A Father’s Point Of View

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The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”  (Genesis 6:5–6, NIV 1984).

The Musings of Others – Although “regret” is the customary translation of the Hebrew verb translated as “grieved” in the NIV, its basic meaning is to “be pained.” This is the sense here. As it hurts a loving parent to see the disobedience of his children, so it pained God to see how wicked men had become. (Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 15). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers).

My Musings – We often look at sin and its consequences on how it affects us.  Rarely, if ever, do we look at it from God’s perspective, other than it must make Him angry.  But this text suggests a much deeper affect, and reminds me of an experience I had in my teen years (old enough to drive, but still in High School).

A friend of mine was restoring an old (vintage) pick-up truck.  One front  fender was in much too bad of shape to restore, so it needed to be replaced.  Due to the age of the pick-up, not something you could order through a parts store.  My friend had located one at a junkyard miles away and asked if I could help him pick it up.  But we did not enter or leave through the front gate.  At a remote spot we went over the fence, retrieved the fender, hopped back over the fence and headed back.

I suppose I probably rationalized it in a number of different ways from my perspective (you can’t steal junk can you?), but deep down believed none of them. I was already feeling pretty guilty about it, but when I got back home I was confronted by my dad. He had found out what my friend and I were up to, and in no uncertain terms reinforced my guilt.  There was no yelling.  My dad had a presence about him that you knew when he meant business. He didn’t need to yell. I remember asking him if he was mad, which is what I expected.  His response was much worse.  “No Steve, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed in you.”  I would have preferred mad.  If you’ve read any of my blogs about my dad and our relationship, you can probably understand why his disappointment in me was the worst type of punishment I could have received.

When the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become…[t]he LORD was grieved…and his heart was filled with pain.”  I hurt my dad that day, and I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel, and how I knew I never wanted to disappoint him again like that.  It meant that much to me.

My Advice – Wouldn’t it be nice if we always felt that way about sin and How God is grieved every time we give in to sin?  Now that’s a relationship!

The Elephant In The Room

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My Musings – “People primarily respond not to what we do but how we’re being.  It’s not that we do the wrong thing necessarily, but that we do what we do – maybe even if it is the ‘right’ thing – the wrong way.” (Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute).

My great fear for the Church today is that a lot of us spend a lot of time and energy “doing” Christianity, while failing to “be” Christ-like.  We pride ourselves with saying, supporting and doing the right things (the modern-day equivalent of a tenth of our mint, dill and cumin), but neglect to be those things (the all-time equivalent of, “justice, mercy and sacrifice“).  In the process, we are well on our way to alienating an entire generation from “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Given the appropriate “salt and light” there are many who would love to “be” like Christ, but are afraid of “doing” like “Christians.”  But unfortunately, the “salt” in many of us leaves a bad taste, and the “light” shining from us artificial and not a true reflection of its Source.

My Advice – There is nothing wrong with saying, supporting and doing the right things.  But we must practice these without neglecting “justice, mercy and sacrifice.”  Otherwise, we are merely a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  Distracting noise and “fake news” in a world searching for the truth.  Woe to us, the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.

Don’t just do, be.  People still might not acknowledge the truth, but what they are rejecting will be plain.