By Benjamin H. Liles
"If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen...Whoever loves God must love his brother as well," writes John, the beloved disciple of Jesus (1 John 4:20-21, Berean Study). The truth of that statement John makes is this: God doesn't take enjoyment or pleasure at the expense of another, whether man or child, male or female, a child of God or even an unbeliever.
The truth of that statement John makes is this: God doesn't take enjoyment or pleasure at the expense of another, whether man or child, male or female, a child of God or even an unbeliever. The biggest clue we get on the idea God is not into taking pleasure at the expense of others stems from what He tells the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom. He has Ezekiel say to the people, "Because you clapped your hands, stamped your feet, and rejoiced in heart with all your disdain for the land of Israel...I will cut you off from the peoples, and I will cause you to perish from the countries...I will execute judgments upon Moab...I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury" (Ezekiel 25:6-7, 11, 14, New King James).
All three times God speaks to these nations He either says, "You shall know that I am the LORD," or "They shall know that I am the LORD," or even "They shall know My vengeance." So, we know God isn't pleased by people who take matters into their own hands at the expense of others. And to this I add this one thought as well: have you ever thought how you would react when you see a bigger person pushing a smaller person around? Did you take the smallest amount of pleasure in what was being done? Especially when you sat there watching the whole thing and doing nothing to stop it?
God so hates the thought of people doing wrong to others for whatever gain or purpose and what-not all at the expense of another person or their life. And we should also be against taking pleasure at the expense of another. If we are called God's children, as Christians, then we ought to stand for the same things as He does. John tells us rather plainly, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates...is a liar." Jesus said this about having hatred for others, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:21-22).
The truth of the matter is that God hates sin and He will punish those who remain in it. He gives everyone a chance to get away from it, to make the choice in doing right. What is that right thing to do? It is allowing God the right to live in your life. It is allowing His Son to come into your life, to get rid of the old nature, to allow the help of the new nature by His Holy Spirit to indwell and to love others as He has loved us. Not only that we would still know Him as "the LORD" for all He does on our behalf. If the righteousness of the Son is now ours when we accept His sacrifice on the cross, to cleanse us from our sins, then we also can take delight in what God delights in -- welcoming in those who need Him, to love and shepherd them in knowing God's love for them.
It is always my prayer that these articles bless and encourage everyone who reads these words. Not everything I say are fully my words, but what I believe God is telling us through scripture. The fact of it all comes down to I take pleasure in people coming to know the truth of who Christ is. The fact He gave up His life so that we have access to the Father, God, and to therefore remain in Him as He is in us means we take pleasure in the things of God and not of things of this world. So, I pray this blesses, encourages, and provides a measure of healing that God loves you in spite of what you do and have done. We are all messes and God accepts us as we are without us needing to be perfectly clean. He will clean us up in time and in His way, not on our own steam, measure or accord. So, I pray Jesus becomes yours and that you walk in Him, praising and blessing His holy name. Amen.