C.J. Mahaney says wrath is about vindictive anger, divine vengeance, or retribution. Many view God as an angry, vindictive deity. He is… but only as his anger applies to sin. God is perfectly holy, so he must respond by punishing sin. But more about that later.
For now, let’s talk about my feelings. I pretty much live according to what I feel. In other words, most of what I think is very subjective. What I feel tomorrow may be different than what I feel today. I’ll let you know about that tomorrow. And many times, I allow my feelings to tell me what’s true rather than letting what’s true change what I feel. It’s the way I live. It’s the way most of you live too.
We follow our hearts. That’s what we’re encouraged to do, right? If it makes us feel good, it’s okay. We deserve to feel good. The problem is, many times, feelings don’t match up with reality, and we shouldn’t trust them. We allow our feelings to dictate the behaviors and lifestyles that we think are okay, or that we want to be ok. Issues of morality become driven by what we feel rather than moral law. God’s law of right and wrong, absolutes written in the Bible.
As a result, our faith isn’t about objective truth, but rather our emotional state. So our feelings, even though they are supported mainly by lies we’ve convinced ourselves are true, become our final authority. How arrogant we are. Can we possibly think that what we feel is more authoritative than what we find in scripture? That our powers of discernment surpass those of an all-knowing, holy God? And we even think that, for some reason, God is OK with what we feel. He’s a good guy, so he must be sympathetic to our authoritative feelings. After all, he gave us free will. He lets us choose.
So that takes us back to the opening paragraph. I conclude that many times our subjective feelings lead us to sin. God hates sin. He directs his wrath toward sin. He punishes sin. We can trust our feelings or choose to believe the truth. How do you feel about that?
On the other side of the coin, Jeff, He can also accept us when we get mad at Him! When my oldest son, Scott, died in a single car accident (fell asleep at the wheel) when he was 19, I spent a lot of time being angry with God. In the end, He gave me time to work through my grief but it would be almost 30 years after Scott’s death that I was able to return to church to listen to whatever message he wanted to send me.
I have a lot in my past that I am not proud of and am still working on feeling worthy of His forgiveness.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Rich, thanks so much for being open and honest. I have no idea how I would have handled the loss of one of my kids. I don’t know if I have the spiritual maturity needed to trust God. I am so pleased that you continue to work through your pain. I will say that none of us is truly worthy. That’s why Jesus had to die for us. For by Grace are we saved. It’s God’s gift to us. Thanks again Rich.
Thanks, Jeff. May I use your thoughts in a sermon? I am scheduled to preach at small local church. I will give you credit , which with $5 will get you a cup of Coffee at Starbucks.
No credit required, Carl. Of course, you may use them. Full disclosure…these are mainly my thoughts but they are inspired by C.S. Lewis and CJ Mahaney. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about subjectivism. It is such an insidious belief, very central to the “Progressive Christianity” movement that’s going around today. Thanks so much.