I think, in my humble opinion, people tend to think of God as a ruler or as the grace giving, unconditional God. He’s one but not the other. But, that’s not true.
In reality, He’s both.
I would say those who only see the ruler side of God are ones who are angry at God, don’t fully know Him, or don’t understand the whole Christianity thing.
You know, why would this all-knowing God create the world if He knew Adam and Eve were going to screw it up for the rest of us?
Those who see Him more as the grace God may be avoiding the wrath part because it’s just not comforting or doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
I think instead of avoiding one or the other we should take the perspective of God being a good Father.
Let’s break it down.
We all have dad’s. I mean, it’s science.
A not so great dad may have abandoned his family, be estranged, abusive, etc.
Society knows the statistics related to a fatherless home. The fact is children need their dad just as much as they need their mom.
It sounds fun having a parent that doesn’t care. Ya know, parties, no rules, you can do whatever you want.
Deep down, though, I think most children want to know their dad, and they want their dad to choose them and love them.
Think about Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill. (A somewhat trivial example, but still relevant.)
Society would say she had it made. She had the house to herself in high school and did whatever she wanted.
But, what did she want time and time again?
Her parents to lover her versus throwing their credit card at her.
She wanted a relationship with them.
A good dad could be defined as loving, caring, and an attentive dad.
A good dad is also one who teaches his children right from wrong, disciplines them, and, eventually, let’s them make their own decisions.
While we’re little, our dads help guide us in the right direction and strive to be a strong, moral example. The goal is for us to grow up and be able make integrity filled decisions on our own.
When we were disciplined or told no, it sucked. We didn’t understand it. We may have even hated our dad at the time.
Ultimately, he was looking out for our best interest and he saw the bigger picture (because he’s wise).
I’ve learned that when I was younger I went along with the beliefs, opinions, and actions of my family. Some right and some wrong. But, as I’ve gotten older, experienced life on my own, and gained a relationship with the Lord, I’ve gathered my own beliefs and opinions. Some still the same as my family and some different.
I make my own decisions.
God gives us the free will to make the decision whether to accept Him or not.
He loves all His children. I believe that to my core; Whether they know Him or not. But, the catch is, He also wants us to choose Him.
Would it be very loving of Him to force us to know and love Him?
Once we choose Him and create a relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit works in us so that we become convicted and our hearts begin to change; wanting to become more like Jesus.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
As Christians, we do have guidelines and ‘laws’ to follow. The Bible is there so we can know God, learn from Him, have a guide for our lives, and also know what we should and shouldn’t do.
We are still broken, sinful, and imperfect humans, though.
We will make mistakes. We will screw up. We will sin. Over and over again.
Sometimes God let’s us make the wrong decision so we can learn from it. He can also allow things to happen as a form of discipline to help point us back to Him.
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” – Proverbs 3:11-12
Think back to the worst, most difficult time in your life. I’ll bet 80% percent of you turned to Jesus. You prayed, attended church, sought Christian council, or renewed a relationship with the Lord.
There are so many stories in the Bible where God let’s someone – or countries – stray so they’ll remember how much they need Him. (I mean, how many chances did He give Israel?)
God does have the power to change our circumstances and He could take sin away with a snap of His finger, but then we wouldn’t have a need to be in relationship with Him.
Through the good and the bad, He is still there and He is still a good Father. He uses everything to our good and His glory; even the terrible things.
While He does allow bad things to happen, He doesn’t cause them.
In the midst of it all, He’s still chasing us down. He’s comforting us when bad things are done to us, and He’s showing us grace and forgiveness when we do terrible things.
Jesus is the type of dad that is there during every mistake, and He doesn’t base your identity on your past. He hurts with you when you hurt. He is celebrating with you during so much and loves the fact you are His.
He created you in His image.
He’s the type of dad that would die for His children. He’d leave a perfect Heaven to come down and take our place on the cross.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
He is sacrificial.
He is love.
See, just because God tells you no, allows bad things to happen, or doesn’t act as a genie in a bottle, doesn’t make Him a bad Father.
It actually makes Him a good Father.
A perfect Father.
A perfect Father includes disciplining His children, guiding His children, loving His children unconditionally, and holding them accountable for their actions.
It may not be the most fun or the easiest, but I promise it’s worth it to love Jesus and accept the grace you’re offered, and to also let Him mold you and shape you.
Let’s be friends!