Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene.
All too often when I hear people speak or read comments on the web, I want to say, “Really?”
It is not because of the message or point of view that they are expressing as we live in a country and a province where free speech and the exchange of ideas is encouraged.
My mind defaults to the comment, “Really?” when I hear phrases or see acronyms that disrespect God.
Why is it that our society has normalized the use – of the use of God, the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit as expressions of surprise, frustration, or a normalized part of speech? The level of disrespect goes beyond a limited vocabulary, a bad influence, or the vernacular of the group within which you are talking with.
This level of disrespect exceeds the realm of humanity as it is a direct insult to the Creator of the universe.
Why is it we are more likely to diss God than the prophetic leaders of other religions? I believe it has to do with a greater respect for those leaders and a greater fear of reprisal or rebuke from their followers than a reprisal from God.
In the fifth Chapter of the Book of Acts, we read the story of a couple who intentionally lied to the leadership of the church. In verses, 1-11, we read a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a piece of land and decided to give a portion of the proceeds to the early church. The problem was not the donation but the intent to deceive.
In the preceding chapter, a man named Barnabas had sold a piece of property and given the total proceeds to the church as a gift to God. He was praised for his sacrificial giving. Ananias and Sapphira wanted this form of recognition as well.
The problem was they told everyone that it was the complete proceeds when it was not. God was not fooled or pleased with this dishonesty.
In fact, the Bible is filled with stories of people who have acted dishonestly with God – thinking that God would not notice or was unable to hold them to account. They found out that they were wrong.
The Bible reminds us in Galatians 6:7: “Stop being deceived; God is not to be ridiculed. A person harvests whatever he plants”.
The lesson for us this week is that we need to take God seriously and with great respect. Although you cannot see Him, He is there and will hold you to account for every word and action. Evil done, even under the direction of others, is still evil and when done against the innocent or vulnerable is a major offence against God. He holds each of us personally responsible for our actions.
A stern warning to all those who go to church and call themselves Christians: “If you adopt a practice of subverting justice or practicing evil – you may receive the rewards of this world but the condemnation of God. Your church attendance and proclamations mean nothing if your actions are deceitful and directed against the vulnerable for your own gain.”
He is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also a God of justice.
Please think before you try to play games with God by your actions.