picture taken from hubspot.net
We have a heavenly Father, one who will never leave us, never abandon us; who is always there to catch us when we fall. A Father who is constantly reaching out in love; not in guilt or shame. A Father who’s love spans a thousand years, who is always faithful, always full of grace, and always forgiving. A Father who would rather love us even as we sin, than condemn us. A while back, I was watching a TV show called ‘The Secret Life of an American Teenager’, and during one clip a Christian guy is at this girls house and she’s trying to pressure him into sleeping with her, claiming they can go to confession afterwards. The boy awkwardly responded “[I’m a protestant], we don’t have confession… We have guilt, shame, regret.. yea we have those.”
Ouch. Has the church really become defined by the symptoms of sin rather than by the grace of a loving Father? I sure hope not. But it is true that we tend to judge people for their mistakes, struggling to love them because we don’t agree with their lifestyle. Maybe you don’t, but I know I sometimes do.
But the reality is that despite our judgment, God’s arms are still open wide. Despite the fact that many churches (not all and certainly not mine) push people away because of their sin, God still accepts them. Almost like He’s more worried about a person’s well-being than about their past sins.
IN THE BIBLE, SINNERS WHO CAME TO JESUS LEFT PURE; FORGIVEN AND HEALED. WHEREAS SINNERS COME TO CHURCH AND LEAVE FEELING GUILTY, ASHAMED OR PISSED OFF. RARELY HELPED.
The Fathers Heart is a heart that is consistently full of love. Full of grace. Full of mercy. In the bible, sinners who came to Jesus left pure; forgiven and healed. Whereas sinners come to church and leave feeling guilty, ashamed or pissed off. Rarely helped. For some reason, the church tends to crucify those who sin, especially when it’s a person who’s already in the church. But God’s arms are still always open, despite the fact that they may already believe in Him. And they’re always still open wide, in forgiveness and love when they don’t.
The fact of the matter is that I’m a recovering sinner, and so are you. But we are called to become more and more Christ like (1 Cor 11:1 - “Follow my example, as I [Paul] follow the example of Christ“) in our actions and thoughts - to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2 - “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”); and we need to realize that is a process! Not an instantaneous action that happens to someone when they so choose.
More importantly, we need to recognize that if God is showing someone love despite their mistakes, maybe we should too. If the Fathers Heart is full of love for the worst of sinners, maybe our hearts should be too.
Please note, this is not a license of promiscuity, but rather a discussion on the merits of condemnation.
by Dan Parker
Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him? Or some other heavyweight that swings with as much clout, because… apparently the beginning of the end, wait for it…is at hand. Rabid ramblings of the North American papal tour and heretical hearsay of Obama. Really?! Who is driving this car? I enjoy seeing mental giants in action, but loose canon fodder like that blows the bottom out of the barrel. What we all need is a swift kick in the pants, and I for one am willing to lend my foot to the cause.
How about doing something productive and positive for a change. Every one of us. Something plausibly life changing, even if only for a day. What I am talking about is good, pure and unadulterated. Not judgement, fear mongering drivel. Not gossip of pseudo-celebrities with large families, whom may or may not have, in past been engaged in questionable acts. No more mentally medicating with verbal placebos or tigers blood. By doing any of these kinds of acts, we are NOT “winning”. Sorry Chuck. The problem is that we get so caught up with social sensationalisms, conspiracies, religious beliefs, and useless escapes of living vicariously through people we will never know. Let’s think instead about sharing healthy necessities.
People are prone to crazes, fads, or even given to fanatical-isms. Sometimes legitimately, but how can anyone, in any belief, have any idea of when biblical judgements are to unfold. From a personally childlike understanding, are we not told that we will not know the time or day? That our thoughts are not Gods thoughts, that our ways are not His? It strikes me as incredibly odd that through human logic, there are those who assumably propose to have any idea. Or when some abnormalities in nature occur and people tie it to end time ideology. That it may be something such as a plague of pestilence. It’s a freakin’ pine beetle, which happens to give wood a blue tinge. It’s actually pretty wild, from a creation view point. If it was a warning of Revelation than I would hate to live in parts of Australia where there are gigantic arachnids, and oh, swarms of plaguing mice occurring every several years. They must have gotten through the book of Revelations long before anyone else. Or the debate of Calvinism, predestination and freewill. That bad things happen and there is no reason other than that God designed to happen. Maybe that the devil is to blame for all the bad things that happen to us or maybe we simply make bad decisions. The guy sitting in the drive-thru of Taco Bell isn’t blaming the enemy for his purchase of a posse of soft, bean filled grease papers. He made a decision he will regret. People that share misinterpreted messages spread misconception. Pretty sure that was why the Third Reich was created.
All that being said, I am going to share a cup of coffee with my wife. Because coffee is good and I don’t mind sharing too much of a good coffee.
Editor-in-Chief Resource Recommendation: If you would like to read up on this topic that gives answers to these kind of beliefs and contrasts them with a optimistic and hope filled perspective, we would recommend both Rapturless by Dr. Jonathan Welton (which he has put online for free) and Victorious Eschatology by Dr. Martin Trench and Dr. Harold Eberle. Make sure to also check out our four part interview with all three of these men.
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