Religion leaders today emphasize, as they did during Jesus’ time, God’s demand for certain beliefs or obedience rather than God’s desire for a relationship. Human or a spiritual parent brings children into the world hoping they choose to freely reciprocate their love. Only religious extremists believe controlling decisions results in true love. A desire for a close relationship is not manipulative when a parent’s motive is to encourage guidance always in a child’s best interests. God warns actions that lead to destruction as any loving parent does, but Jesus understood obedience is caught not taught. Whether God is worth following can be decided once you get to know who God really is.
Jesus’ conversations weren’t about certain beliefs or actions determining one’s eternal destiny. Jesus’ message was simply God’s desire to walk hand in hand with us in loving others like we want to be loved. Deep down we all know that is a life truly worth living. When Jesus was asked how one obtains eternal life, Jesus simply said to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). Mark writes Jesus said this was the “main thing” in life (12:28-34). Loving God is to love ourselves and others like we want to be loved. God like earthly parents pursue a relationship with their children in hopes to inspire striving to make for a better world.
James, the brother of Jesus, and disciples after Jesus spoke about the importance of loving others. “What good is it…..if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them” (2:14)? Certain beliefs don’t necessarily lead to a life worth living. Jesus simply reminded us what we know in our heart to be true about a fulfilling life, but Jesus wanted us to know of our Creator’s love and forgiveness to empower us in shunning evil and doing good. God doesn’t hold one’s past or present against them. God like any parent hopes a child will freely respond to their love to make for a better world.
Jesus never said God is only interested in a relationship if we have certain beliefs or live up to certain standards. God simply like any loving parent wants you to know of a life that doesn’t lead to full of regrets on earth and the life to come. Jesus obviously sought to inspire change not perfection or life is depressing. Jesus wanted to give the hopeless hope and the hopeful an even more fulfilling life. Life transformations don’t happen when obeying out of fear or compulsion but when understanding how much God cares about you no matter your history. God’s continual encouragement and mercy is our necessary nourishment for true changes of the heart.
If you could give a damn how you treat others, the law was created for you. If any part of you is unhappy in such a pursuit your Creator is listening. You may be a moral person who doesn’t feel a need for God. I believe God is open any time in the future should one desire a relationship in striving to be even more the person you desire to be. God-folks might consider getting to know God even more intimately for encouragement. I only need to look how sometimes I fail to treat my wife like I want to be treated to realize I need God’s constant support. Jesus came to do what the law can’t. The law doesn’t require we go the extra mile in relationships but that is sometimes the only way for relationships to heal and continue. Jesus came to encourage a close relationship with God to empower such actions for personal and worldly gain.