Â by Andrea J. Graham
As a result of a potent combination of the attack on fatherhood and disintegrating families that we discussed last time, many Americans, true believer and secularist alike, operate under their personal variant of one of two popular understandings of who the God of our fathers is.
The first views God as an inept namby-pamby who can be tricked and is quick to forgiveâ€”the sliver of truth all good lies have mixed in. Paul must not have known what he was talking about in Galatians 6:7-8, as the god we believe in would never think of allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions.
This god also is not someone you can expect much help from when trouble inevitably does come, and even if he seen as such, heâ€™s certainly not a god worthy of honor. Sure, we often show him lip service and shower him with praise. But the intent is, at least in part, to stroke his ego with empty platitudes in order to grease the palm that hands out blessings, the assumption being our god, like all fathers, is too stupid to know what weâ€™re up to.
We donâ€™t rely on his grace so much as his approval of anything we set our little hearts on, for he loves us far too much to deny us anything we desire. Or else he simply knows he created us with enough sense to figure out whatâ€™s best for ourselves. He respects our boundaries and majority rule and wouldnâ€™t dare to butt in on matters that donâ€™t concern him, such as how we conduct our lives outside the confines of the church walls.
On the other hand, many of us struggle under the idea that God is a cruel tyrant, able, but unwilling to help us, for he in his righteousness is angry with us at any hint of wickedness, real or imagined. We may try, but we never quite feel like we have pleased him and sense we are unable to please him, imaging God is not fully aware weâ€™re frail fallen creatures made of dust and incapable of attaining, at least on our own, the degree of purity that the citizens of Heaven must possess in order for Heaven to remain Heaven.
No, this god expects us to obtain perfection in our own strength, without any help from him, and grows wroth at always having to bail us out and is infuriated that we canâ€™t stand on our own two feet and fall flat on our rumps every time we try. True, we often cling to the hope Christ can make intercession for us, yet we still live under a cloud of fear, just â€œknowingâ€ one false step, and weâ€™ll be struck by the proverbial thunderbolt this god evidently borrowed from Zeus.
Nothing but absolute perfection can please this godâ€”and itâ€™s true that no mortal can stand before the Lord of Hosts on our own merits and live, but this god, if weâ€™re honest with ourselves, actually despises us, wishes Christ never went and paid the penalty issued against us, and is looking for an excuse to go back on his promise and cast us into Hell. In the meanwhile, he seeks every opportunity to bring pain and suffering into our lives for no other reason than his own sadistic pleasure.
We donâ€™t pray to this god, because he wonâ€™t answer. We donâ€™t expect or seek blessings from this god, because he wonâ€™t give them–unless we manage to twist his arm with enough good deeds, and then only so those points wonâ€™t go towards the â€œentrance feeâ€ apparently not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. The last thing we expect is this god to keep any of the promises in the bible, as he only made those promises so he could take them away from us as punishment, or theyâ€™re only for select favored people, which usually doesnâ€™t include us.
If weâ€™re fortunate, this god has gotten so mad, heâ€™s walked off entirely, abandoning us to follow the natural laws that govern the universe or be swallowed up.
And a miracle? Forget it. This god isnâ€™t in the miracle business anymore. And donâ€™t expect anything to ever changeâ€”not for the better, anyway. Youâ€™ll just get more of the same old same old, though thatâ€™s the only way heâ€™s reliable.
Indeed, itâ€™s this godâ€™s will we stand by and let the world get worse and worse, as heâ€™s looking forward to the events of in Johnâ€™s Revelation and getting to bathe a world heâ€™s eager to condemn (see John 3:17) in his holy wrath. Of course, heâ€™d turn around punish us for doing his will that we allow evil to reign if Christ would let him (see Phil 2:7-8;), but Iâ€™m sure you know what Christ is expected to make him do instead (see John 15:10)â€”for those that are good enough, anyway. The worst of us will have to get our acts together just in time to become martyrs or else. The revelation isnâ€™t about a final push to draw people to him, no, itâ€™s all about getting back at those dirty rotten sinners, one last hurrah before Christ will force him (see 1 Cor 15:28) to lay aside vengeance and blood shedding and punishing and oh yeah, the thunderbolt, too.
It goes without saying, among believers, most of us who think this way certainly love Jesus with all our hearts, but weâ€™d just rather avoid His father if we at all can. If weâ€™re totally honest with ourselves, we wouldnâ€™t want to be in the same Heaven as him, either, if the alternative wasnâ€™t Hell. Donâ€™t ask us to explain the trinity, though. Weâ€™ll get a convenient headache. < good natured ribbing> Of course, some of us have dumped God the Father for Jesus the Father, Jesus the Son, and Jesus the Holy Spirit.
Some of us, though, flicker between the two opinions, unstable, wanting to believe in the namby-pamby god, but secretly afraid Godâ€™s really the tyrant and not about to have anything to do with him if he isâ€”and in all our back and forth, never arriving at the truth.
The devil doesnâ€™t care which lie we believe in, as neither is a god we can trust, a god we can respect, a god we can even truly love. Weâ€™re much too filled with fear of the tyrant, and too busy taking advantage of the namby-pamby while keeping the Jesus Heaven Insurance Card in our back pockets. Weâ€™re certainly too busy trusting in our phony get-out-of-hell-free card (the one that promises we can sin all we want and get into Heaven) to place our trust in the true saving grace of the Perfect Father, who saw a world filled with broken people enslaved to sin and incapable of doing anything pleasing to Him, who willingly sacrificed His only begotten Son on our behalf, to free us not only from the penalty of sin, but ultimately from sin itself, who when we acknowledge our wrong and submit to His authority, will come sweeping into our lives and day by day remake us into His holy image, so long as we allow His Spirit to work in us, and will continue this work in us until the day we are ushered into Christâ€™s Kingdom. (Phil 1:6)
And a Perfect Father who means what he says and does what he says Heâ€™ll do, every time, all the time, just on time, without second thoughts or reluctance born of remorse? For many of us who profess the name of Christ, thatâ€™s simply unbelievable.
In truth, God is far more just and righteous than the tyrant, and his love and forgiveness render the namby-pambyâ€™s an obscene mockery, but in separating Godâ€™s justice/righteousness from Godâ€™s love/forgiveness, and vice versa, both are rendered lies.
Behind all the lies, is that crafty old serpent, waging a war on fatherhood and the proper role of men, not merely to attack and decimate the family, or even the culture and civilization, but to strike out against and slander the Perfect Father Himself.
Knowing the devil is striking out at us ultimately to hurt our Eternal Father, protecting ourselves from this attack will bring the brethren to a place where we have to start making what for many will be some tough counter-cultural choices. And being far more careful of the media we expose ourselves and our children to is only the beginning, but the rest God must reveal to you. He may call you to step out into some form of activism (political or otherwise), to educate on these matters within your local church body, to make a difference in your own community and model the love of the Father for a child who does not have a godly father in their life. You may even be called to create media that truly honors the Lord and a biblical world view.
Trackposted to Rightwing Guy, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Is It Just Me?, The Random Yak, The HILL Chronicles, stikNstein… has no mercy, basil’s blog, Blue Star Chronicles, and Stuck On Stupid, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.