Something is seriously wrong with our values and priorities when we feel a greater grief for a sinner than for God who has been sinned against. It is equivalent to the concern often shown for a criminal’s rights while ignoring the violation of the victim’s rights. A case of misplaced tears.
This attitude is reflected in people who find it hard to believe in hell. They say they do so because they find it hard to reconcile a God of love, mercy and compassion with a place of eternal pain, suffering and agony. It is a case of misplaced tears; a greater grief for sinners than for God who has been sinned against!
I am convinced that only when we begin to understand how awful sin is to God; only when we come to possess “God’s feelings” about sin – how serious and repulsive all sin (not just certain sin) is to God; only then will we understand the justice of a suffering, agonizing hell. Excuses for sin are abundant, but they fade into insignificance when compared to how horrific any sin is to God.
Various Bible events illustrate this…
Nadab and Abihu quickly felt God’s righteous anger toward sin as fire from the Lord devoured them (Leviticus 10:1-2). Read Numbers 16 where God tells Moses, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (v. 21). God’s people had rebelled against God’s chosen leadership. And then there is Jesus’ righteous anger and behavior when He found God’s temple polluted with commercial merchandising (John 2:13-17).
In each of these cases it would be easy for us to get emotional about what happened to these people, what God did to these people, but when we remember they were sinning against God our emotional focus must change. David’s focus was right when he said, “Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You” (Psalm 5:10). While we earnestly long for the salvation of all people (Romans 2:2-11), we must understand it is a righteous thing to desire God’s punishment of the ungodly and impenitent!
It is time for us to get emotional for God, to shed tears, because people disregard His words. This is true whether I find sin in my life, the life of my earthly family, the life of my brethren, the life of my friends, or the life of society as a while. Do not be harassed into quiet submission because some would think or say you are intolerant. Do not be diverted from the awfulness of the sin because the sinner is a likable, pleasant, sincere person. “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136).
Finally, it is especially irritating and offensive when someone who knows better violates God’s words and then claims innocence. “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment” (2 Peter 2:21). Let’s think about these things. — By Ronny E. Hinds