What kind of world are we living in?
Are we living in a universe that is against us?
Is God on the edge of a throne somewhere just waiting for us to mess up so that God can smight us?
For some, God is someone to be feared. God is a righteous and holy being who cannot stand to be around us when we mess up. This view of our world, God, and the universe affects people in very real ways.
I have been in several conversations where it has become clear to me that some people see God, the world, and the universe in a very different light than I do.
Now, before I even get to far into this, let me say that this view of God can be and is often defended using the Bible. But then again, so many hurtful and destructive things have been defending using the Bible so it really shouldn’t surprise us all that much. The Bible, like religion, can be helpful or hurtful. It can be used to speak life or death. The Bible, like religion, can be used to feed the ego and enhance our sense of being right or superior – it can create more boundaries of who is “in” and who is “out”.
Often, people who see God as an angry tyrant ready to destroy the “wicked” are fairly uptight themselves – after all if you have this view then you are constantly walking on egg shells – how exhausting!
I know this to be true because I lived much of my life here and can speak from experience. Everything needs to be defended and seen as a threat. The world is a terrible place and “Satan” is out to get you if you let your guard down for even a moment. This can take many forms; the Muslims are trying to take over the world, the liberals are out to get you, atheists are evil, evolution is deceiving our children etc etc.
When I am in conversations with people who see things differently – this can be concerning the LGBTQ community, evolution, science, hell, judgement, holiness, the Bible, righteousness, what salvation means, if the Christian truth is exclusive, etc – what I have become aware of is that
beneath all of this is our view of God.
Is God benevolent or is God an angry tyrant? Does God’s holiness mean God cannot stand to be around us “sinners” – what an awful picture of God that paints – no wonder people are rejecting that god, I do to!
As I mentioned above, this is an exhausting way to live. The good news however, is that you don’t have to live this way. God, Reality, the Universe (however you define the Divine) is wholly and completely benevolent. God’s dream is for the world to flourish and God understands that you and I will make mistakes and occasionally mess up in the process.
So, it’s going to be ok. You can breath easy and don’t need to be anxious or fearful but can trust that God is working through your life, your decisions, and yes, even your mistakes.
I think God is best defined as love. Fear or anxiety do not exist in the domain of love. Where there is love, perfect and complete love, there is no fear.
Another way to say this is when one becomes fully conscious and awaken to God, they will no longer live in fear. Instead of seeing the world as a threat, one actually walks through it with eyes wide open in wonder and awe. God doesn’t need to be feared, but rather can be trusted because of God’s benevolence.
God is on your side and wants the best for you – how great is that!