Why does it come so naturally to think the worst about others?
Let’s say a friend is supposed to pick you up so you can go out to dinner together. You’ve been looking forward to it all day and the time of her arrival finally comes…and passes. Twenty minutes later you get a text: “Sorry, running behind, be there soon.”
Your mind gets fired up. She’s just now texting? Where was this text twenty minutes ago? I’ve been counting on this night out all week and she doesn’t even have the decency to be on time. Doesn’t she want to hang out with me?
She finally pulls into the driveway and you hop in the car. She smiles at you and says hello, but you can tell she’s been crying. “Sorry I’m late,” she says. “I was running a couple minutes late because Jason and I got into an argument, and then I got pulled over on the way here since I was trying to make up lost time. Now I have a ticket to deal with…anyway, I’m really glad we’re going out tonight. I could use some friend time.”
Oops. For a second you’re overwhelmed with feelings of your own jerkdom. You mentally scold yourself for doubting your friend and then move on with your evening, comforting your friend and having a fun dinner out.
I’ve realized it’s much easier to think the best about someone when you’re in person. When we’re hearing the account from the person themselves and they’re standing right in front of us, looking into our eyes, our instincts lean more toward understanding, rather than blame.
Isn’t it the same with our relationship with God?
When we are distant from God it’s easy to blame him for all the wrong in our lives. We get a little too comfortable and then we get lazy. We know he’s our friend, we know he’s there for us, and so we don’t lean in to him as much.
We read the Bible…some. We pray…some. We certainly haven’t forgotten about him but we haven’t been actively pursuing him either.
And when something bad happens, as it inevitably does, our world is rocked. So we turn to God. But instead of falling into his arms of love, we start blaming. Why would you let this happen? Why wouldn’t you stop this person from doing that thing? Why…?
But when we’re walking in stride with him, in person, we remember who he really is. We remember his unchangeable character and we give him the benefit of the doubt.
When we make the effort to stay intimately connected with God each and every day, that’s when our trust in him is unshakable. We know who God is. We know his character and his promises, and we don’t doubt his goodness or his love for us.
And then, when he’s standing right in front of us, looking into our eyes, we believe him when he says: I’m sorry this bad thing happened. I hate it too. But I love you more than you could ever know and I’ll never leave you. And even though Earth isn’t perfect, Heaven is. And it’s waiting on you. I’m waiting on you. And I’m for you—always.
And maybe…just maybe next time, whether in dealing with friends or with God, our first instinct will be to trust instead of blame.
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