God could have a greater impact in the lives of others if we avoided one main assumption about God’s agenda. Most know Jesus main message was to love your neighbor as yourself, but people typically enter conversations about God with the mentality “first things first.” Christianity over the centuries has taught that Jesus came to save us from God’s wrath. God is portrayed as being more concerned with their reputation and honor than love and well-being of their children.
When people talk about God initially, they may suggest one must first believe in God and be saved from God’s justice; otherwise, one risks going to Hell than Heaven. We must confess our sins and accept Jesus’ death as our necessary punishment in God’s eyes. Jesus did not have a list of beliefs required of His disciples before encouraging them to follow Him. Jesus’ interactions with others didn’t suggest certain steps one must take before taking to heart His message. Jesus simply encouraged all to never grow wary of doing good and shunning evil to avoid destruction.
Do we really think Jesus rejected those who expressed doubt if He was the one prophesized or even if there was a God? Jesus certainly defended Himself to those who believed in some kind of God. There are many rational reasons why one may struggle with believing in an invisible God, but whether one believes in a God or not doesn’t prove God exists or not. Jesus clearly was sensitive to others by allowing the freedom to believe or not believe on one’s own timetable.
What Jesus didn’t tolerate and spoke out against was destructive behaviors. What parent doesn’t warn their children of behaviors that are self-destructive? I am open-minded but any beliefs that violate the rights of others are immoral. Any belief that says it doesn’t matter how I treat others as long as I am happy is disastrous. One has a right to believe that, but I wouldn’t be wrong warning you won’t have many friends and your children won’t visit when you are older. The only reasons you might have friends or children visit is because they are financially dependent on you. You will never experience the deepest joy in relationships because how you treat others.
Conversations should never be forced but there should be no hidden agendas when encouraging one another to be more the people we deep down desire to be. How can our relationships better heal and thrive? In a troubled world being law-abiding citizens is great but not enough. We must be encouraging and forgiving people. Jesus’ sought to convey that our Creator loves and forgives us despite our failures in hopes we will treat others the same. It matters to some how their Creator’s feels about them. Jesus didn’t come to save God’s reputation but to save us from ourselves!