Two Sides of the Table

D L Henderson
7 min readSep 17, 2023

September 17, 2023

The other day, I was thinking about all the hostility in the world today — especially toward God, Jesus, and the Bible, and, of course, to one another. So, I thought to myself, “Something should be done about it.” Well, the only thing I know how to do is to continue to write essays, trying personal persuasion… even though civil discussion is nearly impossible to find.

So, now, many people reject outright the notion that God is love.

Contrary to many theological opinions, such discouraged people do have good reasons to doubt. They have some questions that are legitimate, some of what they have been taught may be fallacious, and in other cases, they have been purposefully misled. In the first two cases, questions, sadly, tend to precipitate from hurts held deep inside. In the last case, shamefully, people have intended to do harm, to make people close up and become cynical, keeping them from the help and healing God has in store for them.

Perhaps the question should be put to them, “Are they more about love than God?” Are cynics the best source for answers to the eternal or, for that matter, anything else?

God hates “sin” because it is both hurtful and harmful, and most important, our lack of understanding separates us from Him.

Deplorably, in the case of those who are on a mission to mislead others, they are simply operating from a base of malicious malcontent.

Nothing much I can do in the ways of answers here for the malcontents. “In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.” — Deuteronomy 32:35, New Living Translation. Solomon wisely suggested, “Don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.” Proverbs 9:8, ibid.

For everyone else there is hope. There is hope for the hurting and hope for the seekers pursuing truth and justice.

Notwithstanding, here is God’s solution: “…I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over…” — Isaiah 1:18, Contemporary English Version. I chose this version because it goes directly to my point. Most translations have either “Come now, let us reason together.” or “Come now, let’s settle the matter.” All in all, they give me the impression of a Contract Negotiation, even though it could be like a Pre-trial Hearing — either has Biblical significance… You see, sometimes the Bible passages have deeper and broader applications than expediency in this essay necessitates.

At any rate, this offer sounds like a great deal to me: “I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool.” ibid. If my testimony is true, don’t you see this as a good offer? And notice that God is offering to talk it over with us!

Not getting sidetracked, to my point, it matters what side of the table you are sitting on. If you are negotiating for the Corporation, you hate dealing with the Unions, but if you are an Employee, you love the raises the Union gets for you. Or when you go out to eat at a restaurant, you may either love the food or hate it — or perhaps, the food will hate you. Nevertheless, in a family setting, if there is obedience, love flows, but if there is disobedience, there are all kinds of tensions stopping that flow..

Then, a Bible verse in this passage came to mind: Exodus 20:2–6 — “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commandments.”

It becomes clear that if a person is on the “wrong side” of God, they could see Him as a tyrant, but if a person is on the “right side” of God, they could easily see Him as a loving Father. It is, then, a matter of perspective. More importantly, this compels a person to answer the essential question, “What side of the table am I sitting on?”

If you are a parent or child, I’m sure you have seen these dynamics at work in your own family. Gratefulness or ungratefulness can determine your attitude toward your children, and ungratefulness blocks your love from showing. “I hate you!” from a child doesn’t conjure up a picture of love now does it? A little gratitude and appreciation, however, goes a long way. The family members can be reconciled to each other. The waters of love can then flow like a river.

Now, MerriamWebster.com has an interesting perspective while defining “jealous” — “as in possessive: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness. synonyms — possessive, protective.” The illustration in the Bible of unfaithfulness is the continuous ungrateful attitude and contentious disobedience of the descendents of Jacob.

God is jealous in a protective sense, not wanting any harm to come your way. But there are harmful things all around aren’t there? True. Here the cynics question the all-powerful God, accusing Him of Negligence. Well wait a second! God created this beautiful green Earth and gave it to us for us to enjoy, to care for, and to protect. We appreciate none of this. We are unthankful , and we prove it by neglecting all those aspects and responsibilities. It always has been a series of choices Mankind has made to ignore God and His precepts. Then we, like spoiled children, attempt to turn it all around, blaming God for the consequences of our attitudes and actions. Yet, there is no escaping the fact that we are the Negligent, not God.

The results, it seems to me, are the increasing number of Climate disasters and loss of life happening all around the world. God hasn’t brought calamity on us. We have brought calamity on ourselves and our neighbors all around the Earth. This can be said about all Mankind’s problems. They are self-made.

Here’s something to consider: “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.” Psalm 18:25–27, New International Version.

Here again is another one of God’s offers, still sitting on the Negotiating Table, waiting on us for our counter proposal: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” That is saying, while we yet are opposing Him — as if we are hormonally fueled adolescents — Jesus died for us. That is a bit more than most parents would do for their own children. Most parents would just throw up their hands and let them go.

In addition, I researched the Aramaic definition of jealous at weekly.israelbiblecenter.com — “The Hebrew verb קָנָא (qana)… …describes an intense emotion. It is a derivative of a noun קִנְאָה (qinah) translated as “jealousy” or “zeal”. In fact, in Hebrew, being jealous and being zealous are the same. The same word expresses both notions and meanings. The context alone determines the difference and shows the direction of this powerful feeling.”

Why is God so zealous for Mankind? Well, why did He create everything in the first place? Because He had nothing better to do? Well, that last question might not be too far off…

“God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” — Genesis 1:31, NLT.

He saw that everything was very good!,

What do you think? Was God correct? Is His creation all good, or what?

God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground — everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” — Genesis 1:28–31. ibid.

Jesus said, “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away…” — John 6:37.

The Father gives Jesus the crown and we get to share His inheritance.

Don’t understand?

Read the Bible and start talking to Jesus.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between