him. Also, since human beings do not actually see God, their only genuine expression of love for Him must be expressed to persons whom they can see.
(2) Serving God Means Serving Others
Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40
Some people are selective about whom they serve. They may wait to serve until the opportunity comes for their good deeds to be recognized. They may also select to serve those who can repay them. In so doing, they choose how they want to be rewarded.
Other people serve and never make the recognition list, because they serve the nobodies (“the least”) whenever possible. They serve needy relatives and neighbors, although their service does not make the spotlight. Their service is motivated by love and gratitude for the things they have been given to share.
It is easy to forget that when we render service to others, we do so on God's behalf.
(3) We Cannot Fully Understand God
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5
Some good people think that they know everything about God. They fit Him into their religious belief system and create a God who sanctions what they do and disapproves what others do differently. They think they know Him so well because He belongs to their group.
God is too big, too wise, and too powerful to fit into our limited minds. Kevin Hartnett, astronomer and astro-photographer agrees. “Indeed, through His own gracious revelation of Himself, we can understand God in part, but we can never fully comprehend Him, or even a single one of His qualities. There will always be more of His wisdom to understand, more of His power, more of His holiness, more of His love. We will never fathom Him.”1
Those who forget how big God is often think that He needs their help to straighten out other people. They mean well, but they get in His way.
(4) God Doesn’t Think Like We Think
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
This fact is an automatic fallout from the previous one. Man’s limited thinking can in no way equal God’s thought process. Yet, man is not to be discouraged from thinking. The problem comes when good people think that they have a monopoly on good thoughts. They cannot accommodate discussion with people who have opposite views about God.
They forget that the responsibility of believers is to represent God, not to compel others to accept their interpretations and revelations. The debate is not the best method of sharing thoughts about God. He is known to reveal himself in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12).
Matt Appling, pastor and teacher counsels that it is when believers “demonstrate God in a still, small voice, in the context of love and friendship that God can actually speak to people.”2
(5) God’s Kindness Is An Equal-Opportunity Offer
He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45
“The Jewish teachers . . . understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all. . . Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect.”3
This verse reminds good people not to participate in the kind of prejudice which is usually practiced against members of opposing political parties, religions or other cliques. It takes a genuinely good heart to be kind for kindness’ sake. Never forget that the purpose of kindness to others is to imitate the kindness of God to us.
Which of these facts has the greatest impact on your daily interaction with others?
1. Hartnett, Kevin: The Heavens: Intimate Moments with Your Majestic God, Thomas Nelson Publishers (June 2011)
2. Appling, Matt: Relevant, Does God Need Our Defense? (May 2013)
3. Henry, Matthew: Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on Matthew 5: 43-48, Copyright 2004 - 2016 by Bible Hub
© 2016 Dora Weithers