Naughty Or Nice?

naughty-or-niceDo you remember hearing “Santa Claus is coming and he only brings toys to nice boys and girls. If you are naughty all you will get is a lump of coal.” Naughty or nice, does God work like Santa Claus?

God or Santa
As Christmas approaches how about you, have you been naughty or nice? As adults Santa is no longer the concern. What does God think of you? Does he see you as naughty or nice? Many think God has a negative view of them. Is that true of you? Christmas is such a magical time of the year. For a brief time this world of conflict tries to forget how so many others cannot get along. We want to believe in the spirit of Christmas. The warm glow of the Christmas lights, the holiday events, the family celebrations, and the fact that people seem a little happier and kinder to one another. This spirit renews our faith in humanity and raises our hopes that perhaps this year that spirit will last longer than just Christmas.

But how can a sinful and selfish world be transformed into living the spirit of Christmas year round? The world needs examples of living this spirit year round. What would change individuals and communities into this positive state? One major component in achieving such a transformation is how a person sees God. Do you see God as being against you, looking for your wrongs? Or do you see God as a Father who is for you and wants to bless your life? For most people their view of God comes from their parents, especially their father. When the family is dysfunctional and dad is less than loving and just, they transfer their parental view to God. Other factors can enter in from those who claim to represent God on the earth but don’t do a good job of it.

The blessing lost
What all this leads to is an inaccurate view of God. However, God is not a person with human faults. He is God eternal, holy, just and loving with unconditional and unfailing love. How do we know this? One way is through the Bible, which is God’s revelation of Himself. God tells us from the very beginning of His book that He desires to bless our life not curse it. Genesis 1. 27-28 tells us that God created man in His own image, and blessed them. Blessing refers to life, God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves, and God’s favor on our life. God has good plans for our life (Jeremiah 29.11). One aspect of being created in the image of God is the idea of free will. Our free will and God’s desire to bless us work together to form what is called a conditional promise — blessing is conditional on our obedience to God.

About now you may be saying to yourself, “I don’t feel blessed in my life.” You may feel more like God has forgotten you or has it in for you. In your mind nothing good ever happens to you. Why is life like that at times? The simple answer is the blessing was lost. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and all the creation came under the “curse.” The curse brought death and all the negatives of life that lead up to death. And so we either acknowledge “I have been naughty (also called being sinful) or life isn’t fair (which is true).

The blessing restored
But wait, did you notice that right in the middle of man’s sin and God’s curse in Genesis there is God’s promise to restore the lost blessing to humanity (Genesis 3.15). This process is at the heart of the Bible’s story. God calls a man by the name of Abraham and promises to bless him like He did Adam (Genesis 12.1-3). This blessing is passed on to Abraham’s son Isaac and later his grandson Jacob. Through Jacob and his sons comes the blessed nation of Israel (Numbers 6.22-27). Eventually through one tribe of this nation, Judah, and one family from Judah, the house of David, will come the blessing. The blessing will be the Messiah, Jesus who saves his people from their sins and restores the lost blessing. One day in God’s time (Galatians 4.4) He sends forth His son born of a virgin woman (Mary by name, Isaiah 7.14). This second Adam was the fulfillment of all the promises (starting in Gen. 3.15) to one day restore what the first Adam lost — the blessing. He fully obeyed God in all things and died on the cross to pay the sin debt for every child of Adam and Eve.

Your blessing
One night on a Judean hillside a chorus of angels sang out, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will toward man” (Luke 2:14). The blessing is back. You may be thinking I can’t get that blessing. I’m naughty not nice; even Santa won’t bring me anything let alone God. That’s where you are wrong. Remember God is not a man. He is God who loves you with an everlasting love (John 3.16). Once again, this Christmas He offers you a blessing — eternal life, forgiveness and a relationship with Him. Exercise your free will, accept it and be blessed.

Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. and his son, John Jr. run Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach. They can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.

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