It’s Narcissist Friday!
I recently had some serious work done on my car. Before the problem was fixed, it caused other problems. The fix cost about $300, but the problems it caused added another $400. One thing led to another.
And that’s life.
I am a simple person. I believe the story told in the Bible. I believe that God made the world good. Everything worked the way it was supposed to. I don’t know how long that lasted, but I believe that sin ended the harmony. From the point where sin entered the world, things have not been as they should be.
That change affected all of creation. Dangers and illnesses and troubles of all kinds came because of that change. Broken relationships, broken lives, broken climate, broken systems all stem from that point. Starting at that first sin, people have had to work for protection and provision. The world no longer works as it did.
The world is broken. People are broken. Trouble is part of that brokenness. It doesn’t come because God sends it. Nor are you the cause.
Legalists love cause and effect. They suggest that trouble comes not just because of that first sin, but because of your sin. If you are ill, they say you must have done something wrong. If someone hurts you, it must be your fault somehow. If you lose something, you didn’t deserve it in the first place.
In their minds and hearts, God is a cruel judge. When you do something wrong, you should expect punishment. And, conversely, if you experience trouble, it must be some punishment you deserve. God sees and judges the brokenness in you.
And so many people have gone through tragedies believing that they are somehow at fault. They don’t know what they did wrong, or maybe they can point to something, but they believe the trouble is what they deserve. It is hard for them to believe that God loves them.
Listen: God does love you. He doesn’t want to hurt you. He wants to give good to you. The world is broken. Bad things happen. Trouble is part of the struggle the world is in. You and I are caught in it just because we live here.
It isn’t your fault. Sure, you might have made some foolish decisions and, yes, there are consequences for bad decisions. But the tornado that destroyed your home was not sent by God because you did something bad. The flat tire, Covid, the unexpected expense or illness—these are not punishment.
People are broken, too. They make stupid or mean decisions and hurt you. That’s not your fault. That’s their fault. When someone abuses you or deceives you, that’s on them.
This is important. The truth is that God loves you. He is on your side. He walks with you through trouble and suffering. He is not a cruel judge looking for ways to punish your sins. In fact, He sent Jesus to take your sins away because He loved you.