God Is Satan. Satan Is God. One and the Same. Which Is Good? Which Is Bad? Which Is Which?
So, I grew up in church, and I have seen a lot of mistakes and a lot that the church has done right. One of those mistakes (in my opinion) is that we don't do a good job in REALLY explaining who God is. Now I'm not talking about the Holy Trinity or the such, but what God's personality is like.
One of my favorite T. V. shows, Stargate S. G. 1, pretty much has to do about false religions, and though I love it, the show, on occasion, really hits home with this whole religion thing. Not so much in the first eight seasons, but once we get to season 9…well….it really shines a light on false religion, corruption, and the ease in which humanity can twist holy scriptures (of any religion) to fit our own selfish narratives.
If you haven't seen the show, sorry, but I'm about to give you a few spoilers. Stargate season 9 starts with a couple of characters' minds being transported into humans of another galaxy. They quickly discover that an evil race of ascended beings that occupy another plain of existence forces humankind to follow them. This is what gives these beings power. The more who follow, the stronger they become. If a planet does not pledge faith and worship them, then they destroy all the inhabitants of said planet. Later in the season, we find out that the religious leaders have twisted the meaning of their scriptures (like we so often do) to serve the will of the Ori. These leaders quote the scripture, twisting the words to imply that it teaches death to all who "follow evil," not worshiping the Ori and worshiping false gods…remember, they are taught the Ori are the true gods.
Here is the compelling thing about the Ori. Because they live in a higher plane of existence, they can manipulate the lower plains humanity falls under. They can create plagues, bring the dead back to life, send enemies flying with a wave of the hand. They seem pretty god-like. But they are not. They use their ability to manipulate humanity into "believing" or just force them to worship them.
This show often makes me think about how we Christians sometimes do the very same thing. Churches twist scripture and claim it means one thing when it actually means the opposite, but that is not really the point of this blog. I want to talk about the perception that we Christians so often allow God and Christianity to be perceived.
The world views us Christians as haters, which is the complete opposite of what we are supposed to be. But really, the world views the God of the Bible as maybe even evil. This is mainly because they want to believe that. I have said before that we all have a choice of what to believe. We can be given the same evidence and come out with opposing viewpoints. For example, a sibling dies. One can blame God and say he is evil, or one can blame just the evil of the world and still say God is good because that is what scripture says. This could be a blog post in itself, but I will move on. We choose what to believe, and usually, we can find "evidence" to support this belief structure. My evidence for believing God is good even with all the evil in the world is that the scriptures tell me he is good, and I believe that book is inspired by the creator of …well…everything, so I believe he is good. Evidence for someone who does not believe God to be good might be that there is evil in the world, and a good God wouldn't allow such evil. Well, again, that is another post.
The whole "evidence" thing is not my real point in this post. What I want to get into is the personality of God, and I'll start with a testimony of a conversation I had with a co-worker a while back. We were talking, and I was talking about sin. She asked me, "doesn't God hate us?" to which I replied no. I explained that if he hated us, he would never have come to earth in the form of Christ to save us. You see, she was mistaken that "sin" means hate. I explained to her that sin simply means to miss the mark. In the case of the Bible and God, our holiness is not sufficient (cannot hit the bullseye) to enter God's presence. God is so much more holy than us, so he made a way to erase our unholiness so that we could once again be reunited with him in both the afterlife and in life.
Now, that example perfectly exemplifies what I mean by us Christians not doing a good job in teaching who God really is. Now, I totally get that Satan and his minions twist the truth, and that is who the world is getting their info from, but maybe if we did a better job…were more vocal about God's personality as represented in scripture of both his wrath and his grace, then we would have more believers.
Anywhoo, here is what made me decide to write about this today. Last night I watched "Evan Almighty," in which I believe Morgan Freeman's characterization of God is the most accurate I have seen…in my opinion….to what I believe the personality of God to be like. You see, God is patient and God in the movie was very patient with Evan. God didn't get angry in the film…at least if he did, he still showed a tremendous amount of grace in his anger.
There was one scene where Evan and God are talking, and there is so much to pull from that interpretation of God's personality. He is crazy patient in this movie. He is crazy nice and polite even when justified to lash out. There is even a scene where Evan says something to God, and the look on Morgan Freeman's face is like…. really…. Morgan Freeman's Character of God is confronting Evan on his statement, letting Evan know that he doesn't believe him, but not once in any of the movie does God scold Evan.
Now, I know that the movie doesn't show God's judgment side, but I think there is so much in that movie that is more accurate to God's personality, at least the grace side of his personality. Scripture even says that God is longsuffering, which is giving humanity a chance to repentance. Now, I believe that on this side of death, we see more of God's grace than his judgment. His judgment was initiated along with his grace at the fall. Man will die a second death away from God, but judgment very rarely converts someone. It is grace and love that transforms people. I've said before that one doesn't change their mind because someone else tells how terrible of a person they are. A person changes their mind when another person comes alongside them and tells what kind of person they can be. Alcoholics, for example, go to groups not because the groups yell and scold them when they screw up, but if they do falter, the group tells them that it is okay. All they have to do is start day one over. They are shown acceptance and love, and through that love and acceptance, they change…or at least try to.
So, I guess I said all of that to say this. The world tends to look at humans and project that onto God. We, of course, know that they shouldn't because we are imperfect beings. The world looks at the Bible and finds the negative in it, but there is so much more grace involved even within the judgment…like Noah's ark…. but the world tends to ignore that. We Christians need to be more vocal about sharing Christ's love rather than his judgment. We love our neighbors, and once we express the love of Christ, which is what he did, by the way. Once he showed how he loved the sinner, THEN HE TOLD OF HIS JUDGMENT. This gave those he was in contact with the option to accept his love and repent or ignore his love and suffer his judgment…which is in the afterlife…. NOT HERE. Too many peeps try and say these natural disasters are God's judgment to the world. Scripturally God's judgment comes after the rapture.
Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth, and we should follow in his footsteps, showing people the kingdom of God on earth and in doing so, like Jesus, we just might be given the opportunity to tell them of the good news of Christ. Many Christians say that just preaching God's grace is terrible because then people don't know of his judgment, but I disagree. By preaching God's love and grace we can be given the opportunity to tell people that God loves them so much that he chose to sacrifice himself in human form that we might be reconnected to him. Jesus himself preached about his love when he claimed that he came to seek and save the lost. He never just said he would kill the wicked. I'm not sure that he ever preaches damnation, but I could be wrong…. after all, I'm not a scholar.
Anywhoo, my point is that the unbelieving world does not know God's true heart (or personality), and that is OUR PROBLEM. That is OUR FAULT. We need to change this. Yes, God's judgment will come, but his love is already here. Let's focus on God's love which is the life-changing power, not God's judgment which the world views as hate. Let's love people into heaven and show them heaven on earth while we are at it.