I love having good, objective, religious conversations. I’m talking conversations when people are being completely open and honest about what they believe. My favorite comes from talking with other believers about how God is working in their lives. I draw encouragement and strength as I hear the wonderful things God is doing in the hearts and lives of others. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians will only have religious conversations with other believers. It can be very difficult to engage someone who is anti-God in a religious conversation. I have had a few. I want to write today about something I have learned through these conversations.
The number one reason people oppose the God of the Bible deals with His goodness. They say “If God is so powerful, so loving, and so caring, why is there evil in the world?” In my minimal experience, the conversation always takes a turn down this road. It is a good question. Ponder that for a moment before reading on. If God is so powerful, why are there helpless six year old boys and girls being rented out to adults in the sex trafficking trade? I know that sounds like an awful thing to put in a WMD, but if you ever engage someone who hates the God you love in a conversation, this kind of question is coming. How would you answer such a question?
In wrestling with this, I came across Ecclesiastes 12:14. What if the person who calls the goodness of God into question could insert their name here for God? For Adam will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. The fact of the matter is, Adam doesn’t know what is inside a person’s heart . . . God does. Therefore, let’s pick this little verse apart.
1. For God will bring every deed into judgment . . . There is a future tense here. God will bring every deed into judgment. Upon breathing the last breath we will ever take, you and I have an appointment with God. Every deed will be examined. Whatever evil deed has been done by any person, that deed will be judged. Nobody gets away with anything.
2. Including every hidden thing . . . Is it possible that someone could read this devotional who has nothing hidden in their past that they are absolutely ashamed of? The truth is, I have things hidden that I hope stay hidden. I have done more than my share of evil things. I can only ask for the mercy and forgiveness of God, try to make things with those I’ve hurt as right as possible, and truly repent so I never go down that road again.
3. Whether it is good or evil . . . I don’t know the good things you have done in your past. I don’t know the evil things either. Honestly, I’m glad I’m not responsible for that kind of knowledge. God has it and knows what to do with it. If I did have it, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to judge evil in light of eternity nor do I know how to reward goodness. God does.
Yes, evil exists in the world in varying degrees. Yes, evil deserves to be punished. But, consider this: If everyone dropped dead as soon as they did something evil, would you still be alive right now?
Therefore, if we were going to eradicate all evil in the world right now, who gets a pass? Better yet, who gets to decide who gets a pass? Would you want that responsibility? Could you honestly give yourself a pass?
In light of all of this, I choose mercy at the cross. I choose to submit myself to the God who will make these judgments. You may be reading this and have an awful past, but through Christ, you can have an unbelievably bright future. He knows how to remove sin. He knows how to change hearts. He does this for anyone who submits themselves to Him and His ways. He has never and will never use force to make anyone submit to Him. I write today in hopes that someone who does not know Him will begin a new walk with Him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. — Psalm 34:8
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. — Ecclesiastes 12:13