I wish the end-time dooms-day preachers would stop.
It is 12:25 a.m., and I have just had to go in for the second time since I went to bed at 11:30, and assure my thirteen year-old terrified child that God is not going to obliterate the United States of America anytime soon as far as we know. And that if He does, He will certainly not rain down sulfur fire-rocks on His own kids. And that no, he is not going to miss the rapture because yes, he is really saved, even though the yahoos at kids’ camp when he was twelve told him he probably wasn’t, since his story didn’t match up with their salvation-script.
Seriously, people. Stop scaring little kids. Just stop.
Please – stop making my kids afraid of God.
While growing up, every other year there was a prediction that the world was ending; I would cower in my bed at night, sure something terrible was about to happen, and that I wasn’t good enough to merit the protection of God – that I was going to be swallowed up with the rest of the wicked world while God’s real kids were saved.
I would wake to the silence of my house in the middle of the night, and I would fear I had missed the rapture because of some sin I had committed during the day. I would tip-toe out of my room and down the hall to my parents’ room, and listen until I heard them snore, reassured that they were still there and all was ok – for now.
This is how I spent my childhood – afraid of God, terrified of His judgment and wrath. Because, see, I knew my own heart. I knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew very well that I was never good enough to win His favor – His approval. I was afraid I wasn’t “really” saved, because I never could get everything quite right all the time; and I was forever making dumb decisions, and always being reminded of it. As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted was for God to be pleased with me – for me to be good enough for Him – to make Him happy – and I never felt like I did. I always came up short.
So each time a new dooms-day prediction rolled around, I was terrified that I would be the one left behind. Because I wasn’t one of His “good-enough” kids.
And now, twice tonight, I have been in my son’s room, assuring him that God loves him, reminding him that he never did anything to earn God’s favor – and he never will. He just gives it, because we are His kids. That’s what parents do.
Explaining to him that if we could be good enough to go to Heaven, why on earth would Jesus have suffered and died? Assuring him that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it. The work is finished. It is done. There is no work that child needs to do to avoid God’s wrath.
Just answer me this: why in the world did God go to all the effort to send us a Savior, live among us and teach us, and suffer and die to redeem us, if He was just going to obliterate us all when we couldn’t manage to behave well?
So tonight I reminded my son of the Christmas story.
“The angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord….’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, Peace, good will toward men!’”
What did the angel say? “Fear not.”
What did the heavenly hosts sing? “Peace, good will toward men.”
And that is God’s heart toward us, still today – peace, and good will. It was why Jesus came. He didn’t come because He was mad. He came because, “For God so loved the world.” Jesus didn’t walk around and instill fear in the hearts of men. He offered hope, living water, and new life. And though He did address the end times, He didn’t tell us how mad God was and how He was just waiting to wipe us out because we were all so bad. He told us that God longed to gather us up and protect us like a mother hen gathers her chicks.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God… Colossians 1:15
…and a far cry from angry.
So in our daily discourse with non-believers, or believers who are struggling with sin, is the abundance of wrath, anger, and judgment we often hurl really necessary?
Judgment is coming. I believe the whole Bible with everyone else.
But not on God’s kids.
Can’t we warn people of the judgment that will come in the end, without making God out to be such an angry, wrathful being who hates everyone who crosses Him?
Are there difficult days ahead for God’s people? Probably.
But none of them include God raining down sulfur-rocks and fire on His own children, and leaving them here in the dust with the rest of the wicked world, simply because they can’t seem to get their acts together.
If that were the case, we would all be lost.
Especially those who think they have all the answers.
Because, you know – pride.
So please. Stop scaring my Jesus-loving kids into thinking they are going to hell.
Let’s stop telling the world God hates them and is going to destroy them because they are sinners.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Let our truth be spoken in love, not condemnation.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ~ John 3:17
Finally, let our message be one of Peace on earth, good will toward men – the same message the angels announced upon the arrival of God on earth.
Because, although very often we think we are God’s messengers,
Angels actually are.
In peace and good will,
~ Melanie ♥