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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apologizing for God

I have been convicted recently, and I want to share my struggle.  I can admit that I do think it is a sin issue, although I don't think I would have ever considered it such even a month ago.  However, the reality is that this struggle has hurt my relationship with God, and hurt my testimony to those around me.

I have been feeling the urge to apologize for God.

Sitting in a room with eager learners seeking real answers about the real God of the universe, I have felt tempted to apologize for what we find.

It's not that I am refusing to teach the truth of Scripture--I am much too convinced of the truth and accuracy of Scripture to do that...


...but what I seem to have lost conviction about was the goodness of God.

At the root, its about shame.

Shame, embarrassed to share the hard truths of the Bible.  The truth that the Bible tells the story of a God that is beyond our expectations and understanding.  The truth that this God does things that I can't defend or argue as good.  It has made me squirm to talk about how God has reacted to sin in the past, what he has called sin for all time, and so many more things that I can't begin to describe it.

And at the root is my culture, my generation.  Though better trained to know the truth, I am equally able to drown in the culture around me.  I find it difficult to separate myself, my identity, from the culture that surrounds me. The culture of tolerance and timidness; sarcasm and sexuality; activism and apathy.  This is MY culture, and it has a tremendous impact on my life.

And it broke me.  It led me into the lie that I can decide whether God is good or not, that I am somehow qualified to criticize the character of God.  The God who has created ten thousand suns and beyond, who knit my brain together and allowed it to think and work--I am going to try to criticize this?  I am going to try to apologize for his actions?

____________

A student sat in my office confessing a struggle; a sin.  Looking at me, they sought God's word on this issue.  What does the book say?  What does it reveal?

And I hesitated.

And that is when I noticed the destruction inside me.  That is when I resolved to make a change.  That is when I prayed for forgiveness, apologizing to God for how I had avoided Him instead of apologizing for Him to those around me.

And I felt his goodness around me, surrounding me and wrapping me in his truth and justice and goodness and love.

For part of the great truth of the gospel is that he is never far away, even when we try to make Him so.

And as I continue on this journey of being in love with the actions of God, the teachings of God, and the character of God, I ask--will you pray for me?

Have you ever found yourself apologizing for God?  What caused your hesitancy? I hope to hear from you!

9 comments:

  1. i love you telling your heart straight out. so much beauty in that courage and seeking of truth.

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    1. Thank you Tara, and it is nice to meet you!

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  2. I appreciate you sharing what God showed you...it can be a struggle sometimes...it is how the serpent tempted Eve, he got her to doubt God's goodness...praying God continues to reveal more of His goodness and character to you, and to me.

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    1. Thank you Dolly, and I hadn't even considered the connection to the sin of Eve. Really good point!

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  3. This year I've been struggling so much with believing in the goodness of God. But I'm not sure my faith is strong enough to feel shame - shame indicates that you believe there IS a right answer, and I really admire that. I haven't even gotten that far. I believe God is there, and I know somewhere inside of me that he is Good, but I think it takes a strong faith (like yours) to defend OR to apologise for it.

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    1. Kati, I am so sorry that you are struggling with your faith in God's goodness. I want to encourage you to seek out someone smart, thoughtful, and kind that you can talk to about it. Several discussions with one of my closest friends in ministry have helped me greatly.

      Thanks for visiting, it is nice to get to know you a little bit!

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  4. oh wow. yes. for i am not ashamed of the gospel... very convicting post, matt. i am going to share this on fb.

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    1. Thank you Emily. A compliment coming from you means so much--you are both a writing and a Christian inspiration in my life.

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