United Church of God

Letter From Devin Schulz - September 4, 2020

Letter From Devin Schulz

September 4, 2020

Happy Sabbath!

We have been discussing in recent weeks about the impact our thoughts have in our lives. As a shoot off from that topic we delved into what information we cling to as truth and ultimately commit to our belief system. There is an ugly fact that we must face regarding our own human nature - we tend to be drawn to, and even enjoy, negative information. Businesses lament this fact with customer reviews. It is far more likely for a customer to leave a review after a bad experience versus a good one. Experiments have shown the news items covering the same items are more likely to be shared if the tone of the article is distinctly negative. Psychologists use the term "negative bias" to describe this idea of being geared towards bad.

Again, the wisdom of the book of Proverbs gives valuable instruction about this topic. "An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue" (Proverbs 17:4). In short, being drawn to pessimism is not a good thing, but is a sign of our corrupt nature. The New Living translation puts it this way: "Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander." True or false to desire evil accounts is wrong.

We typically interpret verses like this with the assumption that we are not evil doers or liars. Hopefully, this is the case overall in our lives, but this does not mean we do not sometimes fall into this mentality or feel pulled toward it by our carnal nature. Do we find ourselves eager to hear about bad stories? Are we drawn into news that describes the destruction of others, especially our enemies?  Do we take pleasure when someone gets their "comeuppance?" (Proverbs 24:17). If we have fallen into this thinking, we need to consider the source and end of these practices.

An example of this occurred with how the Edomites reacted to the destruction of their Israelite family members. The book of Obadiah is a prophecy against the nation of Edom (the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob/Israel). Specifically called out "But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother on the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah on the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress." (Obadiah 1:12). The result of this is that God pronounced destruction on the nation.

Scripture is clear that instead of desiring retribution, we should seek peace and leave vengeance, punishment, and retaliation in the hands of God (Proverbs 20:22; 24:29; Romans 12:14-21). The way to overcome evil is not by engaging in evil but committing ourselves to the good.

We know prophetically, destruction will come to the enemies of God. We need to prepare our hearts to have the right attitude towards the judgement of God.

In the Love of God,

Devin Schulz