"Brilliant, Dana! That was a lovely display of stupidity."
"Dana, what's the matter with you. What were you thinking?"
"Well, that's great, Dana. You blew it again."
"How many times is God going to have to beat you over the head with this before you get it right?"
Yes, I know, I'm hard on myself, but it wasn't until this morning that I realized that I expected God to react the same way. Somehow, through my warped thinking, I had it in my mind that if I react this way to my mistakes, God must do the same. I can imagine Him up in Heaven, looking down and shaking His head. "Yep, she blew it again! When will she ever learn?"
But as I read through the pages of the Bible, I've discovered that my assessment of God's reactions to my mistakes is all messed up. Sure, I may be mad at myself, but God's not mad at me. He's grieved, but not mad. There is a difference. He doesn't fuss at me or get frustrated with me. He doesn't beat me in the head and threaten to leave me to resolve my own mess.
You see, I was thinking of God as holy and just (which He is), but I had forgotten that He is also loving, compassionate and full of mercy. I had forgotten the example of the prodigal son. That father wasn't angry. He didn't scold his son when he finally returned from his riotous living. No, he displayed joy, compassion, mercy and love for the wayward child who had made his way back home. God is the same way. Instead of scolding, He guides. "Yes, Dana, I know you're upset, and I understand your feelings. Let me show you where you went astray and the events that led to your current heartache. Then let me show you how to avoid making the same mistake the next time. I know it's hard, child, but remember I'll be right here by your side. We can do this."
When looking at the attributes of God, we have to be careful not to single out any one thing. Yes, He is the Judge, but His is also a loving Father, a wise Counselor and an enduring Friend. We can come to Him boldly with any problem, situation or concern. He will listen. He will understand. He will help. And when we fall, He will forgive.
So who's doing the talking in your life? Are you listening to your own dialogue of criticism and accusation or God's dialogue of love? It makes a difference in how we live each day. It determines whether we walk through life defeated or delighted. There are many voices calling out to us each and every day. To whom are we listening?