Truly, what is the purpose of belief in a God if the God of that belief knows nothing of love, or, more intrinsically, is not itself love incarnate?
OUR NATURAL STATE OF NEED FOR LOVE
One of the deepest longings we share as a race is to feel loved unconditionally. Many people get caught up believing the source of love derives from within us, as if unconditional love is an innate feature of being human. But how can this be? As babies, we are 100% dependent upon parental guidance, provision, and love. Without love and affection, babies don’t survive. Perhaps stated more accurately is how our most prominent need is to be loved, but not that love is so natural to us that we need no further example to help us understand how to recognize love from its absence. One of the major arguments of God’s existence today is that He is not a God of love, and if that is so, He must not exist. Where did this distortion come from?
As a sentient race, we are birthed with the malleability to be influenced by peers, culture, and time. When we’re old enough, we eventually commence a search no one else can pave for us but God. Little do we know that God is the one who paves it, and, less likely are we to be aware when that it is ultimately our need for God to be real which draws our attention to this search in the first place.
THE IMAGE OF GOD IN A CORRUPTED WORLD
When considering the atrocities in this world—ranging from poverty to human trafficking and terrorism—evil appears to tower over us compared to love, peace, or hope. How can the image of an unconditionally loving God fit into the mold of such a corrupted world without denuding the strength of His power? How can we claim to see a loving God in full control despite the chaotic state of the world? God will not control a human being, but He can soften a heart to listen, granting space for the heart to decide whether it wants to join in relationship, or reject the call.
WISDOM AND HONESTY FROM ABOVE
We are desperate to know how such a powerful God feels about evil and wrongdoing:
(Roman 1:18 MSG) But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over the truth.
What is the truth that is “shrouded”? The truth of God’s goodness through Christ, the Good News of redemption through His resurrection, and the hope of the coming age when Heaven will be the new Earth. A heeding word of advice to the world from God through Paul:
(Ephesians 5:6 MSG) Don’t let yourself get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with Him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
Words of wisdom:
(Romans 1:9-11 MSG) If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.
This speaks to anyone. And how does God command us to treat our enemies until the day He returns?
(Romans 12:17-21 MSG) Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
OUR CALL TO LOVE
We are not to carry out vengeance on anyone. Instead, we are called to love in the name of Jesus. The command is very simple, albeit sometimes harder implemented than stated. God promises vengeance on troublemakers and our enemies, we need not encroach upon His promise to do so. The reason why is that we are to be judged for our own crimes; only God is the righteous judge. In a world full of terror and corruption, poverty, and evil, we must let God have the vengeance while following His command to love others.
THE TRUE NATURE OF FAITH
Many of us demand empirical evidence of God for proof of His existence, but we forget faith does not require sight. In this purview, we contradictorily demand God prove Himself while we attempt to justify our own shortcomings. We are not in the position to question God, because we are already sinful, and God is blameless.
INTROSPECTION AND PRAYER
From this article, I would like you to consider the current position of your faith. My hope is that with some introspection, prayer, and soft-heartedness, you will see these perspectives in a new light, and become aware of why you believe what you believe with a stronger sense of peace and boldness. If you have any questions or thoughts you’d feel comfortable sharing, please write in the comments below, and I will respond as promptly as I can. I would love to hear from you!
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