Have you ever said to someone, “How Could You!?”

All of us have had our expectations crushed by some deviant behavior committed by someone we care about. We believe that with the right amount of teaching and influence, that a certain someone is beyond the ability to stumble and fall. The judgment, “That’s so beneath you,” is one way of saying, “You’re better than that.”

But consider two presumptions that you would have to believe:

1. That humans are capable of excelling beyond the ability to fall and fail.

2. That you have never done anything yourself to warrant the same response.

Sure, we are disappointed, even saddened and grieved when someone we care about has broken our hearts with a trespass of some sort. We cry in their presence and do not hide our pain. This is good and normal. It means we really do want to see excellence and safe passage for another. But this is where rightful longings for good behavior and wrongful beliefs in the ability of man collide. This is where you can either bring hope into someone’s brokenness, or add insult to injury.

When God approached the first couple that failed the first failure, what did he say? I can tell you that he did not say,

“HOW COULD YOU? After all that I have done for you, after all the hard work I went through to provide such a cushy setting, after I have invested money, time, and energy into you two – how could you just throw it all away? This is so beneath you .  . . I’m speechless . . . I’m at a loss for words to describe my disappointment with you . . . you beat everything.”

Whew! Can you imagine hearing that? Sounds self-centered and ego driven doesn’t it? It sounds like someone is a little too obsessed with entitlement. Invest – expect a certain return. No return – are you ready for this?

“You were a bad investment – I should never have stuck my neck out for you. Had I known in advance that this would have been my return, you would not have gotten a dimes’ worth of love from me – you have turned out to be a waste of my hard work.”

I thank God that though I grieve him with my failures, my sins, my wasteful moments and episodes (for I do believe that when we sin and fail, we fail to “redeem the time” that we were given, and did not make the most of a good opportunity [Eph. 5:16]), he does not pour salt into an open wound, causing me to feel rejected and dismissed. No, he calls me to confess my sin and failure. He instructs my heart to consider the path of repeated missteps of unbelief that led to the inevitable fall. He beckons me to approach his throne of grace and forgiveness. He promises new mercies for another morning, new beginnings for another day. He does not sulk with self-righteous indignation. He is not surprised. He is not self-deceived. He knows that without him I can do nothing right. He knows that in a moment of blind stupidity, I can do the unthinkable. He is not self-deluded with grandiose aspirations that does not take into account my wandering heart that is prone to leave the God I love. My God is wide-awake to what he has invested in: The Everlasting Glory of His Grace that will be enjoyed and praised by broken sinners. “O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.”

Yes, God calls me to holiness, without which, I will not see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). But he knows who he’s dealing with, and he knows how much I need him – thank God! This is why he sent is son, Jesus Christ. When by faith Christ stands in my place, the Father is able to say to me, “How Could I Not Love You!?”

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