-Pastor Erik Reed
Have you ever thought about this question? What is God’s emotional response and feeling when we sin? I was reading a book (who”s content is completely unrelated to this post) that sparked this question in my mind. The following are my reflections about this question.
I believe our typical thought on how God emotionally responds to our sin is much like a parent whose child did not follow a rule or instruction given to them. In this case, a parent may be upset or disappointed because the child has disobeyed them. Their authority was ignored and diminished by the child’s disobedience. And while I believe there are particular aspects of this analogy that God does feel when we sin, I do not think this is the primary emotion God experiences as a result of our sin.
I believe a better analogy of God’s experience is that of a wife whose husband has had an affair. You see, the woman who has discovered her husband’s infidelity, is not angered or hurt because he has disobeyed a rule or rebelled against her authority (even though he has transgressed a vow and rule of faithfulness agreed upon in the relationship). Instead, she is deeply hurt and grieved over the thought that her husband was not supremely satisfied with her and sought a greater satisfaction apart from her. The wife yearns to be the source of great pleasure and satisfaction to her husband. When she discovers an affair, it sheds light on the fact that, at least in that moment, she was not the source of satisfaction for his longings. He went outside the marriage to possess what, in his own mind, he believed would give him more pleasure and joy. She is hurt because she feels her love was rejected; that it was insufficient for his longings and desires. She feels rejected because he turned to someone, other than her, for his satisfaction.
This is how I believe God feels when we sin against Him. Yes, we break His rules and rebel against His authority, but I believe God receives it in the same way one spouse who has been cheated on by the other does. He sees it as a rejection of His love. He sees it as a running after another to fill our desires for pleasure and joy. In light of this, it helps me to see more clearly that my sin grieves God (Eph. 4:30). My sin says things to God that I do not want to be said or be true. He is not just a frustrated and disappointed parent when I sin, He is a wounded and grieved spouse.
And the fact that He offers me pardon for my iniquities through His Son, Jesus, is unfathomable and undeserved. The fact that He receives me back after each act of infidelity, humbles me (see the book of Hosea). May the pain my sin causes God, disgust me, and not simply be viewed as something kids do. May the Holy Spirit help us to see that our sin grieves and pains the heart of God; that it simply doesn’t cause Him to shake His head like an annoyed parent. That’s how I believe God feels when I sin.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this question: How does this perspective change your view of you sin & of God, if at all?