Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Most people are likable - if you know them

There are some people that are just outright unlikable.  You probably know a few.  I know that I do.  They have done things, said things, and approved of things that leave no doubt in your mind that they are not to be trusted, befriended, or respected.  You have first-hand knowledge of their despicable behavior. You may have even given them a chance to redeem themselves, but they consistently exhibit unlikable behavior.  Sad but true, there are some people like that.

Then there are other people that you may not like but you really don’t have any hard evidence against them.  Maybe they just strike you the wrong way.  Maybe you've heard some rumors or gossip about them and have made a judgment based on hearsay.  Maybe you don’t know them well but you've heard enough about them to categorize them in your unlikable file.

I've felt that way about some people and, to my own discredit, in some cases I have never really taken the time to know that person. I've never given them a chance to prove themselves, and so I guess I'll never really know that person and I'll go on not liking them.  However, there have been some cases when my first impression of a person may have been less than ideal, but after I got to know them I liked them.  In fact, that has been pretty typical.  Instead of listening to gossip or prematurely judging someone, I've found that most people are likable when you really get to know them.

I think that's a pretty good approach in our relationships with others - get to know them rather than prematurely judge them.  I also think that's a pretty good approach in our relationship with God.

Seems like there are so many people who don’t like God, and it's those people especially whom I hope will read on.  I wonder sometimes if it's God you don’t like or the gossip or rumors or first impressions that you have about him that you don’t like.  I wonder if your feelings about him would change if you really got to know him.  Perhaps you would like him if you only got to know him better.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a shame to not like God, or anyone for that matter, only because you don’t know him.  Like any relationship, it takes time and effort, but knowing God may be the most important thing you ever do.  Jesus thought so.  Jesus once said, "This is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God."

In fact, I think that's why Jesus came. To show us who God is. To introduce us to him. To clarify any misunderstandings we have and to dispel all the false rumors.  And I think Jesus was pretty convinced that if we really get to know God we'd naturally like him.  Jesus seemed to think that once we really see who he is then that relationship would unlock a quality of life unlike anything we've ever experienced.

So the question may not be, "Do you like God?"  The real and more important question is, "Do you know God?"

If you don’t know him, he invites you.  If you do know him, he calls you to know him deeper.  In knowing him, you have life - real and eternal life.