I recently listened to Love Rejoices in the Truth, part of Darin Hufford's first Love Series. This series is the teaching that is the basis for his book The God's Honest Truth.
In it, Darin tells the story of a young man who was part of the church he pastored at one time. This young man had drifted away and gotten involved in sin. When Darin spoke to the young man’s father, the man assured him that this was a temporary glitch in his son’s life and that his son would return so he wasn’t worried. Darin explained that this father could speak this way because he knew his son’s heart and knew that really wasn’t who he was. Instead of focusing on behavior he was was looking at his son's heart and he saw only good there. That story perfectly describes what Father has been teaching me.
Recently, I had a discussion with someone about a friend of mine. This particular person was making judgments about my friend’s motivation. Knowing this friend’s heart, I knew that what was said was not true so I shared from my perspective as a friend. Thinking about it later, I realized how important it is to know someone’s heart. It’s easy to make judgements regarding a person’s motivations based on their behavior but unless we know the persons heart, we’ll probably be wrong. Things aren’t always the way they seem and we can assume wrong motivations when the motives are pure and good.
This can also work in the opposite direction when we assume good motives when the heart is filled with evil intent. As I thought about this, I thought of the time I spent in an abusive church. I remember talking to the pastor and seeing how warm his eyes were as they filled with love and concern for me and how gentle was his voice. That lasted until the day that I sent him an email questioning something that had been done in the church under his authority. Then, I saw a drastic change in his behavior. He called me to discuss the email and instead of a gentle voice, I felt like I had heard the hissing of a snake. It became clearer and clearer to me that the warm eyes and gentle voice masked a heart that was filled with wrong motivations.
I believe this explains, at least in part, our skewed perception of God. We look at the God of the OT and see a God who seems to delight in evil and yet part of the 1st Corinthians scripture that Darin uses as the basis of the love series says that love doesn’t delight in evil. So, if God is love, then his motivation can’t just be to whack people when we get him mad at us. Somehow, his motivation has to be tied in with love.
I haven’t figured it all out yet and maybe I never will but I’m seeing more and more the importance of knowing Father’s heart because until we do we'll continue to see him as a big angry God who's always looking for a reason to whack us. Yet, the truth is that things aren’t always what they seem and what may look like anger is really his love being displayed in order to bring healing and correction.
I want to know the truth. I want to know my Father's heart. I want to be so convinced that he loves me that no matter what I see, I'll not misjudge his character. I want to know that what may appear to be judgement is actually the actions of a loving Father bringing correction to a daughter that he loves.