I received this comment on my post about Trolls a few weeks ago:
"God loves the way you love these children... They have such innocence...
Trolls do not I understand... But these trolls are people too. Made in
the image of God... God is love... Your description of Him
doesn't sound all that appealing... (Especially for people who
don't know Him) - Jesus is the most appealing thing in this
universe. Just remember that God IS love... People haven't grown
up getting the chance to know Him like you or I do... Pointing to
people's flaws will never lead them to God... It only leads them
deeper into their despair... When we speak of Jesus it should be done
with a smile from our heart, with our hands wide open towards even those
who don't agree with us. There is so much more that could be
said... But hey...
-Your friend in Christ"
I have wanted to reply for some time, but had to organize my thoughts and find the time to type them out....
My anonymous friend,
Let's say we were having a conversation together with someone who had never seen a rainbow. He asked us to describe it to him so that he would know what it looked like. I jump right in and begin to describe a rainbow. I say that it is up in the sky after a rainstorm and it is blue. I go on and on and on describing how amazing the blue is - how it is the most beautiful color I have ever seen. How the beauty has simply changed my life. I talk about the blue in the rainbow for a very long time, making sure he truly understands how amazing that it is! I want him to truly understand that. I never mention any of the other colors - just the beauty of the blue.
When I paused finally, what would you say? Was my definition accurate? Had I truly described a rainbow? My definition of the blue might be completely accurate - but was my description of rainbow accurate? What if you challenged me on it by saying I didn't fully describe the rainbow, that I had missed so many of the other colors....and I continued to insist that all he needed to know was how amazing the blue is in a rainbow....that the rest just wasn't important in light of the beauty of the blue? You would either doubt my sanity or my integrity - or maybe even question if I had ever truly seen a rainbow if I could miss all the other colors?!?
That is exactly the problem when we choose to limit our description of Christ and God. People want to focus on His love. It IS breath-taking and life changing! It is worth an ear to ear smile every time we think on it - reflecting the joy in our heart over His love for us! I would venture to say that most people in America are familiar with the phrase "God is love"....and most people don't really care.
God IS love - not just that He feels love or gives love, He is the definition of love. This is oh, so true! And it makes our hearts rejoice if we know Him! But this is not an accurate -as in complete - description of God. What of His holiness? What of His justice? What of His righteousness? What of His promise to avenge those who defy His laws? If you are not including those, you are not really describing God - and you are also taking away almost any hope of a heart moving to salvation. If you think that love is a complete description of God, then I would have to question whether you really know Him. His love colors everything He does - but so does His righteousness and His justice.
Another scenario for you:
Let's say one day I come running up to you. You have no idea who I am, I am a complete stranger. I breathlessly stop in front of you and pant out, "I came racing to tell you that it is paid. That $100 million dollar fine is paid that you owe and you don't have to go to jail either. I just didn't want you to worry about it anymore!" You would think I was absolutely crazy! Then you would probably get angry. You would say that you didn't owe a fine and that I must have been thinking of someone else. No matter how hard I insist I am talking about your fine, you would not believe me. I am sure that eventually you would just walk away. You had no idea that you owed anything and were about to be held accountable - so what I said meant nothing...in fact, it probably made you angry that I would even suggest you owed such a fine. It would seem ridiculous.
Now, let's redo that. Let's say one day the police came to your house and arrested you. They brought you before the highest court in the land. The judge of that court showed you laws that you had been breaking since infancy. Law after law after law. You could see it in front of you in black and white. You see very clearly that you had broken every one of those laws. You tremble as the sentence is read - you owe $100 million dollars and must spend a life time in jail because of it. You have no way of paying that. No way out. You hang your head as sobs burst forth. Then, all of the sudden, you hear my voice in the crowd - you still don't know me - but you hear me saying, "It is PAID. It is PAID. All the fines, all the jail time! It is all paid. This judge's son has given himself and his bank account and has set you free! You are FREE!" You are not going to scoff at me! You are not going to think I am crazy - you are going to rejoice!! Not only that, you are going to focus on the judge and his son - you will want do whatever you can to serve and thank the son that paid the price for you!
Do you see the difference in the two scenarios?
I am not simply "pointing out flaws" as you said. Sins are not flaws - to call it such is to take away the true meaning and to trivialize it.. Sins are deliberate choices to disobey God's laws. In fact, God's Word says we are incapable of keeping it. It isn't a little thing that can just be brushed aside. They are real laws. Real laws put in place by the Creator of the universe in keeping with Who He is. Breaking these laws carry a real consequence for eternity. Pointing out people's sins and the consequences for those sins is EXACTLY what leads people to God. If you do not truly grasp that you are a sinner - bound for hell because of your sin - and God, because of His love for you, sent His only Son to take that punishment on your behalf so that you could be saved - that you are completely and utterly lost without Christ paying that price - then you do not understand salvation at all.
Salvation is not found in "God loves you." You will not find that anywhere in the Bible. Salvation is found in God's law being broken, Christ taking that punishment on the cross for us, and us asking for forgiveness and trusting in Christ's death and resurrection for our redemption. Salvation will completely change us. The Bible describes it as bringing life to a dead heart of stone. It is complete regeneration - new life.
The laws that have been broken are easily summed up in the Ten Commandments - have you ever lied? Stolen - even something small? Used God's name in vain? Looked at another with lust? Coveted something your neighbor has? If you have ever - even once - done one of those things then you are going to hell for eternity. Your only hope is in Christ. And that is only 5 of the commandments!
Do you know who spoke the most about hell? JESUS CHRIST. Yes, read the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and read what Jesus Himself said about hell. Why is it wrong for us to warn people of hell when Jesus Himself did so? Read Revelation. This is a description of Christ's return. When He returns, He is the one carrying the sword. There is no longer any hope for redemption - just for judgement.
I understand your desire not to hurt people or make them angry - but it is a mistaken desire. It would be the equivalent of me coming to your door and chatting with you about changing the color of paint on your house instead of telling you that your house was burning down around you and you needed to get out before you died - but I decided not to tell you about that because you might be hurt or distressed. I know that sounds silly, but it is accurate. You are not going to tell people about Christ's coming judgement and the consequences that will damn them for eternity because you don't want to hurt their feelings now?
People must know the truth. They must know God's holy judgement in order to truly understand His amazing love. Please, please pour over God's Word for yourself. Truly understand Who He is - ALL of Who He is. Don't just fall for the christian cliches and warnings of not "scaring" people away. They must know the truth - before it is too late.
This is the message of salvation - the truth of the Gospel. This is what must be taught. People will not change their lives because some "god" somewhere loves them. Their lives will be changed in realizing what they have done and what they must be saved from - in asking forgiveness and giving their lives to Christ - the One Who died for them in His love.