"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." Ps 136:1
For a man to have faith, to trust, in another person, he must believe that the other person is going to bring good to him and not harm. If we do not believe that another person has our best intentions in mind, we will be constantly wary of them, looking for ways that they might be planning to take advantage of us.
Most of us have spent our lives doubting the trustworthiness of people. We’ve been hurt many times. Our ability to trust another has been damaged. For many people, this taints their ability to trust in God. They see in God the characteristics of people who have hurt them. The person who says, “My dad was always so angry” often sees God as always angry.
If we are going to grow in our faith, we must first come to grips with the goodness of God. If we believe that God is always angry with us and that we are on the verge of punishment, then it is hard to feel close to Him and desire communion with Him.
Jesus Christ came to free us from the tyranny of always worrying about the wrath of God. Face it, we don’t meet the standard, we haven’t been good enough. In fact, we can’t be good enough to “earn” the love of God. Jesus Christ came to bring us back into communion with Him, to set us free from a constant awareness of our sin. He wants us to have a relationship with God and not worry about our unworthiness. That will come later.
God is the standard of goodness; the standard of excellence. We know good when we see it and we know evil. There is a movement in our hearts when we see something noble, something selfless, something kind. We are moved by such acts of goodness. There is a reason our hearts respond to these demonstrations – we are made in the image of God. Our emotions are patterned on His emotions; our awareness of good and evil is patterned on His awareness of them. Our hearts respond like His does. There is a lot that we can do to either silence or magnify this awareness; the heart can become hard, but it can also become more sensitive.
God wants us to learn to see His goodness. I believe that understanding the goodness of God is the starting point for choosing a relationship with Him. If we can learn to see that He desires good for us, and not harm, we can begin to bring our concerns to him. We can also learn to surrender to Him the choices that we know aren’t good for us – learning how to turn from sin, knowing that doing so is the way that God brings blessing into our lives.