Good, Good Father?!?
1) God disciplines Believers (those already born into His family) so that they will become OBEDIENT TO HIS good and kind AUTHORITY.
2) The General definition of discipline, for all of society (Christian or not) is “the training of a person’s character by showing a person how to ACT PROPERLY.
TWO QUESTIONS from these two points:
First, to the Church in America.
Have we showed America a good and kind, but sovereign God? If we remove the good and kind and all they see is discipline – it would totally explain why there are people who have such a skewed view of God. How do we represent Him in the way we treat each other and the way we treat the world?
Has our portrayal of discipline been a portrayal of “teaching” or does it look more “vindictive” as if we, as fellow flawed humans, are putting them on trial in our human court room with requirements He never gave?
We aren’t the Father, He is. He is the Judge-we are fellow sinners, who may have found Christ, but should want to share Christ as a precious treasure who frees us to love others, not share Him as the deliverer of more dead religion and regulations He never gave. There is an old saying: “I’m just a beggar showing my fellow beggars where I found the bread!”
Our message should be “this Creator of the Universe is awesome, you’ve got to meet Him! He’s God, and He’s an Awesome God, but He’s also a good and kind God, and He loves you and wants an eternal relationship with you! He wants to be with you through your highs and your lows. Your losses and victories. Your success is based on Your relationship with Him, not what have you done lately!”
Our message should not be “Get saved so you can suffer with the rest of us dead and religious folks who are going through the motions.”
HE IS REAL—are we?
Before I ask question #2, I want to preface it by saying that I was a child who hated authority because I seldom saw good and kind in authority and I never felt that authority really loved me or had my best interests in mind.
So very much of the hate I see directed at the Church seems very similar to the hate I had for authorities I viewed as neither good or kind.
They say things they think will anger us just to get a reaction out of us. Are we giving them the reaction they can use to prove to themselves they are correct, or are we led by the Spirit and speaking in love?
You may think your reaction doesn’t matter, but trust me, as a lost guy until I was eighteen, let me tell you, subconsciously or not, I sought a reaction from Christians. I’d mess with them just to see their reaction.
I’ve testified of this before: I finally ran into some Christians i couldn’t tweak. Ones I didn’t want to tweak. Ones I didn’t want to annoy, because, they weren’t miserable people trying to force me into their lists of “dos and don’ts” but people who wanted to share the goodness and kindness they had found in Christ!
They didn’t have to point out my obvious shortcomings (I already knew!), they didn’t have to dress a certain way, or pretend they had it all figured out—they just had to portray goodness and kindness – and the Holy Spirit made sure I knew it was from Him.
So, when they handed me a Gospel message that explained there was a God who wanted to save me from my sin – I wanted to hear from THEIR GOD! The tract explained to me that I was a sinner and that I needed God’s forgiveness. And that He was offering it to me through His Son. I WANTED to humble myself before I good and kind Father like that! 🙂 I didn’t want to bow to the false god that I saw in others. Their actions were not “Christ in them”-their actions were “sinner not changed by grace”. C’mon Church, we’ve got to let Him live in us! It’s no mistake that goodness and kindness are fruits of the Spirit!
As a side note: The first thing I said to my friend Jason about being saved was “Dude, no matter what I do in life, whether I am a success or failure, live long or die young, I am going to Heaven when I die! I have won, no matter what!” My dead religion didn’t promise that, but JESUS DID and DOES!
So, my second question, Church is this: the hatred we see for all things righteous…we aren’t the cause of the sin itself BUT have we kept them from seeing the Church as a place led by a good and kind Father? Or not so much? Have we caused them to see Church as a place where they can grow in grace, through a relationship with their Heavenly Father OR have we portrayed it as a place where the demands and expectations are human in origin?
Are we “teaching” them to act the way we want – or teaching them what God says about how they should act?
Are we creating God-pleasers or man pleasers?
Do you think the obvious hatred the world has for God’s authority is because we have not portrayed Him as a Good, Good Father?
I can’t say how much is or isn’t – but I know we bare some of the blame, Church! Help me, help us, Lord, to be sure we represent YOU correctly!
Help me, help us, Lord! 🙂