Yep, I said it! But believe me, I know what you are thinking when you read that title because I felt it too when I heard it for myself not so long ago! It’s a bitter pill to swallow, in fact a downright painful slap to the face but also a necessary truth.
It’s the first instinct as human beings, when we know we are doing something not quite right, to rationalise our behaviour. Like turning up late for a friend because you know she expects you to be late or eat your sisters food in the fridge because chances are she will get over it 10 mins later. These are minor irritations(once you get over the initial burn!) but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about right? Then we have the bigger ticket items like sex before marriage-“God is love, we are showing each other love”, drinking to get drunk-“It’s just a bit of fun”, cheating on a partner-“well if he treated me better, I wouldn’t have to! All of these things, we can accept as unjustifiable when we measure them up against what God teaches.
So what are you talking about then, I hear you ask? I’m talking about the things in our character, that define us, that we know we need to change, but we put them off, talking about how difficult it is. The rudeness, the bad attitude, the fake humbleness, the unreliability, the short temper, the obesity, the selfishness etc, etc. “God understands that it’s hard for me to change this thing because it has been part of me for so long that it’s going to take time for me to change. He understands if I keep going back to it, I will just try harder next time it comes up.”
Usually the person we try to justify this behaviour too, to is ourselves! We are not ignorant to our own flaws and if we are and its pointed out to us, we should strive to change it. God doesn’t understand when we try to justify this behaviour in any way, shape or form. He feels hurt, pain and anger but he doesn’t understand. Think about it, don’t you get frustrated when you have to tell someone- work colleague, relative or friend- the same thing over and over again? How many times do you take it before you lose your cool or patience?
Malachi 2:17 The Message version says, You make God tired with all your talk. “How do we tire Him out?” you ask. By saying “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying , “Judgement? God’s too nice to judge.”
When Malachi said this, he wasn’t talking to strangers; he was talking to God’s children. People who knew the drill, knew what they were supposed to do. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after writing this book God took a 400 year hiatus from the children of Israel!
God doesn’t expect us to change overnight, its just not possible. What He does expect is that we actively go and do something about the changes we need to make. Selfish? Give some of your time to someone or something else. You don’t have time? Make it!! Short temper? Count to 10, hum a tune, pinch yourself but hold that red mist back. If you fail the first time, pick yourself straight back up and try again.
DO NOT GIVE UP!!
Change is possible, it’s not always easy but the after effects can be far reaching into many areas of your life. When you have changed one thing, then it will be easier to move onto the next. We have to always be willing to grow and change. This kind of behaviour God understands
The ways of right living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine. But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker-travellers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces (Proverbs 4 18-19 The Message)