i am reading "searching for God know's what" by donald miller and although i am fewer than 50 pages into it, miller mentioned something that is sitting pretty heavily on my heart. he talks about how there was a time in his life where he became upset with God, only to realize later that it wasn't God who he was upset with but the individuals who falsely and improperly represented Him - individuals who proclaimed it was God's hatred for mankind, a particular sexual orientation, or a specific ethnicity that caused 9/11; or, individuals who take bits and pieces of the Bible to twist for their own use, negating the actual message proclaimed within the scripture itself. How he became upset with individuals who misrepresented what he knew to be true.
On Easter Sunday a group of protesters gathered outside my church, picketing the message proclaimed within the walls. Signs and posters stating, "Jesus Kills" and "This church leads to hell" were held in the hands of men and women wearing "God loves you" t-shirts. Naturally, an intense emotion of protection rose up in my heart. How could someone falsify the very nature of God. I became intensely protective, knowing that it was God's Word, His nature, that has physically healed, saved, and rescued my friends and family, that has protected me and provided for me. And these individuals are speaking against the very nature of my God. But, almost as suddenly as the intense emotion of protection rose up it was quieted. Because, they didn't get it. They didn't understand. They didn't know the nature of God because they didn't know God. They hadn't spent time with Him, in His Word. Because it is an
intimate relationship with God, a knowing of His nature and His Word, that allows us to understand who we are and what we are called to be. it allows for a changing of ourselves to represent who He is. And they had never experienced it.
So often it is easy for us to become upset with those around us, to criticize, point the finger, judge and condemn, hold another individual to a standard we have set for them. We've always been told growing up, or I would assume most have at some point in their lives, that we are to not speak of others unless it is something nice; some have even been told that we are to pray for others, even those who don't show kindness to us. This is hard because it isn't natural. Nothing about this seems or is fun or exciting or seemingly worth our time. But, what if we began to understand that those in our lives or who cross our path don't mean to intentionally hurt or criticize or condemn us, but instead they just haven't come to a place where they get it yet. They haven't learned enough or experienced enough of God's nature to allow a change to take place in their lives. And, until they do, they might not act like Him. But, we can. As hard as it may be naturally, we can.