He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit is saying...Revelation 3:8
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This is a response I wrote to a Facebook post written by someone I love. He was angry that a caring but misguided Christian friend told him that unless he and his family believe in Christ they are all going to hell. The response is addressed to him and to those who posted comments that supported him and denigrated the good news and those who preach it.
I hope you all will read this even though it is a different point of view and written by a believer. I used to feel exactly like you do whenever someone brought up Jesus or quoted the Bible to me. It made me very angry. I felt they had no right.
I'm sorry someone mis-represented Christ - and Christ followers - to you. Jesus never condemnedpeople - except the uber-religious ones called "the Pharisees and scribes". They were the Jewish leaders and teachers of religion and they were misrepresenting God to the people, making him out to be a nitpicking angry God, and that made Jesus very angry.
The Bible says that God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. He's not some divine ogre in the sky just waiting for us to make a wrong move. He loves us all no matter whether we believe in Jesus or not and whether we're good or not and he wants us to be with him. Remember The Father's Love Letter (http://www.fathersloveletter.com/)? Every word is from the Bible, it is truly God's love letter to us. But as much as he loves us, we all have a choice to make, and it has to do with whether or not we are going to follow God and believe in the one he sent.
I know it's hard to understand this, and I would have been very sceptical myself in the past, but I have met Jesus Christ. He is real, and he is alive, and I have come to know the LOVE of God through him. My life changed dramatically the moment I met Jesus. Fear is gone, and so is shame, and in their place I have freedom. That doesn't mean that I am perfect and never do anything wrong, or that I am never afraid, but I used to live in misery and hopelessness and fear all the time before I met him. Fear of dying, fear of making a mistake, fear of not having any money, and on and on. Knowing Jesus has given me hope, and joy, and peace, and a purpose, and I long every day for everyone I love to know the hope and the love and the joy and the freedom that I have found in him. Jesus called it "abundant life" or "life to the fullest". That's what he came for and that's what he offers every person who puts their faith in him. He came to set us free so that we could know God's love. And to know and feel the love of the God who created the universe is such an amazing thing! I feel safe in the world now no matter where I am because he is with me and he guides me and protects me. It's not religion, it's a relationship, and it's real. I wasn't scared into believing in Jesus, and I wasn't brainwashed into believing either; he met me where I was in my misery and fear and he healed me and set me free. And in that moment I felt the love of God pouring into me. It was a powerful experience that I will never forget. And because of it, I cannot deny him or allow him to be misrepresented.
I'm glad that you talk to Jesus. He hears you and he cares about the things that trouble you and that you care about - and he loves you. Keep talking to him. You don't have to go to church to know him. He will meet you right where you are. I know this because that's what happened to me. And because of that my love for him goes beyond duty or fear or dogma. My heart is full of gratitude for all that he's done for me and all that he continues to do. Seek him and you will find him.
I know that what I have shared may anger the folks who've posted here - if they got this far - but it's my experience. God is real. He loves me and he loves you too – and believe it or not he loves Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo too. And yes if they were to confess and ask God’s forgiveness and truly believe in Jesus they would receive his salvation. And that's good news for all of us since none of us is entirely good. The Bible says that God forgives everyone who asks for his forgiveness. I'm thankful that I am forgiven. Of course God wants us to be good, but being good doesn't necessarily qualify us for heaven.0
This is what Jesus said on this subject: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed. By believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness."