“It’s not fair!” is a cry that you’ll hear even from the tiniest tots.
Equally instinctive is the motion of little arms held up expectantly for a hug.
The need for love and justice appears to be a fundamental human reflex.
And to me, the balance between the two is such a critical one.
When I was first told about the God who loves me and is ever ready to forgive all my sins if I repented of them, something deep in my human spirit responded to the conviction of His Holy Spirit. But as I fell in the category of what’s generally regarded as a “good girl”, I didn’t really comprehend the great divide between a holy God and sinful Man—sin being defined as the transgression of Creator God’s law and absolute moral standards whether in deed or thought.
Nonetheless, the concept of God as Love and a focus on the New Testament (the second part of the Bible that starts with the life of Jesus Christ) sustained my faith from my secondary school days right through to my early working years as a TV reporter. But that didn’t give me a complete picture of God Almighty, of whom Proverbs 15:33 advises, “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom.” So once faced with the demands of balancing a high-adrenalin newsroom career with being a wife and raising two young hyperactive sons, partial truth reduced me to becoming what’s known as a “backslidden” or nominal Christian. There’s a warning by Jesus to this group in Revelation, the last book of the Holy Scriptures.
“I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realise and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” – Rev 3: 15-17
Fast-forward my 30s which I shared about in “Hope Springs Eternal”. In my 40s, I devoured the Old Testament (its first book Genesis explains the creation of our universe and the first man and woman) and found that so much of it made sense to me in this phase of my life. The Psalms expressed every emotion that I could ever feel and echoed every cry that I could ever utter!
The holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy and goodness of Father God reverberated through the pages of the front part of His inspired Word. And when I combined all that with His love, grace and compassion epitomised by His Son Jesus in the New Testament, a richness and wholeness came through that had escaped me previously.
I don’t know who first said this, but “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”
If I believe only that my God is Love, I would not have the assurance that He’ll be fair, for love alone—at least as far as we humans know it—can lead to biased, illogical or plain bad decisions. On the other hand, if I know my God only as being Holy or Righteous, I wouldn’t be at all certain that He can truly understand or have compassion on Mankind, a race riddled with inconsistencies and frailties.
But when the two are combined in a perfect balance, therein lies my security and equanimity.
(Friviolous aside: I’ve known the word “equanimity” for ages but this is the first time I’m using it in a sentence! It means mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain.)
To be certain of justice from the Impartial One whose standards are perfect and yet whose love is great and mercy is rich—I can safely put my trust in a God like this. No wonder we are told that, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” –Genesis 18:25b. That’s one of my favourite Bible verses found on my introductory page “Me In A Nutshell” . Another is Psalm 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face.”
In a court case, witnesses are asked to precede their sworn testimony with words similar to these, “I promise that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” In John 8:31-32, Jesus told all those who believed that He’s the Son of the Living God, “If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” That is why my email signature looks like this:
Showers of Blessings!
David Ravenhill, a Christian minister and author taught my church recently that when we pray, we need to believe three things about God—His “Presence, Passion and Power”. David’s illustration goes like this (non-verbatim)—”If I’m walking alone on the streets and a huge muscleman wants to attack me, a friend who’s equally well-developed (Power) and loves me (Passion) but isn’t there at that time (No Presence) wouldn’t be of any help to me. If another friend suddenly turns up (Presence) and is more than willing to rush over to assist me (Passion) but he’s much smaller than my would-be attacker (hence No Power), both of us could end up getting hurt despite his kind intentions!”
A God who is forever the ideal combination of Presence, Passion and Power provides the perfect balance that any of us could ever want or need.
– Weary and wonder when the sun will shine on you?“
“So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word. And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.” –Hebrews 10: 23-24
– Feel misunderstood or unappreciated?
“For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” –1 Samuel 16:7b ~ “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” –Galatians 6:9 ~ “For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.” –Proverbs 23:18
– Treated badly or taken advantage of?
Forgive, as God has so freely forgiven us. For Christians, our role model is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Perfect One who was betrayed, wrongly accused, slandered, rejected and crucified. Yet Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” –Luke 23:34
“For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” –Matthew 6:14
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in Heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” –Mark 11:25
Pulpit Commentary – Biblesoft (Useful Link: http://www.biblehub.com)
“The pious writer urges the injured person to commit his cause to the Lord, not in the hope of seeing vengeance taken on his enemy, but in the certainty that God will help him to bear the wrong and deliver him in His own good time and way.” Hillel (the ancient Jewish sage and scholar) enjoins, “Do not thou that to thy neighbour which thou hatest when it is done to thee.” In modern lingo, it means that whatever you find hateful, do not do to your fellow man. As Jesus taught in His famous Sermon on the Mount, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who speak evil about you (those who accuse you falsely, mistreat you, spitefully use you) and persecute you.” –Matthew 5:44
In The Image Of God
I believe in asking God for His perspective on each person I encounter. He alone knows their entire life journey that has shaped them thus far. Ellel Ministries uses a very enlightening skit to demonstrate this. A friend or colleague may seem to over-react to what many consider a harmless remark. But if we could get a glimpse into what has built up over a long period of time, we would realise that for that person, it’s the “last straw that breaks the camel’s back” causing their cup to “run over” but in a negative way. (In Psalm 23:5, the phrase ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ means “God provides more than enough to meet my needs.”)
Easy anger or extreme shyness could be a defence mechanism against past multiple hurts and abuse while brash arrogance and workaholism could well mask insecurity and a relentless need to prove oneself acceptable through continuous achievement. That’s not to say that bad behaviour is acceptable but let’s take a little time to look beyond the surface and it’s likely that our response will be the better for it.
The following may seem fantastical if you don’t believe that the Bible was written through the inspiration of God but I really hope you’ll finish reading this paragraph. God has exposed the strategy of satan the fallen angel turned devil—he was once the high ranking archangel Lucifer who was kicked out of Heaven for rebellion and pride, wanting to be worshipped “like the most High”. No longer able to enjoy his former status and intimacy with the Almighty and with Hell as his ultimate eternal jail, he bitterly resents Father God’s offer of restored relationship with fallen man made possible through Jesus’ freewill sacrifice of Himself for us. Christ revealed that while He came “so (we) can have real and eternal life, more and better life than (we) ever dreamed of”, satan “the thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy”. And therein lies the root cause of many of Mankind’s perpetual problems. Bible references: Isaiah 14:14, Matthew 25:41 and John 10:10.
If you have questions concerning what you’ve just read, here’s a great link that you might like to check out:
He Is – First Assembly of God
Lyrics/Music: Jeoffrey Benward, Jeff Silvey
This is so beautiful! I’ve watched it 5 times in the last 24 hours alone. Would have loved being a part of the orchestra or choir. “He Is” describes Jesus revealed through all the books of the Bible. Amazing!
(Thanks to Rena for introducing me to this)
Jesus Messiah & Hallelujah, Praise The Lamb – First Assembly of God
Lyrics/Music for Jesus Messiah: Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves
Lyrics/Music for Hallelujah, Praise The Lamb: Bill & Gloria Gaither