God’s Word describe His multi-faceted character and nature which the Psalmist wrote, “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy, the Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psa. 145:8-9). James said, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful (compassionate), and of tender mercy” (Jas. 5:11). There is a side to God’s nature that many of us have misconstrued, one the Psalmist reminds, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite” (Psa. 147:5). This word “understanding” means ‘to perceive; to know with the mind; to discern; to know by experience & observation; conscious awareness.’ Certainly we will all agreed that God’s understanding or perception of things is infinite, as compared to our own: “….Lean not upon thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Preachers hear a multitude of excuses for not putting the kingdom of God first in members lives, and believe me when I first obeyed the gospel I used them too. But to put God’s infinite understanding in the category of worldly thinking is spiritually unhealthy. Let’s look at some of the excuses Christians sometimes use in the name of God’s understanding nature.
1. God’s understands that parents must love their children no matter what they do. As is the case with God our Father who loved us so much He sent His Only begotten Son despite our being sinners (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8), parents will also love their children despite the trouble they may get into, or the rebellion they display as they grow up. However, love should never equal tolerance or ignoring of sinful activity. Christian parents above all should realize that God does not understand or condone parents who refuse to discipline their children. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24). “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Prov. 23:13). The same true of children who have grown up, living on their own. Discipline is still required by God, but in a different way. The withdrawing of fellowship is just as much a command for family members as it is for erring spiritual family members. God does not understand tolerating a child or church member who has turned to homosexuality, adultery, porn, theft, etc. He demands that we rebuke them, and if they will not repent, then withdraw from them. As hard as it may be (2 Thess. 3:6).
2. God understands that we have to live in the world. This misapplication of God’s infinite understanding is used to justify a variety of sins. When the weather begins to heat up, what better time to fall back on God’s understanding when wearing shorts, immodest swimwear, tank tops, short skirts, among many other worldly apparel. Or when all the summer sports are in full swing and we would rather be with the world than with brethren studying God’s word? Then there is the constant rebellion of God’s children forsaking the assembling of the saints on Sunday and Wednesday nights.
The problem we face, whether we admit it or not, is that God does not understand such thinking. We only say that He does to justify our weaknesses. Jesus prayed that His disciples would not be of the world, as He was not of the world (John 17:15-16). In 1 John 2:15-17 the apostle warns us not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. How much plainer does the Holy Spirit have to be in explaining God’s understanding of things? James so pointedly reminds us, “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? (Jas. 4:4).