The little website that could
Our concept of God
How do we see God? Is He the loving Father? Or is he the judge that stands there to keep score of all our wrongdoings? I started thinking about this earlier because I did a short message in front of my church from 1 John 1:5. From my translation it reads:
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
The thing is that we often see darkness in God but that darkness is not in God. Why do we see darkness in Him? Well, often it is upbringing. In an extreme case, if we were brought up in an abusive family, that colours our thinking about God even as we grow into adulthood.
Here is an interesting picture I found:
How often do we see God putting us through such a test and then we say if we fail the test that God will have to put us through that test again. Yet if we look at the dolphin example we see how preposterous that really is. Does God really give us impossible tasks to perform so that he can delight to tell us that we have failed the test? Yet this is what contemporary religious tradition teaches us that God is like an unjust score keeper or to put it in biblical terminology like an unjust judge. (cf Luke 18:2-7). However we read in verse 7 that God is not like this unjust judge.
The pharisees thought that God was just like themselves. (cf Psalm 50:21) Unwilling to let go of the darkness inside their own souls, their own false teachings about God, they would not repent and come into the light. So often we confuse religious teachings with light. So often they are not. We have to ask does it paint a good picture of God, or a harsh overbearing one?! The other problem is that many Christians get the concept of God from the old testament where we do have a lot harsher picture of God. Of course, under the old covenant, the people of God were not washed by the blood of Jesus, so justice was more exacting and there was less mercy for those that failed. However under the new covenant it is completely different. We are no longer facing an angry God because his anger has been appeased by the blood of Jesus.
The dolphin trying to swim on land is a good example of trying to achieve things in our own strength. It is hard work and doesn’t really get us anywhere. To do things God’s way is akin to putting the dolphin back in the water where it can swim naturally and almost effortlessly. That is what learning from God and leaning on Him is all about.