If someone were to come to my home right now and look in the snack basket on top of my fridge, they would be shocked. There are approximately thirty packages of chocolate pudding. They would wonder why I would let my kids have that instead of healthier options. How irresponsible of me as a parent, right? I should be teaching my children better eating habits.
However, they would be wrong. What they don’t know is the whole truth, they didn’t see the big picture. The truth is that I put in thirty packs of pudding and thirty packs of fruit cups packed in water, not syrup. My kids have been choosing the fruit over the pudding.
I would be judged on what someone thought I was giving them, not realizing that they were actually seeing the option my children rejected. This is what happens when we assume based on what we see, without having more information… without the bigger picture.
We can apply this same idea to the scriptures when we are not looking at them as a whole. The truth is that the scriptures are filled with harsh truths and loving compassion. We are judged by what others see, not what they don’t.
If all we throw at the world is judgment, condemnation, and “tough love”, that is what the world sees. We give them rules to adhere by, a long list of do and don’t commands, and set an expectation of my way or the highway. Then, the world sees God as a looming ogre, unable to be satisfied, angry, wrathful, unmerciful. No wonder, they wouldn’t have anything to do with Him.
If all we throw out into the world is Gods’ love, mercy and compassion, that is what the world sees. They see a God that lets people get away with sin, because He loves them so much. They will see no need to change who they are, to no longer conform to the world because God’s love is easily given. No wonder we see people filling our pews, but no sign of change in them… nor taking God seriously. This is where we are judged as hypocrites because we call our selves Christians, but we don’t act like it. There is no evidence of it.
God is not fully represented to the world if we are only giving them half the picture. We can’t only show a harsh and demanding God, just as much as we can not only show a gentle and loving God. Neither of these views encompass God as a whole. They do not reflect the overarching story of the scriptures. They eliminate parts of God’s character. We have to share the full measure of God in order to have a real affect on people’s lives. We need to know that God loves at the same time as being called into obedience.
We need the healthy doses of scripture that help us make better decisions, avoid temptations, and long for holiness in our lives… just as much as we need the sweet encouragement of a loving and forgiving God.
If we are only representing a portion of the scripture, we are being irresponsible with The Word and with our witness to others. We are living half of the life God calls us to live, believing half of the Truth we’ve been entrusted with. We are also giving to others a half truth, half story, that doesn’t fully reflect our wonderful and marvelous God.