Posted by: sailingspirit | May 27, 2012

Why People Forgo the Love of God for His Justice

(This is a follow-up to the post “Are you using prayer backwards?”  Statements in this post will make more sense if you read that post first.)

A tool is a tool; it works the same for everybody.

I’m hard pressed to find anyone who thinks a screwdriver will work better for one person than another.  The screwdriver does not change when you hand it to someone else.  Their technique may differ, or their strength, but that’s all.  A tool is a tool.  Yet people seem to have it firmly in their heads that prayer works for some people really well and not for others.  They even go so far as to avoid using it, asking others to do it for them like a spiritual handyman.  This is silly.  No one ever says, “I don’t deserve to use a screwdriver.”  There is no sense of deserved-ness attached to hand tools.  If a situation warrants use of a screwdriver, you use one.  Get the job done.  The screw doesn’t care who turns it.  A tool is a tool; it works the same for everybody.  Learn to use it right, and it will work for you.  If you don’t have enough strength right now, get yourself a power tool–let the Holy Spirit give you the extra oomph you need.

Even upon learning that the gifts of God and of the Holy Spirit are made available to them, in fact are given to them when they are saved, many people don’t make use of them because they don’t believe they deserve to use them.  God just qualified them, but they want to over-ride God’s assessment and disqualify themselves. (If you read the previous post, you already understand why this is a problem.)  So I compare this to tightening a screw in order to show that it is not the user of the tool who matters, it’s whether the situation needing attention gets fixed or not.  Here’s another example: someone asks, “Does anybody have a light?”  The smoker cares nothing about whose lighter or match it is, only that it works.  They also don’t care much whether you get the flame on the first attempt or the fourth, so long as you get it going.  Here’s another example: you order food at a fast-food establishment.  The employee behind the register is wearing a name tag that says, “Trainee.”  You don’t really care who operates the register or hands you the tray of food, so long as he or she gets the order right and gives you the correct change.  But if the Trainee doesn’t get it quite right on the first try, you understand that it is part of the learning process and know that the next time you return, he or she will have gotten better at doing it well and quickly.  So you are more patient.  Why, then, can we not apply these same principles to the use of spiritual tools?

God gives us spiritual tools, such as prayer, because there are things in this world that need fixing.  Or building. Or whatever.  Situations that need attending to.  He cares less about who does it than it being left undone.  So if you are walking around with a whole set of tools (trench coat!) and you come across a situation, fix it!  And if you feel the need, go ahead and say “I’m just learning how to use this tool, but I’m willing to help.”  It’s the willingness to believe and faith in God’s ability that makes it work, anyway.  Go ahead and ask the Holy Spirit to give you some extra oomph.  There’s no rule that says you have to come across like a professional, or that you can’t ask for help!  Just keep it real.

Love and Justice: Delaying Progress

People struggle to believe that God wants to do good things for them, struggle to receive those things, and struggle to utilize them after they have received them.  Which means they cannot help themselves, and thereafter do not help others, so the whole system breaks down.  Why?  I’ve realized it is because they separate Love from Justice, and feel they have to choose between the two.  So they choose Justice, thinking they can get by without Love but cannot get by without Justice.  With all the lawlessness going on today, in every pocket of the world, it probably seems like an even more urgent decision.

But they’re wrong.

There is no separation between Love and Justice, and we will get to Justice faster if we opt for Love.

Allow me to explain: Consider any relationship that is truly, selflessly loving.  No one who truly loves another wants to see them subjected to injustice.  If a parent sees a child being bullied on the playground, the parent will go to the child’s defense.  A teen girl will defend her BFF against a rude boy.  An adult will defend an aging parent against predatory schemes.  Loving means wanting what is good and deflecting what is bad.  I think everyone understands that.  But here is the crux: they assess God’s intentions and actions against the human standard, rather than assessing people’s intentions and actions against the Holy standard.  (What happens if you look through the wrong end of a telescope?)  They are acting upon a small, or narrow-minded point of view.  They need to turn that scope around, to zoom out in order to appreciate the much larger picture.  They assume God does not love them if He does not prevent all injustice against them; they jump out of the plaintiff’s seat, into the Judge’s seat, and declare God guilty.  What they neglect to do is bring the 3rd party into the courtroom!  They accuse the wrong party.  God did not perpetrate the crime against them, Satan did!

God’s defensive response was to aim His actions at the root of the problem, and take care of that.  He disabled Satan AND, in addition, strengthened people’s defenses against him.  Having already done that, God’s response to people’s cries is “Satan can’t hurt you unless you let him.  Why did you let him?  I already gave you all authority over him and all power to keep him away.  Why aren’t you using them?”  As described in the previous post, we are not left vulnerable but equipped and to the extent we are willing to believe and get educated on using these tools, we will be effective.  To the extent we are effective, we can (as stated above) start helping each other, too.  Re-establish the whole network of defense.

English: Justice icon with crossed gavelsSo people are every which way frustrated, confused and suffering because they don’t know, don’t believe, or won’t use the love of God for its benefits.  Like the stubborn man who looks stupid with his tool, this can only be remedied through 1) greater education about what God has already done for us, because He loves us; 2) the greater people’s grasp of what God has done, the more easily they fall in love with Him;  3) to fall in love with Him makes them want to be loved by Him, too, so they become willing to receive His gifts simply because they are from Him.  And, because they now view themselves the way He views them, willing to believe they deserve those gifts;  4) upon receiving those gifts we are eager and confident to see the world through His eyes–identifying where His love is needed and fixing the situation with the appropriate tools.  And we do so with gentle mercy because we see the innocence in each person’s awkwardness.

You cannot love others completely until you have experienced what complete love is, and you can only experience that with God.  Fall in love with God first, then your whole worldview will look rosy, too.  Fall in love with God, and you can float through life like a bubbly bride, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.  There you go, evidence that love is still alive.  Love Him, Love yourself, then protect yourself because you are His and protect others because they are His, too.  Wear that trench coat proudly.  “They will know us by our love.”

 

(May I recommend reading “Copernicanism and Christianity: Self-Centeredness Chokes Grace, Empowerment and Obstructs Justice” as a follow-up to this article.)

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