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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 20, 2019

Do we have a wrong perception of God?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

There is a mentality among some Christians that says that whenever something bad happens to us, God is punishing us for our sins. This mentality is not new — it has existed for centuries.

Notice the question Jesus’ disciples asked about a man born blind: "Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:1-2). The disciples thought that this affliction could only be the result of sin. But Jesus contradicted that viewpoint: "Jesus answered, Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him" (verse 3).

On another occasion Jesus rejected this mentality by asking about the victims of a tower collapsing in Siloam: "Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no" (Luke 13:3-4).

It is true that God can give us a trial to correct us. However, if God wanted to punish us all the time for our sins, He would be pretty busy (Psalm 130:3)! Whoever thinks that God is behind every negative thing that happens to us has a false perception of God! By the way, it is also a dangerous perception of God, because it does not allow the possibility that it can be our own fault that we experience negative things — through wrong decisions or wrong actions.

God tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So God is aware of everything that happens in our life, and even though He may not directly cause something, He does allow it. And we also know that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Job’s experience is interesting in this regard. Job had not done anything to cause God to punish him with the loss of family members, property and health (Job 1-2), but the situation revealed something about Job that he would not have recognized otherwise. So the end result was positive.

Whatever we encounter in life provides an opportunity to ask: What can I learn from this?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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