Just this morning my wife came across a post about protestors at a couple of Switchfoot concerts. Honestly I was a bit surprised so I had to do a little bit of internet research. Here is a blogpost that I found “Land of Broken Hearts” if you want the full story. What saddens me is the picture this group paints, claiming to represent God. This isn’t the first time people, possibly with good intentions (I hope), have used God’s wrath to try and deter people from a path they think leads to Hell. I struggle with this and it makes me sad because the God they are proclaiming and the one I read about in the Bible aren’t necessarily the same.
We get so wrapped up in the moment’s of the Old Testament where God had to intervene and take action against His creation that we forget how much he loves. Why then do we paint God as a wrathful and vengeful God?
Take a look back at the story of creation. It’s about love and creating good things, creating man in His own image, and calling it very good! Just because sin entered the world doesn’t mean His creation isn’t still very good. It makes me sad to see God painted this way. A God who just sits there waiting to inflict pain and discipline because we have broken some rule some where or haven’t lived up to His expectations. That just simply isn’t who our God is.
Yes, if we are going to call ourselves disciples or followers of Jesus then we seek to adhere to and live by God’s teachings.
The bottom line…we are created and loved by God, made in His image and he called it very good! This is simply because of who we are, not what we do! Genesis 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
We are human beings, not human doings. —Marty Solomon
I think this is what we see college students struggle with. If all we ever teach is that God will be angry if we don’t tow the line and measure up then why on earth would anybody want to be a follower of Jesus? I’m not saying we need to water down the Bible, I simply don’t believe we are painting the whole picture. Let me be clear, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him. But it doesn’t make any sense if the Old Testament God is angry and wrathful then suddenly He loves us enough to send Jesus to die for us, then we paint Him to be angry and wrathful again. It’s no wonder 80% of today’s college students have either left the church or never have connected with a church body to begin with. Nobody wants to be a part of anything where the expectations are so great that they cannot possibly be lived up to. But that doesn’t seem to fit the God that I know.
We need to be careful of the message we present. There will be a day when Jesus returns and brings judgement. But we need to show the love of God, the love of Jesus to all. It’s never going to be about what we do or don’t do or about what we produce. If we are going to be genuine disciples of Jesus then the natural outcome will produce a desire to pursue God through prayer and Scripture, learning all we can of Jesus and how he lived, what he taught. That will organically spill over into modeling the life of a disciple to the point we begin to teach and disciple those around us.
When following Jesus becomes a prescription of do’s and don’t’s, we lose the beauty of God’s teachings from Genesis to Revelation. It becomes head knowledge, something we are supposed to do as a “good” Christian but it doesn’t penetrate the heart.