(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
Man doesn't get it. By nature, man tends to think that God is harsh and unkind. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God is extremely kind, and incredibly loving. Many people simply don't "realize that God's kindness leads you toward repentance." (Romans 2:4) God commands you to repent (see Acts 17:30) because He wants to pour His love into your heart. Until you repent, you still have only the "old wineskins." God doesn't pour the "new wine" of the Holy Spirit into old wineskins.
Jesus said, "No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins." (Mark 2:22)
Do you get it? Do you see the Father's kindness which is freely given in His Son? "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." (Titus 3:4) Talk about kind! God is overflowing in kindness.
Are you in the flow? Or is your heart still too hard to receive this river of living water, and this infusion of kindness. That's what happens when a person is converted. The kindness of God gets poured in, and then begins to flow out in the way you treat others.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness..." (Gal. 5:22) It's all there for the taking. "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Revelation 22:17) Living water for thirsty souls. That's it right there isn't it? There must be a thirst for the things of God. Jesus said, "If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37,38)
When man fails to grasp God's kindness, he refuses to develop a spiritual thirst for Christ. He refuses to see God for who He really is and what He has really done. Men choose to deny God's kindness in Christ as they can continue to live with a hard heart toward the Savior, and a closed mind toward their Creator. It is a moral choice. It is brought about by sin, and reinforced by an insistence that God surely cannot be as kind as the Bible makes Him out to be. When men believe lies about God, they remain hard-hearted and shut off from the living water which would change their worldview, and their attitudes.
When man fails to grasp God's kindness in sending His Son to save us, man will fail to reach out and grasp the hand of the Savior by faith. He will fail to trust Jesus for anything, let alone the salvation of his soul. When man doesn't get it, he wrongly assumes that God is "out to get him." In reality, God would love to save him. But some men refuse to be saved. They refuse to receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. How tragic.
There are some religious folks in the world, including some professing Christians, who don't seem to treat others with much kindness. But just because they profess to know God does not mean they actually know Him. "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:6) "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness." (1 John 1:9)
No wonder Jesus said the road to heaven is "narrow." (Matthew 7:13,14) Our world today certainly doesn't seem to be overflowing in kindness. We need Jesus more than ever. You need Him, and so do I. Without Him, how could we ever expect God to show us His kindness on Judgment Day?
But there is hope in the Person of Jesus Christ. Here is what God's love letter (the Bible) tells those who have accepted Christ:
"Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7)
God's kindness is shown to us in Jesus. Without Christ, you will never know the kindness of God. So do you want God to be kind to you, or would you rather face His wrath for the sins you have committed against Him? That is a decision only you can make for yourself.
It was on the cross where Christ bore the weight of God's wrath against sin. Jesus took your place on that cross, as well as mine. God's hatred for sin and His love for sinners were unleashed on the cross as "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son." (John 3:16) If you fail to understand what happened on the cross, you will likewise fail to grasp God's kindness.
So are you open to having God change your heart and your life forever? Perhaps this will be the day when you finally start to realize how much God loves you.