Thursday, May 21, 2009

Someone asked me recently if our sinfulness makes God sad. This is a common question and one that if we are not careful can obscure the love of God and the freedom from condemnation. For example if we say yes then the conclusion is that God is sad about me when I sin. Since I sin often God is often sad. This is dangerous because of the view of God's nature it can easily lead to.

God is forgiving, we see this most poignantly when Christ is on the cross and he seeks forgiveness for those who crucified him. God is mercy, love and forgiveness. God also suffers when we suffer, God is compassion. God enters into the suffering of all humanity and much of that suffering is a result of our choices which are blinded by sin.

In terms of our relationship with God our sins are not a barrier to union and intimacy with God, Christ made this so. Therefore I think it is more helpful to ask the question not about what makes God sad, but what makes us sad, what moves our hearts.

For example I say a picture recently of an infant in Africa who is starving to death because his mother doesn't have the nutrition needed to produce breast milk. (here is the link) It is more helpful to check my own heart because it can move me to action, to enter the suffering and work for a just world.

If my heart has been touched by the Love of God then it impossible not to respond in love and action. Compassion demands action. The source of compassion is the wellspring of God's love in Christ. If I am still seeing God as being unhappy with my limitedness then I am not touching the transforming reality of unlimited compassion for all and a heart for justice.

We can trust the transforming love of God in Christ, we do not need to try to make it a law, the freedom of Christ will result in a fruitful life.

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