Our view of the Creator is limited by the knowledge we have about Him. In recovery meetings, I have heard, many times over, people say regarding God, I always felt God was an angry God, He was always waiting to pounce on me when I messed up. How far from the truth can we get? So you know, we can get much further, to the point of disbelief of God entirely. Our upbringing has much to do with the understanding we have, seeing bits and pieces of God's character, and in our youth, knowing He judges sin. Parents tend to remind us continually that we had better be good because He watches. Ministers do the same. This is their feeble attempt to keep us all in line, so we always do the right thing. It doesn't work...at all. This is a control issue, man trying to control man by fear.
It's shameful that America has removed the simple prayer, the Lord's prayer from schools, and have our rankings in education go from the top 5 to 27th. Think this: millions of children throughout the country, invoking God's goodness into our land daily, is suddenly removed, and the fallout has devastated the nation. With each victory the ACLU has in removing God from our society, the further we fall morally. History reveals this truth. The reason for such venomous hate for religion, stem from our view of God. This isn't just my opinion, I have, my generation has watched this story unfold. They have hatred of God, because we hate them, because they hate God, so it seems.
The more I give myself to studying the scriptures, I see God's mercy, grace, love, forgiveness, and goodness is repeatedly shown by Him toward humanity. He is a Judge, He hates sin. That is what has fueled the self-righteous, puritanism in the body of Christ. We hate sin too, and try to control its recompense instead of allowing the Righteous Judge to give rewards for good and evil. I also see in passages and stories, that the goodness of God leads to repentance. He gives grace to us while we are buried in the mire of disobedience and rebellion against Him.
O You who hear prayer, to You all men will come. When we were overwhelmed by
sins, You forgave our transgressions. Ps.65:2-3 (NIV)
Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not
realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? Rom.2:4 (NIV)
And this one takes the cake:
But God demonstrates His own love in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us. Rom.5:8 (NIV)
Many of us grew up thinking every slang word would condemn us to the eternal flames. We thought if Christ came any moment, we would be left behind unless we were perfect little Christians. To our minds, anything of this world was sin, unholy, and would bring retribution resulting in damnation. So my, rather our thought was, it's no use, I can't live that life. I may as well live as I please while I live. The results: Addictions to every pleasure with no regard to God. Alcoholism, drug addiction, pornographic addictions, overindulgence with food, etc. rule us. Sin takes dominion over our life. People in secular society know only the Christian world as judgmental, uncaring, and ignorant. They fight the followers of Christ on every issue with the intent of wiping God out of our world.
Sin exists, judgment is real. Yet, unless the believers teach their children, the ministers get off of the anger of God in their sermons, and present God's true nature-God is love as well, the upcoming generations will regard God as an angry ogre, and only perfect people being welcomed in heaven. Exactly the opposite of truth. He never stops reaching out to man, for man to search Him out, and discover His many awesome wonders! Those alcoholics who came to AA meetings until they came to believe in God again, could teach the believing world about grace. Those free today from all of their chains of slavery to self-service, and all of its ugliness, can speak volumes of God's liberating mercy. Until the followers of Jesus, truly preach the Word presenting all of God's nature, then we can forget about stopping the angry onslaught of secularism. Check the scriptures out, ask God for insight to His character, He will show us so we can show Him.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith