Yesterday was week three of our teaching series…
If you’ve not been tracking with this series, we’ve been asking this question…
“How would I explain my God to my friend who doesn’t believe in Him?”
The first thing I would say to my friend is, “I don’t always understand Him!” (You can watch that lesson here).
Then I would say, “Even though I don’t always understand Him, there are some things I can know about my God”, and we talked about how to know some things about God. (You can watch that lesson here).
And then yesterday we said, “One of the things you can know about my God is that He is kind!” (You can watch that lesson here).
I think that sometimes we have a hard time experiencing God’s kindness because we can’t get past the chaos in the world and in our own lives. We see the violence and injustice and feel the disappointment and say, “If God is kind/caring/loving… how can these things happen?
We spent some time working through that question… which is a fair question by the way. (You can watch it here).
Then I said…
I believe that God is kind for three reasons:
- He says that He is kind. (Remember last week? The best way to know someone is to listen to what he says about himself… and listen to what others say about him.). God and others have said a lot about how kind He is.
- Jesus was kind (and we know, from last week, that Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God” – Colossians 1:15).
- I have experienced his kindness… you probably have too.
We looked at the story of a man who was living in a city that had been destroyed by violence. Additionally, he was experiencing frustration and disappointment with God. In the middle of this chaos he embraced the idea that God is kind. His name was Jeremiah. He wrote about this experience in a piece called, “Lamentations” (it’s a piece of literature in the Bible).
The chaos he was living in was comparable to what’s happening today in the Middle East under the cruel reign of ISIS. Check out what he said about those days.
In the middle of this headline violence and deep frustration Jeremiah found hope. Here’s what he said:
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
In this piece, there are three keys to experiencing God’s kindness… even when things are crazy around us! Here they are:
- Create space in your life to be quiet (see v. 28). God primarily communicates to us in moments of quietness! The louder you are… the less you will hear!
- Own the role you’ve played in your personal chaos! In other words, repent (see v. 29). Defensive and angry people are not likely to experience and enjoy God’s kindness! We looked at a proverb from Solomon that describes lots of us and identifies a reason we have a hard time experiencing God’s kindness: People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD. (Proverbs 19:3 NLT).
- Be humble (see v. 30)! An arrogant and demanding spirit is unlikely to experience God’s kindness.
At the end of the day what I would say to my friend who is wondering about God’s kindness is…
I have found that I experience and enjoy God’s kindness when I am silent, willing to repent, and humble.
And now some tweetables…
it is important that we wrestle with our doubts, but I also know this… I may never fully understand why God does what He does.
If I can’t understand my wife fully, how in the world can I expect to fully understand God?
I have received LOTS of second chances from God! In fact, if I were God… or you were God… I’d be a faded memory by now!
I know I deserved much worse than what I’ve been given.
We don’t do silence well… and therefore may miss much of what God is saying.
When I move away from God’s best ideas I find that chaos usually occurs.
People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD. (Proverbs 19:3 NLT)
An attitude of humility will set you up to experience God’s kindness.
- I have found that I experience and enjoy God’s kindness when I am silent, willing to repent, and humble.
If you missed the teaching you can watch/listen here, and I’d love to hear back from you… what is your experience with God’s kindness?