For the next series of Gemz I will look at the theme of Levelling Up – “Success or Perfection” VS Maturity” We will look at Success or Perfection but from God’s point of view. I think you already sense that this is going to be different. It would have to be, wouldn’t it? Remember “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam 16:7) God taught me years ago not to look with a human look but to learn to look at things the way He sees them.
Over the last year I have encountered many people who have struggled with what has happened to them. They have lost loved ones, fallen ill, or lost their job through no fault of their own, their financial situation has taken a turn for the worse and they are now in danger of losing their house. Their friends look at their situation with human eyes and give them the kind of advice Job friends gave him. [I must confess I don't understand people who think that giving advice like Job’s friends gave is acceptable.] Job’s friend’s advice was just plain wrong. God said so. Yet we keep giving that kind of advice to our friends and family and loved ones. Stop already. Learn to see with God’s eyes.
Many think that when “premature death” comes or someone falls ill (and there have been a number of heavy hits for us over this last year) then it must be because someone did something wrong. They look to apportion blame. If they can’t find a third party to blame (like a doctor or someone they feel was responsible) then they focus on the person who is ill or has died. “You must have sinned.” I have news for you – ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
On the other hand many seem to think bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. I have had that question asked of me so many times in the last year. Hey wake up to reality brothers and sisters. We live in a fallen world. The world is groaning and waiting for its redemption. Bad things will happen; don’t blame those who are suffering because bad stuff happened to them. If you do you are looking for a simplistic formula of success for an easy life. Add the right ingredients and all things will work well for you. It ain’t necessarily so. You need a strong dose of reality – spiritual reality. Jesus told you in this world you will have tribulation and trouble.
Spare a thought for Pastor Philip Mantofa whose church in Surabaya lost 45 members on AirAsia flight 8501 in March 2015. I guess Philip’s sin must have been huge to cause 45 people to die? Or maybe the 45 people collectively sinned and that’s what caused it. [My questions are rhetorical in order to show you the nonsense of that thinking.]
We are so used to looking at the heroes and wanting to be like them. Nothing bad happens to heroes: they always come out on top. The heroes of faith do wonderful mighty exploits like raising the dead to life, conquering new lands, being willing to sacrifice everything for God. These are the men and woman we want to emulate because they are the winners and heroes are always winners, aren’t they?
I will share a surprising biblical answer to that question with you in next week's Nugget. In the meantime stop giving bad advice to good friends.