For the next few weeks at FBC we are asking, and trying to answer the question “How can we make God happy?” I’m a father of two pretty fine sons and three pretty much perfect granddaughters. I know what it feels like to be made proud by progeny. In fact, in the past week both my boys have done some things to make my heart soar. (Catch me in the hallway and I’ll be glad to fill you in.) I’m not so self-centered to think for a minute that they do it for me, but I get to be the joyful benefactor anyway. They succeed; I smile and brag. It’s a sweet deal. On the human front, it is an easy correlation to make. But it can be hard to imagine, let alone believe, that the creator of the universe responds personally and emotionally to the highs and lows of our lives. But He does. And even better, our lives work demonstratively better when we pull off the things that bring him joy. We smile a lot more when God is smiling at us.
God really does smile when the product of his creation shows the family resemblance. For starters, lets take a look, as we did Sunday, at the first verse of Psalm 133.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
This Psalm of David declares, complete with exclamation point, that living with a harmonious bent pleases God and creates a conciliatory spirit that honors Him. And His people are seen as a reflection of his character. That’s both “good and pleasant.” I can think of a lot of things that are good but not that pleasant. And I can conjure up a lot more that are pleasant, but not good. Hey, but living in unity gets you both. Win/ Win. Imagine that happening not only in our fellowship, but in our families, workplaces, and personal relationships. God gets a good name because his people look and act like him. His kingdom dreams come closer to being realized. Creation looks more and more like the one God envisioned, and we should long for. All our interactions draw people into God’s way of acting and being, instead of us being sucked into theirs. Oh that this was always the case.
But honesty compels us to admit it is not. In fact relations, especially with the people who hold different backgrounds and opinions, being less than harmonious is not only acceptable, it has been elevated to an art form, and for some a sport. I feel certain that doesn’t make God happy at all. In fact, when his people are conduits for combative discourse, it has to break his heart. So let’s lean into this good and pleasant thing, whether everyone else does or not. Maybe it will make a difference in the discourse. Maybe not. But we can feel better and live better by taking the road less travelled. So when the opportunity comes to relate or respond to others, let’s do our best to make God smile. Or at the very least, don’t make him cringe.