Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God only encourages you to love others without any hidden agenda to convert them?
- True friendships don’t have hidden agendas. Having the goal of conversion leads to spiritual discussions becoming taboo as the agenda is obvious to others. We can get together with friends to enjoy one another’s company and love them how we wished to be loved. I love talking to others about my relationship with God as much as I do a good book, but only if natural and mutually desired. Jesus only wanted others to feel loved by their Creator.
- Spiritual conversations do not have to proceed: “Do you believe in God? Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God and died to save you from your sins? Will you confess your sins, believe, and go to church?” Very few react positively or are persuaded with such an approach unless choosing to attend an evangelistic meeting in the first place. Such conversations lead to more of a negative perception of Jesus and/or Christianity. God is not the kind of Parent that insists we jump through hoops when interested in having a relationship. Jesus simply encouraged people to follow deep down what they knew best in their heart.
- Spiritual conversations are often avoided because one believes such conversation must lead people to accepting a free pass out of Hell. The traditional understanding of Hell is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and of course is morally indefensible. Who doesn’t know unending suffering is pointless as it doesn’t produce any good? We do not have to avoid conversations because God is some immoral, irrational Being. God only desires to help others love one another in a troubled world. Friendships are hindered when one feels pressure to talk to people about God or they are going straight to Hell.
- Jesus, when not confronting immorality or self-centeredness, discussed God in natural, unforced ways. Jesus didn’t think of eternal life as something after death but a quality of life that begins here on earth. Jesus when asked how to obtain eternal life, simply said to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). God is not egotistical but Jesus understood loving God is being empowered to love others to the fullest. Jesus cared less about certain beliefs and more about caring for others as we would want to be cared for. Jesus taught knowing how God feels about us can help us on that journey. Mother Teresa said that she was simply responding to God’s boundless love for her and humanity.
- The majority of people born have lived and died without any knowledge of the Bible or who Jesus was. A loving God doesn’t insist all believe in the Christian God they have never heard about or may not truly understand. We can simply encourage other to consider the possibility of a God or Reality that seeks for a better world by loving others like we want to be loved deep down. Jesus and all the great spiritual leaders had this message. Jesus didn’t convey a litmus test of sacred beliefs. Would Jesus be encouraged by one who believe He was God but didn’t take to heart His moral message or one who questioned Jesus’ deity but took to heart the importance of loving others like you want to be loved? Jesus didn’t back down from the belief that a self-centered life is doomed for destruction and is not true freedom.
I am convinced there is a God and, like a loving parent, can be an inspiration in being the person we desire to be deep down. God’s love and forgiveness can be our necessary nourishment that leads to life transformations. Very few disagree that the motivation to love your neighbor is wrong-minded. It isn’t always easy to know when best to forgive or seek justice, but actions that can lead to change from brokenness is so badly needed in an imperfect world.