You may be wondering, and a few have asked, why a blog for those rejected by the church, turned off by church and yet still interested in God would start with several posts about what God is like. The answer is simple.
I believe with all my heart that if someone truly understood how wonderful my Father in heaven is, it would be impossible for them to reject or ignore Him. Indeed, they would run to Him and embrace Him as the Father they have always wanted. They would jump at His offer to come home and return to being a cherished member of the family. They would know who they truly are in His eyes.
Unfortunately, people are not getting an accurate picture of who God is. There is one main reason for this.
People, many churches and Christians included, do not have an accurate picture of God, what He is like
There are three reasons for this:
Let me start by stating an absolute. God is good. He is always good. Everything He does is good. If bad happens, it was not God’s doing. Period!
Yet some churches teach that God brings bad into our life to teach us something. That He ‘allows’ bad for His purposes. This is totally wrong! If I did even a fraction to my children that God gets blamed for with His, I would be arrested and put in jail. And people want nothing to do with a god that would do that. Neither would I.
This is why bad stuff enters my life. One, I make stupid decisions. Two, others make stupid decisions that affect me. Three, we live in a fallen world full of evil. Finally, satan is active trying to destroy all followers of Jesus. That last one is easy to prevent.
Let’s say I decide to drink and drive and end up killing someone. I made a stupid decision. I cannot blame it on God, someone else, the world nor satan. Let’s say someone else decides to drink and drive and hits me. That’s their stupid decision. It was not wrong for me to be driving. God did not cause it nor did satan. Do you see how this works?
Yet God seems to get blamed for it all. God is good.
Mixing Old and New Testament
When Jesus came to the earth He presented His father [God] as someone totally different than people understood up to that time. Instead of a vengeful, fire-throwing God, that required total perfection, Jesus presented Him as a loving Father who welcomed His children home, offering forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. We’ve been looking at that for several blogs.
Unfortunately, too many churches and Christians want to hang onto that old picture and insist that newcomers live up to sets of rules that they themselves could never attain. They want forgiveness for themselves but justice for others.
The night before He died, Jesus met with His disciples. At that dinner, He introduced a new deal. He told them that the old way of ritual, sacrifices and being perfect was over. He said from here on there is a new way to be right with God. The new way was Him giving up His life for ours and by doing so paid for all our mistakes, wrongdoing and evil thoughts.
He called it a new covenant. To come home, simply believe that Jesus is who He is and that’s all that required. Jesus threw out the old way of ritual and religion, gritting our teeth and clenching our fists trying to be good. Why do we want to hold onto it?
Filter of our own logic
Now we are getting into it! This might upset some of you a little. So be it.
No one living today or for a long time has ever seen a living example of God’s love. Not since Jesus. No one has ever seen unconditional love. No one has seen forgiveness that keeps on forgiving if we need it. No one has ever seen someone like the father in the story Jesus told.
If you haven’t yet, go back and read the posts about the story Jesus told about what His father is like. Go to the ‘home’ page and click on ‘Father’ under ‘Search by Category’.
Because we have never seen it, we can’t imagine what it is like so we change it to make it make sense to us. By doing so, our understanding becomes our god. The Bible calls that idolatry. We are not saying, ‘God’s not like that’. We are saying, ‘if I were God I would not do that.’ ‘I would not forgive, I would make them pay’.
To those churches and Christians who tell you are not welcome, not good enough or beyond God’s forgiveness I want to say this, ‘YOU’RE NOT GOD’. Is your theology and behaviour accurately reflecting our Father?
I Want You to Come With Me
I want you to come with me as I get back to what really matters. As I get back to my future. What really matters is Jesus. My future is Jesus.
Too many people reject a misunderstanding of God rather than God Himself. And the church is mostly to blame for that.
Reject Him if you must. God allows you that choice. But be sure you are rejecting an accurate picture of who He is. Please.
As we take this journey, the following is what I believe and promise you:
To follow the way of Jesus rather than rules, rituals and religion.
To be free to doubt and question without fear of dogmatic reprisals.
To make kindness and compassion a priority and pursue justice for all people.
To embrace messiness and imperfection while aspiring to be all we can be.
To live courageously and resist being motivated by quilt or shame.
To party, laugh often, enjoy friends and welcome strangers.
To resist passing judgement and befriend people in the margins.
To believe that God is good.