Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well, You Know...It Rains on The Just and the Unjust

The Lord has been showing me that Matthew chapter 5 is one of the most misquoted and misunderstoon chapters of the Bible. I pray that this statement doesn't come across as prideful or uncarring. In fact, it is just the opposite in my heart. The enemy has done much to mischaracterize God and it is against this mischaracterization that I am writing now.

OK. Here it is. One of the quotations that I have heard many times in my life is, "Well you know it rains on the just and the unjust". That comment is usually said when something bad happens in your life. The comment is made to say that God let's good and bad happen to everyone without purpose or design. Now, I am not one to say that a Christian will never suffer and go through things. I think the persecutions and sufferings of the early Christian church make that pretty plain. However, the picture that is painted of God when we say, "It rains on the just and the unjust" is one of a God who gives no preference to His own and that he allows random events to hit everyone. Nothing could be further from the truth! The bibles says He knows the very hairs that are on our heads and He cares for us.

OK, so now let's look at this quotation in it's propper context - Matthew 5:43-47:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

Can you see it? This verse has nothing to do with explaining the good and bad that happens in our lives! It has everything to do with being like our Father in heaven who is good to all - even those who don't deserve it. I've heard the term "Common Grace" used to describe the general goodness that God shows to all who get to breathe His air, eat His food, sit on His earth, etc. Now, this isn't the grace of our Lord Jesus who saves us from the punishment of sin in Hell, but His general goodness to all. In any case, when we normally hear this verse partially quoted, it makes rain seem like a bad thing! All we have to do is ask some people from some of the more impoverished parts of the world. They wish they had the regular rainfall that many of us enjoy. Without rain, nothing grows. There is dryness. There is death. The curse is when it DOES NOT rain! Rain is a blessing! Rain is life. Without water, nothing lives!

So, the next time you hear someone misquote this verse, don't believe the evil report. God is good and He is using all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). You were not hit with a random event from a God who gives no consideration for His children. He has carefully planned out your days and He is bringing you into an ultimate good that only He can see from His vantage point. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the thoughts that He thinks towards us and they are good. He has good plans for us - not a "willy nilly" distribution of blessings and calamity! God is good and not evil. He is not the author of evil in your life and mine. That credit belongs to the wicked one, Satan, the adversary or our souls. Let's stop pinning the responsibility for Satan's ills on God.

Be encouraged. "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom". - E.Mc.