I’m listening to “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer, and one of the things that struck me about it was his emphasis on how those who truly know God, as opposed to those who merely know things about him, care deeply about God’s honor.
This struck me perhaps because I don’t feel what he described. When I see sin in my own life or the lives of others, my response is sadness for pain it brings the sinner and those around them. I do not give much thought to the shame that it brings to God and his word. The disregard for God is not what grieves me.
It is right to have forgiveness for myself and others, because that is the word that God has spoken over the world in Christ. Still, it is also right to be grieved by a lack of respect for God and to be overjoyed by an honoring of God and his words.
The desire of God for us is fierce and perfect, but it does not seem singular. He has a pure love for us that works for our good, and he has a pure hatred for the sin and evil in us. Those desires do not cancel each other out. Somehow they coexist.
God’s desires are hard to describe. Perhaps another way to try is to say that we should have no doubts about his love for us, and we should also know that he hates the sin in us and will never accept it.
As we grow closer to our God, our desires should become like his desires. We should be marked by a love and acceptance of others and ourselves that is complete. And we should be marked by a hatred of evil. What we should not be marked by is a lukewarm tolerance of others, a convenient love of only of those that are like us or are easy to like, or an apathy about the sin and evil in the lives of others and in our own.
I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.