Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Loving and Forgiving G-d

"I think that is what a loving and forgiving God would want . . .”

This sentiment (and variations thereof), often expressed by people who clearly do not believe in G-d let alone adhere to His ways, has been popping up of late in the comment sections of a couple of blogs that I frequent. 
Everyone has an idea about what G-d would want or not want based upon some inner yardstick by which they measure right and wrong themselves. “I think G-d wouldn’t mind if I…” is a refrain I hear more and more. It doesn’t matter that G-d, in His Word has condemned their choices. Does it really matter what we think G-d would want?

Regarding what behaviors we think G-d surely must approve or disapprove, the G-d of the Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Hashem. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

His is not some god of a person’s own invention as they “think that he ought to be", standing on the sidelines like a cheerleader, rubber stamping “brave, independent” choices, but a real G-d, whose “wants" are clearly stated in the Torah and have nothing to do with popular vote, cultural changes or societal norms. (It used to be that when people created a god which suited their ideas, it was called idol manufacturing.) What if G-d, who frankly doesn’t care what we think that He should do, declared in no uncertain terms that all of the things mankind thinks about Him are complete rubbish?

“...Man drinks iniquity like water!” (Job 15:16)

“...The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no G-d,' they are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good. G-d has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after G-d. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge, who eat up My people as though they ate bread, and have not called upon G-d?" (Psalm 53:1-4)

"For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

To know the true G-d is to understand what He has stated regarding using tools of wickedness to achieve some “higher” purpose. Light and darkness are incompatible with each other. Lies, profanity, immorality, a continual double life are not loving acts, and never are the way to achieve living a life of good moral character. Practicing these tools of immorality cannot ever bring about honor. Gasoline can never be used to put out a fire. “I think that a loving and forgiving gasoline would want to quench the flames.” A person who thinks this is in danger of burning down their home and taking lives in the process.

G-d has stated what He thinks, loves, forgives. He has also stated what He hates and will not forgive. Do people even know that G-d says that He won’t forgive certain things? Do people know what those things are?

It is a symptom of what is wrong with our society: Everyone believes that in just their own circumstance, previously unchanging and immutable laws (those principles which allow business and personal relationships to function without collapsing) such as honesty and the ability to trust in another’s word, may be temporarily laid aside because the situation is deemed necessary.
The truth is that G-d is both loving and forgiving, to the repentant. His word is filled with longing entreaties to his beloved bride Israel to return to Him and repent of her deeds, as He desires to pardon her. However, He also states categorically that she must submit to His will and that her return and forgiveness will be predicated upon forsaking the sin which she committed when she strayed from His commandments.

Repentance must include confession that her actions were wrong. No justification for her wrongdoing is ever laid at the door of G-d. He did not fail her, she failed him.

1 comment:

  1. I have pondered the use of marriage and an unfaithful/rebellious wife as the allegory of broken relationship between sinners and God. The Husband still loves, still wants the wife but at some point, its all over and He lets her go. Forgiveness is free but its a limited time offer.