It's very easy to mistake God's proclamation concerning His glory and that he does things that His name might be praised for arrogance. I did the same before I became a Christian. While attending church with my future wife, for example, I remember fuming over the fact that there may exist a being who longs to hear his name praised by the people he claims to love. What sort of arrogant b*****d, I thought, would desire people to abjectly bow down and sing his praises all day long. In the back of my mind, despite the fact that the woman I loved was a Christian, a smoldering contempt for the whole God-worshipping practice burned in the back of my mind. How could people sink so low as to worship anyone, even a so-called creator of the universe? And why would he, given all that he has, demand praise from people on top of it? Though I knew Laura wanted me to accept God as my savior (the very idea of having a savior made me sick at the time), I could not help but rage at this being I was not even sure existed. At one point, I said to God that if you do exist and want me to bow down to you, I'd attempt to kill you. How I could kill God I don't know, but I'd die trying, I thought.
The process whereby that smoldering hatred and pride burned away is a tale for another time, but it happened. After accepting Jesus as my savior, the issue of why God would want even the rocks to praise His name faded from my mind. I saw the reasons for praising Him and did indeed praise Him, sometimes fervently-in the very manner I once degraded as beneath me. Something that came up in a conversation a couple of years ago, though, brought back to mind this particular issue of God's character. Someone I know mentioned that God's the biggest egomaniac of all, but that's OK because he has a right to be: He's God, after all. Something about that idea struck me as grossly incorrect, yet I didn't have a clear picture of how horribly wrong such thinking is. Now I do.
Let's cast aside the idea of God desiring our praise for a moment and consider what we know of God's character. One way to view the Father's character is through the Son, the very image of the living God. Simple scenes flicker through my mind, like Jesus sitting down to take a drink at a well because He's thirsty from walking through a desert all day. Jesus accepting the scorn and mockery of others, yet interceding for them as he lay dying on the cross. Jesus, in humility, acting as if His disciples are better than Him by taking on the role of a servant in washing their feet. Jesus, as a helpless infant, needing the care of his earthly parents to even survive another day. Are these the actions of an egomaniac?
Consider also the Old Testament. Imagine yourself to be a man whose wife turns from him time and again to lie with other men as a prostitute. Even worse, imagine your wife paying other men to sleep with her. Such are the description God gives of Israel time and again. If you are such a husband, how do you react? Do you take her back, or do you have too much pride and self-esteem to let that be done to you? I couldn't let myself be hurt again, you might think. Thank God we are not God, for that's exactly how we'd react. Yet, God made one final attempt at reconcilliation, an attempt so outrageous as to defy human reasoning: he sent His Son to die for that prostitute, that whore who not only sells herself but pays others to lie with her. He sent His Son to die for us. Would you have the humility to do anything even close to that should you face such hurt? I hardly think so. Is God then an egomaniac?
To get personal here, whenever I contemplate God's character, I must always think of myself. I spat at God, thumbed my nose at Him my whole life, threatened to kill Him should he seek even the slightest touch of gratitude from me for what he purported to do for me. More, years ago, I used to have the code for my answering machine as '666'. I didn't worship Satan, but I did it simply as a mockery of the idea of God and Satan. I laughed at the whole idea of such beings and the importance of those 3 numbers aligned in tandem. Worse, perhaps, as a senior in high school I wrote a short story about a Satanic cult member who tried to convince his fiancee to turn to the dark side. Part of the argument he used involved a description of God as an oppressive dictator who needed to be overthrown, akin to the British rule over the Americans. Again, I didn't believe in either Satan or God, but simply used that outlet as an expression of my contempt for the entire idea. During the next 10 years or so of my life, I spit in God's face so many times I cannot even count, laughing at His followers, taking them for some deluded band of wretches who needed some belief to fill the empty void of their lives. If any of you are going 'Haha' at the notion that I finally became one of those people I despised, I echo you for I deserve it. What a fool was (am) I, for even after accepting Jesus as my Savior, I've raged against Him, cursing Him to His face in my anger slightly over a year ago.
YET, despite all this he welcomes me with outstretched arms when I make the slightest move to turn back to Him. Are these the actions of one too taken with himself? Surely not! Indeed, the realization of God's humility makes tears well up in my eyes, for I see myself as if in a mirror. How difficult is it for me, say, to forgive others for the slightest transgression against me when I have been forgiven the enormous wrongs I have committed against God? What pride have I that I cannot forgive, that I hesitate to serve and think various matters too small to require my attention when the very Word of Life took on the manner of the most menial of servants by washing His disciples' feet? What hardship do I not accept gladly theat He would even see fit to so grant me His attention as to discipline me? When I consider the humility of our Lord, I wonder how could I not forsake everything for His glory when He gave up all His glory for us? God, you see, defined humility itself when he marched to death for us, for He who had all gave up all for those who would spit in His face over that very act. Rather than an egomaniac, God is humility, much as He is love in the sense that there can exist no being with greater humility than God. Praise the Lord for He is gooooooooood!
As a minister, I have to admit that when I saw this title, I was a bit
taken back. But after reading the entire article I realized that
it took a very honest man
to convey to the world
the feelings that you first had about GOD.First
when you admitted that you had trouble forgiving
people their transgressions against you, but then you saw
CHRISTS forgiveness, and
did humble yourself, I
thanked GOD, for leading
you into the truth about
HIM. The word says " to
all whom believe, the spirit is given" for
when you first accepted
CHRIST, by calling on HIM
you showed that you believed. His mercy, and
grace IS, what combines
our faith into receiving
HIS salvation, thru
confessing HIS name,
and believing. I pray
that the spirit of truth
will lead you away from
all wrath unto HIM, and all others, and that the
new creature that HE will
mold you into, is acceptable to HIM.
Praise GOD, for delivering you from your
torment, for the LORD
sees you and your wife
as "one flesh".