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Does the Lord punish, and if so, what am I doing wrong?

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  • Does the Lord punish, and if so, what am I doing wrong?

    After a brutal year between mergers and just freak circumstances during work that I can't really mention in public, I had to hop from job to job, and my last job just stopped paying employees (I worked there for a month, never received a single paycheck), so I wound up having to quit to get unemployment (which may not come due to the fact that I resigned). Job prospects are nonexistent right now, when in July, the listings were full of them.

    A friend of mine's pastor told me that I am sinning in some way, and that God is punishing me by throwing me out of jobs so I would understand that I am committing offenses against Him in some manner, and to fix it now or face my family and I winding up as wretched, helpless beggars on the streets in this life, and for me, perdition in the next.

    But I don't know what I am doing wrong. I am not a deviant, I don't drink or use illegal drugs. I am not into porn. I really don't know what I need to fix to get back into God's fellowship so I can be a functioning member of His church body. I have fasted on this and have no answer.

    What am I doing wrong in my faith that I am unable to find work, and when I do, I have things happen which I have no control over which force me out? Is it because some of my friends are non Christian? I was told by one church that until I got right with Him and figured out why He was throwing me out of employers, I was not wanted past their doors. I also was referred to Matthew 7:21, and that something is wrong with my faith or life, causing Jesus to turn His back.

    I know this sounds selfish, but I've been trying to get my life in order somehow, so I can be more helpful in His name, and have something to give to others. I understand things happen, but this past year has been just a struggle to get a job, get hired, only to get tossed out the door due to the company being bought out, or other bad luck.

    I apologize in advance if this sounds like self pity, but I have no clue what I am doing wrong here, and the Christian friends I know point to some action or belief I have that is causing Him to take direct action and swing the rod.

  • #2
    It sounds like you and Job have some of the same friends.

    Let me pray and get back with you with a better answer, but my first instinctive reaction is ... to sin, want to repent, ask God to show you your sin and have God not show you ... is nonsense.
    You are getting bad advice from those church people.

    Imagine punishing your child ... "I'm going to teach you a lesson, now here comes your beating, but I am not going to tell you what you did wrong."
    It doesn't make sense for a parent, and it doesn't make sense for God.
    Comment>

    • #3
      I actually asked that to the pastor of that church. I was told that God is basically saying, "you know what you did wrong. Fix it. If a child threw a rock and broke a window, the parent doesn't have to explain what the kid did before dispensing punishment."
      Comment>

      • #4
        • Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by celnir View Post
          I actually asked that to the pastor of that church. I was told that God is basically saying, "you know what you did wrong. Fix it. If a child threw a rock and broke a window, the parent doesn't have to explain what the kid did before dispensing punishment."
          So do you?

          (You don't need to be honest with me, it is none of my business, but you need to be honest with you.)

          The father might assume the child knows about the broken window while the child actually has forgotten all about it.
          That does not apply to God. God knows if you know and are refusing to be honest with yourself and he knows if you don't know.

          For the record, the flaw is in the basic assumption that something bad is happening, so it must be because God is punishing you.
          Bad things can happen because God is correcting us (I have been there and done that), but bad things can happen even when you have done nothing wrong (which is one of the dominant themes in the whole Book of Job ... Job was a man God bragged about).

          John 9 (the whole chapter)

          Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

          1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
          3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
          6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
          8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
          Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
          But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
          10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
          11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
          12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
          “I don’t know,” he said.

          The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

          13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
          16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
          But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
          17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
          The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
          18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
          20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
          24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
          25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
          26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
          27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
          28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
          30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
          34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

          Spiritual Blindness

          35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
          36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
          37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
          38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
          39 Jesus said,“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
          40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
          41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
          I know that's a wall of text, sorry about that.

          It starts out asking why was the man BORN blind ... was God punishing him for something his parents did, or was God so mad at him that he needed to be punished right from birth. (Sounds like a question your other advisors could get behind).

          Look at Jesus' answer (v.3) “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

          Think about that for a moment. Sometimes bad things happen so that God can eventually come along and do a good work.
          So what was this 'good work'? Healing the blindness?
          • (v.6) Yes. Jesus healed what was broken. (so hang in there, Jesus is still in the business of fixing what is broken in our lives)
          • (v.8-12) Notice that it doesn't stop there. The first thing that happens after God fixed his broken eyes, is that other people got to see and hear about what God had done. Is that a 'good work'?
          • (v.13-23) What happens next is even more amazing. God used this 'good work' to challenge the religious failure of the generation. To attack those who placed the laws of Men above the original Law of God by adding to His Word, both burdens and loopholes. Notice who believed and who didn't. Notice who was afraid and in the next part, notice who isn't.
          • (v.24-34) When God takes you through, you have boldness because you know what you know. The 'religious' can argue about what they have read, but those who have been delivered from the valley of the shadow of death, from darkness into light, can speak with CERTAINTY about what they were and what they are and what God has done. ('There is no Testimony without a Test' - a popular saying in my Pentecostal church.)
          • (v.32) Take note that nobody had ever heard of God doing what Jesus had just done ... think about that when people tell you rules about how God does things. I always ask them to "Show me the scripture" and then read the whole chapter surrounding it to see what it is really talking about.
          • (v.35-41) A blessing and curse. The man's healing led directly to his worshiping God. It increased his faith and the closeness of his relationship with his Lord and Savior. Jesus also used it to bring his fight with the stubborn God Haters to a head, pronouncing a curse on those who had all of the answers but none of the Grace.


          So hang in there, perhaps ... this is happening so that the works of God might be displayed in YOU.

          When I was going through a hard time, I came across something by Charles Spurgeon that helped me.
          The gist of it was that we should not wonder at hard times, we need only look around ...
          ... look up: God is Holy and we are not. He must refine us to make us fit to enter his heaven.
          ... look down: there is an Enemy (Satan) who hates us and means us harm
          ... look around: we are not home, we are in enemy territory.

          Then he said, even if God did not need to purify us, and Satan did not mean us harm, and the world was not enemy territory, we would still have hardship ...
          ... look inside: we are fallen beings struggling against our old natures.

          1 Peter 4:12-13
          12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

          God Bless You and Keep You,
          Arthur
          Comment>

          • #6
            Hi Celnir, first off, WELCOME TO CF :)

            As for what you are "doing wrong", it may be nothing that you're doing at all.


            Whatever kind of tribulation presses upon us, we must ever look to this end: to accustom ourselves to contempt for the present life and to be aroused thereby to meditate upon the future life. For since God knows best how much we are inclined by nature to a brutish love of this world, he uses the fittest means to draw us back and to shake off our sluggishness, lest we cleave too tenaciously to that love. ~Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3/9/1, Calvin, John

            I love Elisabeth Elliot quotes, and this one seems particularly apropos:


            Our vision is so limited that we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering…. The love of God did not protect His own Son…. He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son.

            I'm not saying that the Lord is not trying to get your attention because you are sinning, just that there are other reasons for the difficulties we experience in this life, as well. All of them should be seen as being advantageous to us, IMHO, because of God's love for us (see Romans 8:28 below :)). Let me be clear about this however, you should continue to seek His will in this matter until you are satisfied that you understand it, because if He is trying to get your attention about something in a very direct way, you definitely do not want to ignore Him :eek:

            Yours in Christ,
            David



            "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
            to those who are the called according to His purpose"

            Romans 8:28
            Last edited by David Lee; 09-10-2016, 02:51 AM.
            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
            Comment>

            • #7
              Thank you for the relevant, kind words. I have read the book of Job as well. This runs so contrary from what I've been told where if it is me specifically, and it is not just "coincidence" (raining on the just and unjust), then usually God is punishing some abhorrent way or act now.

              I wish I knew what to do.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by celnir View Post
                I wish I knew what to do.
                Continue to pray, and continue to "renew your mind" .. Romans 12:2

                And continue to, "delight yourself in Him", of course .. Psalm 37:4 :)

                Praying for you!

                In Christ,
                David
                Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                Comment>

                • #9
                  It appears to me that you are suffering the same way Job did. He was having problems and trying to find the reason, and his friends told him he must have committed some kind of sin. In fact, God was allowing Satan to test Job so he could demonstrate his faith in God. God does sometimes chastise us because we have sinned, but when that happens he lets us know what we did wrong. Here is something that I think may apply to you:
                  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
                  (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
                  I will pray that God will help you find a job and that you will remain faithful to him.
                  Clyde Herrin's Blog
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
                    Hi Celnir, first off, WELCOME TO CF :)

                    As for what you are "doing wrong", it may be nothing that you're doing at all.





                    I love Elisabeth Elliot quotes, and this one seems particularly apropos:





                    I'm not saying that the Lord is not trying to get your attention because you are sinning, just that there are other reasons for the difficulties we experience in this life, as well. All of them should be seen as being advantageous to us, IMHO, because of God's love for us (see Romans 8:28 below :)). Let me be clear about this however, you should continue to seek His will in this matter until you are satisfied that you understand it, because if He is trying to get your attention about something in a very direct way, you definitely do not want to ignore Him :eek:

                    Yours in Christ,
                    David



                    "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
                    to those who are the called according to His purpose"

                    Romans 8:28
                    Elizabeth Elliot, missionary and three-time widow. . .



                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by celnir View Post
                      After a brutal year between mergers and just freak circumstances during work that I can't really mention in public, I had to hop from job to job, and my last job just stopped paying employees (I worked there for a month, never received a single paycheck), so I wound up having to quit to get unemployment (which may not come due to the fact that I resigned). Job prospects are nonexistent right now, when in July, the listings were full of them.

                      A friend of mine's pastor told me that I am sinning in some way, and that God is punishing me by throwing me out of jobs so I would understand that I am committing offenses against Him in some manner, and to fix it now or face my family and I winding up as wretched, helpless beggars on the streets in this life, and for me, perdition in the next.

                      But I don't know what I am doing wrong. I am not a deviant, I don't drink or use illegal drugs. I am not into porn. I really don't know what I need to fix to get back into God's fellowship so I can be a functioning member of His church body. I have fasted on this and have no answer.

                      What am I doing wrong in my faith that I am unable to find work, and when I do, I have things happen which I have no control over which force me out? Is it because some of my friends are non Christian? I was told by one church that until I got right with Him and figured out why He was throwing me out of employers, I was not wanted past their doors. I also was referred to Matthew 7:21, and that something is wrong with my faith or life, causing Jesus to turn His back.

                      I know this sounds selfish, but I've been trying to get my life in order somehow, so I can be more helpful in His name, and have something to give to others. I understand things happen, but this past year has been just a struggle to get a job, get hired, only to get tossed out the door due to the company being bought out, or other bad luck.

                      I apologize in advance if this sounds like self pity, but I have no clue what I am doing wrong here, and the Christian friends I know point to some action or belief I have that is causing Him to take direct action and swing the rod.
                      Trying to read the circumstances of your like life tea leaves will only lead to insanity. Trust Him through the trial. That's the battle, my friend.

                      God's wrath was poured out upon Christ. If He were to punish you for your sin you would have been vaporized long ago, not just out of a job.
                      Last edited by thatbrian; 09-12-2016, 10:55 AM.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        I have to thank everyone again for the good insights. I have a definite starting point, and Acts 5:3 is a verse that does show what happens when the Lord (namely the Holy Spirit) does reach out to truly punish. This is a tough struggle for me, and I may have veered off into true blasphemy by the mentioned maltheism.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by celnir View Post
                          I have to thank everyone again for the good insights. I have a definite starting point, and Acts 5:3 is a verse that does show what happens when the Lord (namely the Holy Spirit) does reach out to truly punish. This is a tough struggle for me, and I may have veered off into true blasphemy by the mentioned maltheism.
                          Hi Celnir, what is the "mentioned maltheism" that you speak of? If it's in this thread, I missed it.

                          Yours and His,
                          David
                          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Hi Celnir, I never commented directly about some of the stuff you wrote in the OP, so I thought I would now. You said:

                            Originally posted by celnir View Post
                            A friend of mine's pastor told me that I am sinning in some way, and that God is punishing me by throwing me out of jobs so I would understand that I am committing offenses against Him in some manner, and to fix it now or face my family and I winding up as wretched, helpless beggars on the streets in this life, and for me, perdition in the next.
                            WOW! If you are a "believer", you will 'not' spend the next life in perdition (cf John 3:16; John 3:18; John 5:24; John 6:37-40; John 10:27-28; 1 John 5:13..........). If you are not a believer, then there is only one thing that can be "fixed" that will make any real difference to you in this life and, especially, in the next, you need to become a Christian :)

                            Originally posted by celnir View Post
                            What am I doing wrong in my faith .. Is it because some of my friends are non Christian?
                            Nope, the Lord was a "friend to tax collectors and sinners" (i.e. Luke 7:34), so you're in good Company there ;)

                            Originally posted by celnir View Post
                            I was told by one church that until I got right with Him and figured out why He was throwing me out of employers, I was not wanted past their doors.
                            You are kidding about this, right?

                            Originally posted by celnir View Post
                            I also was referred to Matthew 7:21, and that something is wrong with my faith or life, causing Jesus to turn His back.
                            The Lord chose to die for us rather than live w/o us. He doesn't "turn His back" on those who are His (or those who will be His), no matter what we've done.

                            As for Matthew 7:21, the question to ask is, "what is the Lord actually saying there"? (since we know that we are saved by grace through faith APART from works of any kind .. i.e. Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5) IOW, is being obedient the "means" by which we are saved, or is v21 describing a "characteristic" of those who already are (saved)? Hint, see Matthew 7:22-23; John 17:3 for the answer to that.

                            Hope that helps! Oh, and don't forget to let me/us know what the, "mentioned maltheism", on your part was earlier in this thread.

                            Thanks!

                            --David
                            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              I definitely was unclear on the maltheism part. That was from me.
                              Comment>
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