Not an Ogre 11/17/2022
This morning, some things came together in my mind that I felt I needed to share. Regarding what the Bible calls our fallen or sinful nature (the Greek word for the inner person is “sarx”), or what we politely call our human nature, as in, “That’s just human nature,” my overview of the Bible stresses that God is a good, good father, or “God is love.”
That view is highly criticized by some who have not experienced that magnanimous love in being born again, that is the second birth, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
There are many ways people picture God in their minds — whatever the source of that inspiration. That is just human nature. There are many ways people picture Europe in their minds, but unless they actually go there… There are many ways people can picture a new job, but until they start working… It is the experience that will produce an accurate picture in one’s head.
Now, I hope to get beyond those prefacing remarks to what came together for me this morning. It’s about the nature of God being a loving father.
God’s laws are not intended to be confining or a form of punishment. They are guardrails established to protect us from ourselves, our human nature, and to be beneficial for our own wellbeing as well as our neighbors’ — our health and welfare.
God created the entire Universe. He knows how it all works. So, He knows how we can prosper in it and how we can mess it all up. In that way, His laws are like our parents’ rules — the way we raise our own kids — because we love them.
Then, too, we react exactly like children do. We rebel. We resist. We strain against the perceived leash and the collar parents put around our necks. The first evidence is the “terrible twos” — which are absolutely necessary, of course, so that that muscle of will enables us to say “no” to whatever may be harmful. You know: free will and choice. The only problem occurs when we choose whatever may be harmful to ourselves or to others.
A young adult’s persistent demand, “Mom! Dad! Why can’t I go to the party?!?” gets this frustrated reply, “Because we said so!”
It’s God’s world, and we are living in it. He knows what is best for us, and hopes we grow to be wiser and begin to choose correctly. He only wants the very best for us and knows what we actually need for true happiness and fulfillment. Maybe our parents’ choices for us weren’t all that great, but God’s choices will be. Maybe we didn’t make the best choices for ourselves, either. But God can make course corrections.
Consequences come naturally from our own decisions or directly by God’s laws of cause and effect — “every action has an opposing reaction” (Newton’s Laws in Physics). God wants our consequences to be good. His plan for us is better than anything we might conjure up.
God is not to be “feared” as the twisted idea of that English word conveys, but is to be “revered” as the original language conveys — just as we honor good and loving parents, we need to begin to change our image of God and to honor Him. To know Him is to love Him. Try turning to Jesus.
It took me way too long to honor my parents for all their love and sacrifice. It also took me way too long to know that God loves me and to understand the loving sacrifice Jesus made for me. How about you?
Maybe at one time you gave Peace a chance. Maybe give Jesus a chance.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Lord, great is your faithfulness.” — Lamentations 3:22–23.