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Archive for September, 2015

How Does God Seek To Change The World?

God desires to inspire one life and one heart at a time. Groups can pursue meaningful change but it takes inspired individuals to lead to change the world. God desires individuals who radically treat others as they want to be treated as Jesus lived out. In a complicated world this can be by pursing both mercy and justice in response to evil, which are different aspects of love. Loving parents seek the admiration and respect of their children so they want to follow in their footsteps to make this world a better place. Similarly, knowing and understanding God’s amazing love for us is what inspires acts of selfless love toward others.

Followers of Jesus often put the cart before the horse by insisting on obedience instead of pursuing an intimate relationship with one’s Creator. It is implied we better obey God or burn in hell forever. God has never sought to inspire out of fear but love. The Cross is not about God’s revenge and need for appeasement. Actually, the Cross is God’s attempt to convince us of His unimaginable love for us. God seeks a relationship for our own good. Jesus didn’t die to change God’s attitude toward us. God’s attitude never changes. To suggest God seeks to inspire out of fear than from love suggest humans understand love better than God.

Human parents don’t threaten their children with punishment for the purpose of gaining a friendship. We warn them of evil for their own good in hopes to steer them from destruction. Tough love is simply another side of genuine love. The fear of punishment is meant to deter but doesn’t lead to life transformations. Gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor does not conquer battles against self-centeredness or long-standing habitual sins in our lives. Fear does not lead to intimacy in relationships which can inspire us to be the kind of person we truly want to be. We often are not invited to understand how much God loves us so a true friendship can develop.

God’s love, not His wrath, was center stage in Scriptures (I John 4:8). The fear of punishment doesn’t prevent one from finding ways to hide their actions. Obligatory obedience doesn’t lead to reflections how to better ourselves, only to reach certain “good” standards. Do we truly love our partner if we are successful 85% of the time? “There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear… (I John 4:18).” Does God not know what humans know that in perfect love, fear cannot exist?

We all are selfish to some degree but why doesn’t God interfere more with certain horrific evils? But, is one rape any less evil then the raping of women and children of an entire village? God would have to make a total mockery of freedom to control evil. Would you as a parent destroy your child, if they murdered, if you thought they could be redeemed? Would you destroy the murderer of your child if you knew in time they would genuinely repent of their evil and influence others for good? God always cares more about redeeming than destroying. God joined in undeserved suffering through His Son to identify with us and influence us. God surely created the very best world possible, with freedom in mind, to redeem as many of His children as possible.

Mother Teresa had an amazing capacity to love others. Mother Teresa claimed that she was simply responding to God’s boundless love for her and for all of humanity. When one feels extraordinarily loved they simply want to return that love to others. Understanding God’s radical love is the only way to change the world in the long-run one life at a time. Intimacy inspires one to follow in God’s path of wisdom which is always in our best interest. Efforts vary but God’s love doesn’t. We can start off each day feeling accepted. Jesus encouraged others to follow Him for He knew their thirst would be satisfied if they did so.

What Are Unhelpful Excuses We Make For God?

Some may wish to talk about spiritual matters, but explanations we give about how God’s goodness and evil can co-exist for example stifle such discussions. Certain answers about God’s role in suffering can alienate or draw us close to our Creator. “Why, me!” can sometimes turn into “why God do you not love me.” Lack of answers can make tragic times worse. It is often proclaimed in trying to understand and know God better that God is a mystery; we aren’t capable of understanding God; or God’s morality isn’t our own.

Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches that God is a mystery. God may be said to be incomprehensible because one’s characterization of God isn’t plausible based on what a loving God should be like. Claiming God is a total mystery doesn’t invite investigation by those who may be seeking God. Why did God even bother to communicate to us through the Bible if we can’t possible understand Him? Isaiah 55:8-9 is used frequently to defend that God’s character or ways are a mystery and incomprehensible to the human mind. The context though only declares our ways aren’t always as great or moral as God’s ways: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…. so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches that God says that we have the brain of a clam. God, like human parents, doesn’t say this if desiring a relationship with their child. God didn’t tell Job to shut up and sit down because he can’t possible understand the Creator. Job was questioning God’s justness and why He did not intervene sooner in in his undeserved suffering: “Why must those who know him look in vain for such days” (24:1)? God wasn’t declaring He cannot be understood by mere mortals. God said to Job: “Would you discredit my justice. Would you condemn me to justify yourself (40:8)? God defends He isn’t unjust because the righteous suffer and the wicked may prosper for a time here on earth. Job eventually acknowledged: “I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (42:2). Job acknowledged He was incapable of overseeing a universe where freedom is allowed.

Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches God’s morality is not the same as humans. God doesn’t have to play by our rules. For example it is said the Bible teaches selective election where God elects certain individuals for eternal life, thus foreordaining millions of humans to eternal damnation without any choice. Earthly parents would be accused of immorality if they showed similar favoritism toward their children. There is not a quota on God’s love. God does not ask His children to be impartial (James 2:1) and yet God shows such favoritism. A parent who tells a child “do as I say not as I do” is not going to have much of a relationship with that child or inspire them to follow their guidance for their own good.

God doesn’t think we are all “wretches to save.” How can we get close to a God who is portrayed as thinking we are totally worthless? The Bible doesn’t say that since God is perfect and we aren’t to simply count your blessing and shut up. God desires a relationship and like human parents – for our own good. Humans have a concept of perfect love because we are made in our Creator’s image. God’s love and perfect human love are one in the same. God’s desire for us and what we desire deep down for ourselves are inseparable. Let’s have discussions that don’t deter but enable considering if one’s beliefs about God hinder from feeling closer or more intimate with their Creator.

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