Maybe you know someone who claimed to love God but hurt you or someone you care about. Maybe you watched in the news as a pastor got arrested for hurting someone or pulling off some big scheme. Maybe you know people who make Christians look really bad.
Humans are fallen and sinful, and we don’t always represent God well. And when we see people who claim to know God acting in sinful ways, this can cause us to get some false ideas about what God is like. But one of the best ways to avoid getting a warped image of God from those who misrepresent Him is to really know who God is and what He is all about.
When we learn from the Bible about how much God loves, we can see that those who are unloving are not following God’s way (1 John 4:7-8). When we learn how God is honest and good and righteous, we can spot those who are misrepresenting Him when we see their lies and greed and selfishness (Exodus 34:6). Scripture tells us how wonderful God is.
While we can never fully understand everything about God, we see who God is in Jesus, God in flesh. God is most fully revealed in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. To know the God we worship, we look to the cross. His self-sacrificial love is central to His character, and if someone isn’t displaying that love, they aren’t representing God well.
We all fall short of representing who God is. But we don’t have to let that failure control how we think of God. No matter how deeply someone who claims to be a Christian has failed, God is different. God is holy and good and right. God loves you, and He is with you. And He will never change. • Emily Acker
• What are some of the ways you’ve seen God misrepresented? Where can we find truth about who God really is?
• While all of us fall short of representing God in one way or another, who are some people in your life who represent Him and His love very well? If you can’t think of anyone, you can ask God to help you identify someone in the future.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 (NIV)