Recently I was considering purchasing a book, so I began reading the reviews and comments on Amazon to see what others were saying. This book was well-received and had a high percentage of 5 star ratings. Even so, a several readers gave it 4 stars, and one person broke ranks and rated the book with 3 stars. I was curious as to why someone would go against the flow by telling the author his book was only mediocre. Interestingly, this reviewer was disappointed because of what the author didn’t write, insinuating that the author’s work was inferior as a result. Now, on Amazon, browsers can actually comment on the reviews written about books. So a perceptive person retorted to the naysayer by quipping metaphorically “It simply isn’t fair and doesn’t make sense to critique a book, based upon the fact that it doesn’t include a discussion of oranges, when it’s a book about apples.” Authors have the right to create their own stories, and readers don’t determine the plot. You can enjoy the author’s work, or you can reject it, but you can’t rewrite it.
My example above is a weak analogy, but I hope to use it to introduce a discussion about the greatest author of all time…God. How frequently do mortals like us judge the Creator by questioning His word or rejecting His rules? Jesus, who Christians believe was God incarnate, faced this kind of questioning on a regular basis as he taught on the streets of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Ironically, the most religious people in Jewish culture, the Pharisees, were the ones who gave Jesus the most fierece opposition. In one exchange, Jesus confronted them by saying:
Because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (John 8:45-47 ESV)
God pre-existed everything. Before there was anything there was the triune God and nothing else. Gravity didn’t exist, light didn’t exist, matter didn’t exist…just a whole lot of absolutely nothing plus God. He decided the “plot” of the story that would be the universe. So when those who oppose God or His rules hold God up to a standard of their own making, they are fools. We shouldn’t reject God because we misunderstand His purposes in time and space.
Jesus makes a statement that turns the spotlight on humanity. When He said “Whoever is of God hears the words of God,” He was asserting that those who really, deep inside, want to know the truth will instinctively know His teachings are true. Their internal “truth meter” will peg the needle at 100%. But Jesus, at another time, cautioned that our own selfish desires can cloud our judgment and cause us to turn away from the truth:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:19-21 NIV)
Don’t let your lifestyle cause you to make false judgments against the truths Jesus taught. If your conscience is putting you on trial, do not try to snuff it out by turning the tables and making yourself a judge against God. He created everything, He sets the standards, and we are fools if we think we know more than God. Your better choice is to admit your guilt before the Almighty Judge of all mankind, and allow Him to declare you “Not Guilty!” because of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus, the only guiltless person to ever walk the face of the earth.