In everyone's life, a person once close to us deeply wounded, insulted, and offended us. For any person to "be nice" because he or she concluded it was the "right thing to do" is an offensive, detestable, obnoxious act. In a relationship, when "I" am not valued as a person, "I" am deeply offended and feel horribly exploited.

The deeper the relationship "I" thought "I" shared with the offender, the more offensive his or her act is. When anyone is intimately involved in a deeply personal relationship with a person who treats us in that manner, we are deeply offended and wounded. Love quickly becomes disgust. What were joyful acts become contemptible acts that produce disgust. Additional "acts of kindness" performed as "the right thing to do" are now contemptible behavior [a significant reason for the difficulty in restoring broken marriages.]

Can you explain key differences between Jehovah God and idols? Consider one of the many. God emphasized this key difference to Israel in the ten commandments: "I am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:5). This is stated in God's rejection of idolatry. Understanding God being "jealous" is directly related to understanding why idolatry insults God.

Idolatrous gods were typically capricious, disinterested, easily offended, and had to be pacified to keep them happy or to receive their favor. Jehovah God is attentive to His people, not capricious. He is patiently interested in our existence. Our challenge is to maintain a profoundly appreciative, respectful love relationship with Him, not to pacify Him. The more one realizes the magnitude of God's love, the more he or she loves God.

In Hosea 6:1-3, Hosea informed Israel they genuinely had upset God. God was disgusted with them! They reacted to God as if He were an upset idol. "We must calm God down! He is upset with us, but if we just do the right things He will settle down. In fact, He will be nice to us. That is certain!" The result: their attitude deepened the alienation by increasing the insensitivity of their insult.

We should belong to God! He made us! He is our origin physically and spiritually! Humanity began in a deeply personal relationship with God (Genesis 1:8). God wants that relationship back! He does not want us to tolerate Him, or pacify Him, or put up with Him! He wants us to love Him in the manner He loves us!

When in our lives or worship, we lovelessly, faithlessly "go through the motions" to keep God from being "upset with us," we infuriate God. Our acts, though perhaps correct within themselves, are a profound insult. Have you read Isaiah 1:11-17 lately? Surely, we always must seek to do the right things. Yet, our faith must never be in what we do. Our faith must always be in the God we love.

May we never seek to pacify God. May we ever love God -- more and more!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 June 2002

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