Satan is the accuser (Rev. 12:10), and something that he constantly puts us on the stand for is being a human in a fallen world. We are taught to feel guilty for so many things that, quite frankly, come with the territory of being a limited being in a broken world.
We live in temporal bodies that are constantly breaking down. We live in a world that is full of toxins and fumes. And even if that weren’t true, we still wouldn’t be perfect.
And the good news is that God isn’t surprised by any of it! This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to overcome sin. But it does mean that we shouldn’t feel guilty for things that aren’t sins but are the result of merely being human.
This is such a relief. We don’t have to be embarrassed by things out of our control, and we certainly don’t have to be embarrassed by the way God made us. We can draw near to him instead.
Here are 5 things God is not surprised by:
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The most recent controversy dragged before a judge was whether the state of Montana could be held responsible for climate change. Earlier this month, Montana District Court Judge Kathy Seeley ruled that the state’s failure to take climate change into account when greenlighting new oil and coal projects was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs were a group of young people called Our Children’s Trust. They sued the state over fossil fuel production, claiming that Montana violated a section of its constitution that guarantees citizens “the right to a clean and healthful environment.”
Climate activists have hailed the decision as a significant victory and model for the nation but have not been clear on what exactly has been accomplished. As The New York Times put it, unless a higher court overturns the ruling, Montana must now “consider climate change when deciding whether to approve or renew fossil fuel projects.” That’s all. They must “consider.”
Much has been said and written about the Barbie movie. If anything, the amount of hand-wringing over the movie’s virtues and vices is, at least, a testimony to its power as a thought-provoking cultural phenomenon. At the risk of being reductionistic, Barbie is about seeing that which has been unseen or even ignored. Particularly, Barbie is about getting society, especially men, to see what women go through and that women are more valuable than just “the fairer sex.” To give us this sight, Barbie gives us Barbieland, a world in which the Barbie dolls run everything and that the Ken dolls are powerless, oafish, eye candy. Seeing men in such positions is a powerful—and far from subtle— rhetorical device that makes men so uncomfortable that they finally see women and what they go through.
Might I offer a cultural juxtaposition to show that there is a subtler, perhaps even more powerful story that can get us to truly see women? The cultures of Jesus’ time—whether Greco-Roman or Judean—were far more misogynistic than ours. Women barely had standing in courts of law, were not afforded educations, nor considered even close to men in physical or mental abilities. They were seldom heard from and rarely seen for their true value. Women were background figures at best.
The most well-known line of King’s speech is this one: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That vision has never been fully realized, and its greatest threat today is a set of ideas that purport to advance racial justice but instead oppose it. Critical Race Theory and the critical theory mood that infects so many areas of our culture, especially education and media, are all about issuing judgments about the character of entire groups of people based solely upon the color of skin.
Twenty years ago, in a commentary about this historic speech, Chuck Colson articulated why only the Christian vision of the human person can ground an understanding of human rights, universal human dignity, and value that extend to everyone. Recently, the world has learned disturbing details about King’s character and moral failures. Colson’s analysis of King’s ideas, and his call to Christians to live out of a Christian worldview, remain true and relevant today.
Dr. King’s “somebodiness” doctrine stands on the fact that every human is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26); accordingly, “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).
Nor must we: “If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9). Stated bluntly, racism is sin.
Here’s the problem: sinners cannot solve the problem of sin, which is why it persists. In the context of Dr. King’s speech, prejudice—an innate sense of superiority over another person or race—is an endemic result of the Fall and our “will to power” (Genesis 3:5).
We can and should legislate against it. We can and should take every practical means to minimize its existence and horrific effects. But we cannot eradicate it without the help of the God who made us.