|Kindness and Goodness||Mercy and Long Suffering|
This is an ambitious project for me and I feel a bit as though I am rushing in where angels fear to tread. I do believe that this is something the Lord is impressing on me to do, even though I feel woefully inadequate. So, be patient with me and ignore my mistakes, but please sift the good grain you find out of any chaff. I believe the Lord gives us a good indication of His nature, His personality in Galatians 5:22 as He inspired the listing of the fruit of His Spirit. I am taking that as my guide.
Even within the Christian world there seems to be many opinions about the ‘nature’ or ‘personality’ of God. Most, if not all, Christians claim that they believe that He is ‘LOVE’ but then attribute all kinds of horrible things to Him. I can easily imagine the skillful writer, C.S. Lewis, writing sarcastically about those who claim that God is love and at the same time claim that He causes all manner of pain, suffering, violence, wars, strife, and mayhem as a judgment for those who offend Him. Surely, for anyone to hold both these views at the same time demands that the word ‘LOVE’ must be defined much differently than the apostle Paul did in I Cor. 13.
Yet, God IS love. He declares Himself to be love and He does not bear false witness. He also declares that His love, agape, is given freely, abundantly, and lavishly to those who do not deserve it. So, which is it? Is God a monster just waiting to punish and destroy or is He truly a loving Father? It has been my observation and experience that those who know Him best and longest have come to know Him as tender, gentle, good, and kind. In Galatians 5:22 we read a listing of some ‘fruit of the Spirit’. What Spirit? Whose Spirit? Most of us believe that this fruit is the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit working through our Spirit, soul, and body. I believe that this fruit gives us an illustration not only of what we can be but also of who He is.
Many claim that since God is all wise, all knowing, and all powerful He is then responsible for, and behind, all things including the evil, vicious, and horrible. That is an extremely simplistic point of view. Father God has chosen to establish His creation in a certain way, for His own purposes. One purpose is that man, unique amongst all His creatures, shall be free to choose whom they will love and serve. This demands that they will also be permitted to NOT love and serve Him. Father God permits wrong and evil choices but He never enables nor empowers evil. Indeed, He offers to the evildoers complete and instantaneous forgiveness as well as restitution when they bring remorse and repentance to Him. God is never the source or energy behind evil.
God stands in the dock accused of all manner of evil. Why did God allow that accident? Why did God allow my loved one to die of cancer? Why am I ______(fat, dumb, poor etc)? And on and on it goes. These are lies and all who are spiritual know the source of all lies. How rarely do we hear God being accused of doing good, being merciful, generous, patient, etc. Let us work together to brush away the cobwebs of lies and deceit to discover the truth about what OUR Father is really like. What is the true personality of our Father, God?