The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. … Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man! -- Proverbs 15:3, 11
Friday, August 15, 2014
Open to Heaven
When I listen to people talk, I find that a lot of our complaints and concerns seem to revolve around fairness and justice. Sometimes we worry that our efforts are ignored and our motives misunderstood. The other thing that bothers us is when people we think are probably acting from wrong motives are not exposed and their deeds thwarted.
It also comes as a shock to us that instant karma doesn’t always work in our favor. We do a favor for someone, and they either forget about it or even turn against us. We do our best to be honest and fair, yet the world takes advantage of us. After a few rounds of getting stabbed in the back, that whole turning the other cheek thing has a lot less appeal.
I think we ought to make a full disclosure when asking people to follow Christ. Jesus did it. He said the world has hated Me, and it is going to hate you if you follow Me. We need to tell our youth in the churches and new Christians not to expect favorable treatment or even equity in their dealings with others just because they are Christians. Don’t expect it from the world, certainly, but don’t be surprised if those calling themselves Christians turn on you when it is to their advantage. God is the only One you can trust absolutely.
Our fair treatment will come from God. He is the source of all justice, of all goodness, of all retribution, recompense, and compensation. He will reward us not just for our successes and accomplishments but for our efforts and our faithfulness and our obedience – because He knows.
It was scary to me that God knew my thoughts – it’s probably even scarier to God. All my evil imaginings lie open before the eyes of the Lord. The Spirit of God knows the wickedness in the depths of my heart. He knows the real reasons – whether cowardice, lust, laziness, or vindictiveness – behind my façade of pleasant words. Then one day I realized that if He knows the bad side, He also knows the good side. He knows the times that I have set aside my own preferences to help someone or given more than I could spare or pushed myself past the limit, sacrificed for another. He knows the times that I was terrified yet kept going. And, while, despite my best efforts, the bad would outweigh the good, Jesus has His thumb on the scale. In the end, it is His righteousness that will deliver me and not my own.
The beauty of it all is that we can be perfectly honest with God. There are things about me that I cannot tell to anyone, but God knows. My sins are forgiven and forgotten, and the burden of all has been taken away. Still there are things that have happened that weren’t as much moral failures as they were just horribly embarrassing. God knows about those. He knows what I was thinking when I did something stupid. He knows the sickness and self-loathing I felt when I took the easy way out a few times, the relief I felt when a potential challenge passed me by. All that stuff, no matter what it is or what it was, we don’t have to pretend or forget to protect our “image”. With God there is nothing we can hide behind, but there’s also nothing we need to hide.