We God lovers know it is easier to tell a friend about a great movie rather than discuss God. You can hear crickets when inviting someone to a church you love to attend. I know some don’t want to talk about spiritual issues any more than they want to talk about relationship issues. Such conversations may require making necessary changes. But, our theology too may make it harder to talk about God with others. We may find certain things about God embarrassing? What we think God is really like can matter.
The good news is that we do not have to try to force God on others. We can stop feeling guilty. The truth is God is patient and waits for an invitation. Jesus at the well didn’t give the woman a canned evangelistic speech and berate her about her sin. He simply said “Then, neither do I condemn you….Go now and leave your life of sin” (Jn 8:11). God only pulled out the whooping stick with evil people that were causing devastation in others’ lives. Jesus was toughest on the religious folks of His day – those who were pushing their brand of God on others. God is ready to talk when we are ready. Sometimes, I will interject God’s name briefly in a conversation because I think about God 24/7, but I don’t go any further than one wants. I feel no pressure to save people, only to love people. Many respond to that. Even better news is that we aren’t in the business of selling fire insurance. God is not a hellish, sadistic torturer.
No one wants to share about a God who purposely keeps people alive to burn forever. I have discovered the Bible or Jesus never talks about a place to punish people in a place of eternal consciousness for sins committed in a few short years. Hell appears to be an invention over the centuries to force people into submission. God is not a sadistic torturer. We humans wouldn’t even treat our enemies that way. Christians do not have to fear they must defend this view about God when talking to others. The Bible doesn’t say for sure what happens after people die. I know, I know, you don’t believe me. Consider my Post January 13, 2013 – Hell? No!
No one wants to share about a God who plays favorites. God doesn’t think women should be submissive to men in a way men should not reciprocate. Women over the centuries have been subject to abuse at the hands of men who think they are the “head” of women. The last thing men need over women is any type of authority. I don’t have to tell my daughters they can’t be leaders or preachers in the world or church. Gifts are according to one’s personality not their gender. It is too risky to not empower half the church in their giftedness, if we can’t be absolutely positive the Bible teaches it. One person wrote to the editor of a newspaper “…it’s been bothering me since 9/11. What’s the difference between the strain of Islam that proscribes gender roles and its counterpart in Christianity that does the same thing, albeit with a different set of prohibitions?”
No one wants to share a God who seems to do nothing about all the suffering in the world. How can we explain both the presence of evil and the goodness of God in this world? God must allow suffering as a result of evil in the world because God created freedom. Even human parents know that forced love is not genuine love. If God constantly interfered with evil and the suffering that results, this would make a mockery out of freedom. Besides, we would accuse God of not interfering all the time. Maybe God is patient with evil at the expense of God’s pain and our pain. God wants people to change of their own volition. Jesus’ suffering and our suffering can inspire personal change and inspire others to change. Miracles never seem to last. God does not cause our suffering; God grieves when we suffer; God did not avoid suffering through His Son; God will walk hand-in-hand with us through any tragedy; and God promises an end to suffering. God has conquered death.
God didn’t kill His Son for revenge or wrath reasons. God is not an angry, warmonger. God doesn’t put a quota on those that can get into Heaven, depending on if they say a certain magic prayer. We may be surprised how many people end up in Heaven. Besides, Jesus’ focus wasn’t on the afterlife but what God can do for us here on earth. We aren’t selling fire insurance but a better life on this earth. We don’t have to force God on others, but sometimes I am dying to tell others about God’s amazing unconditional love. I try to find ways to mention God in creative ways. You can tell when people want to go further. Then, I try to do a lot of listening. We have nothing to be embarrassed about. Talking about God may be difficult because of what you think God is really like or because you may think you need to force God on others.