Tell me what your God is like and I’ll tell you if we are following the same God?
What is your God like? Is he a god who demands your unquestionable obedience without ever having demonstrated that he loved you in any way? Is your god filled with rage, malice and sadistic pleasure to torment and smite everyone who is not in tune with your ideology? If so in what way is your god different from a demon? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A spiteful and angry god nurtures angry followers. One becomes what one adores.
Let me tell you what my God is like.
My God is a righteous, powerful and sovereign God who will not put up with any nonsense. Yet, He is none of the above. My God demonstrated that He would give up his own life if it meant saving the lives of others. On the cross, as He was innocent dying a criminal’s death, He pleaded for his enemies – “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing!” (Luke 23:43.) The message of God, who was willing to die for his followers and enemies alike, is radically clear. It invites: “Give yourself to others as I’ve given myself to you, even if they do not appreciate it”. Only a god who loves passionately and unconditionally is worth loving, following and trusting.
I am reflecting on the lives of men and women like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., William Wilberforce, Maximilian Kolbe, Desmond Doss and others of the kind. They shared the plight of the poor, stood for justice, fought against slavery, proclaimed peace and reconciliation, unmasked oppressive regimes, saved lives, loved their enemies. Not all died a violent death, but they all gave themselves up in an honorable, unselfish and consuming service to their fellow men and women. Although none of them was without fault, they were nevertheless the true martyrs who walked in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth. Wherever and whenever this world became a better and happier place, it happened because of the heroes whose characters radiated the image of the loving God. Only a loving God births loving followers.
Friends, if your god is not in the business of loving his creation, and if he is more concerned with punishment and vengeance than with restoration of life, than we are not following the same god, even when we call them by the same name.
As for me, my allegiance is with Jesus Christ, the only King of the only legitimate kingdom. Nowhere could we find another one, more loving, more appealing and more reassuring. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” – He said (Matthew 11:28.). Saint Paul described well His character, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38.39
I agree with E. Stanley Jones, the author of the book The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person – “I can’t go very wrong if I stick close to Jesus. If I fail I fail in the right direction. I would rather fail with Him than succeed with anyone else”.
Previously released: Baytown TX, USA – November 27, 2009