Monday, August 24, 2015

"Don't Do the Things" Gospel

A friend of mine share this little bible lesson he found posted on Facebook:

God: All right, you two, don't do the one thing. Other than that, have fun.
Adam & Eve: Okay.
Satan: You should do the thing.
Adam & Eve: Okay.
God: What happened!?
Adam & Eve: We did the thing.
God: Guys!!
God: You are my people, and you should not do the things.
People: We won't do the things.
God: Good.
People: We did the things.
God: Guys!!
Jesus: I am the Son of God, and even though you have done the things, the Father and I still love you and want you to live. Don't do the things anymore.
Healed people: Okay! Thank you!
Other people: We've never seen him do the things, but he probably does the things when no one is looking.
Jesus: I have never done the things.
Other people: We're going to put you on trial for doing the things.
Pilate: Did you do the things?
Jesus: No.
Pilate: He didn't do the things.
Other people: Kill him anyway.
Pilate: Okay.
Jesus: Guys!!
People: We did the things.
Paul: Jesus still loves you, and because you love Him, you have to stop doing the things.
People: Okay.
People: We did the things again.
Paul: Guys!!
John: When Jesus comes back, there will be no more people who do the things. In the meantime, stop doing the things.

We laughed as he read it out loud and then we moved on to the next thing. But then it came back to me later in a less funny way. This is what too many people think the bible is all about:  Don’t do the things; We did the things; Stop doing the things!!! That’s what they believe religion and God is all about and that makes me a little sad. I used to think that this God thing was all about rules—the 10 big ones and all the ones the individual religious institutions add to them. But then something happened to change all that. I met Jesus and learned that it’s not about keeping rules, but the relationship I have with my Creator. It’s not about how pure or how much suffering I endure or even how many people I convince to come to church. It’s about loving God and wanting to be with him and share my life with him.

Many years ago, my mother’s entire family (all nine brothers and sisters and their children) decided to gather for what we thought then was going to be the last chance we were all going to be able to get together with Grandma. We had a whole day celebrating Grandma planned and I was excited to see some my cousins whom I hadn’t seen in years. But my husband was not as thrilled as I. In fact, he was being a sour puss about it. He didn’t really want to go and he was making sure I knew how big of a sacrifice it was for him to attend my family gathering. Before we left I told him to stay home because I didn’t want him to go out of obligation. I didn’t want him to “suffer” through it. I wanted him to want to be there and involved.

That’s the way it is with God. That’s why he gave us free will to choose. He doesn’t want us in a relationship with him because we have to be. He wants us to want to be in relationship with him and enjoy the time we have together. We are going to make some wrong choices, some accidentally and some deliberately. We are going to be flawed because sin is human nature since the fall. He is a holy God. Our sinfulness cannot exist in the presence of his holiness. So to make it possible for us to be together at all, his Son took our sinfulness in exchange for his holiness. This was a once for all time exchange which give us immediate welcome into the arms of our God always no matter how holy we feel we are or aren’t. Our holiness doesn’t matter as much as his does. He isn’t looking at what rules we are keeping –he is looking into our hearts to see our desire to be in relationship with him. That’s what God sees when he looks at us.

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