I watched a sporting event last night in which the referees were not doing their job. The game became out of control. Penalties were not called and roughing the opponents became the norm in the game. When this happens, it tilts the game towards the team that plays rougher or has the bigger meaner players. As is often the case, the game went to the team most willing to cheat.
When referees or umpires do not do their job at least three things happen. The rules are not applied or they are applied unevenly or one sided. The second thing is that the players become confused about they are allowed to do. The third thing is there is frustration among the players and often a kind of idea that if the rules aren’t being applied, why follow them?
Many people see God as an unfair referee or umpire. In life, you can’t just take off your uniform and go home. Life goes on and if life goes on with an unfair God, how does that work?
God is accused of lots of things, including not even being real. That one is for another day. The ideas that God doesn’t care or is not doing his job are far more interesting. If God wasn’t doing his job, the same three things might happen.
First, one group would receive more favours than another group. In the Christian faith, we call this being blessed. We all know families who seem to have everything they want and more. And we all know families who don’t get a break in any area of their lives. Apply that on a larger scale, and we see how God takes care of the Israelites.
And then after Jesus, others who receive Christ. We are called the family of God. Children of the Most High. But the blessings and favour we receive have much more to do with eternity than our time on earth. We may get good things here, but our focus is on Christ, not the good things. We also die, get sick, lose jobs, have family problems etc. The main difference is that we get to call God, ABBA Father. He is our Dad, and He knows how to take good care of his children.
So, God does favor his children but not in a way many would recognize. Only his children get into heaven. The good news is that you can be his children.
The second thing that happens when the rules are not applied evenly is that people can get confused about what to do, about what is right and wrong. The world is at war with itself over this very question.
Many claim evil as good.
Murdering babies, embracing the notion that God made a mistake by creating me the way I am, and a host of sins that are now entrenched into the culture of ungodliness that permeates our governments and our media.
This is not because God has changed, or the rules have changed. In this case, it is not God being a bad official. It is us, the players, making up our own rules and punishing anyone who dares challenge them.
This one is our fault.
The third thing is the frustration that results when rules are not enforced. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Messiah. He is God, yet he made a choice to come to earth as a baby, grew up, sacrificed himself, resurrected himself from the grave, and lead the way for all who believe on him to become children of God and join God’s family for all eternity.
The Bible also tells us plainly that Jesus is returning again. The first appearance was to save us. This second one is to judge us. People don’t believe the first coming, and they scoff at the second coming. Many people refuse to believe this and have grown weary waiting. They become slack in following the rules until they changed the rules.
This is not because God is not doing his job. It is because we are not listening. Warning signs of his return are everywhere, Lawlessness, division, hatred, and disasters are upon us. Plagues and wars and upheavals are increasing. Wake up people!
Blame God as you blame the referee, but God is fair and just. We, on the other hand, are not.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.