14th May 2017
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:37-40)
When I read The Shack by William P Young, I remember being struck by one particular part of the story. There’s a conversation between Mack and Jesus about the crucifixion, Jesus says to Mack “I would still have done it even if it were just for you.”
The Shack isn’t a brilliant book, but what it does well is remind us of Gods infinite and grace filled love for us, as individuals, as his children.
In the first few years after I escaped abuse I was a mess, and God revealed this love to me far more than any other theological truth. I’d absorbed bad theology, ideas about what I had to endure, what God expected of me as a wife, a mother and his daughter. When he pulled me out of that situation God came in and swept all that rubbish away and replaced it with love.
When I was angry God didn’t rebuke me, he loved me. When I was worried he didn’t tell me not to be daft, he loved me. When I did stupid things he didn’t chastise me, he loved me. When I sinned, you know what, he still loved me. When I was broken God ever so gently put me back together and cradled me until I was healed. I cant begin to put into words the amazing ways God’s love revealed itself to me during that time, as I healed I became more and more assured of my identity as God’s precious, beloved daughter and the impact this had on my outlook was radical.
I became aware that my theological viewpoints on so many issues were wrong, because they weren’t consistent with the loving Father I had grown deeper in love with. I knew more than anything that Gods promise to give me a future and a hope was true, even if I didn’t understand what that meant.
And if it’s true for me it’s true for everyone else.
I see Christians worrying, like I used to worry. Worrying whether they’re interpreting the bible right, worrying whether they confessed everything they did wrong that day, worrying whether they’re ‘good enough’
Worrying about their friends souls, “have I really done enough to win them over for the kingdom, to save them?” Worrying about their children’s souls, “what if I don’t pray with them enough or train them up so they don’t depart” worrying, worrying, worrying about hell.
Worrying about their prayer life, “am I getting enough quiet time? ” worrying about their friends prayer lives, worrying about their friends theology, their pastors theology, worrying about who is hellbound and who isn’t.
And this worry, it’s not what God wants for us, is it what you want for your children? God’s a perfect parent. When we try our best and still fail he’s proud of us, when we misbehave and are too proud to admit it, he still loves us. When we hurt it hurts him and when we’re happy he rejoices with us.
It’s not about theology, it’s about love. God wants us happy and fulfilled just like we do our children, if our theology causes misery to us or anyone else. It’s wrong. If our theology causes us to worry, it’s wrong. If our theology isn’t focused on God as an all loving proud dad then guess what? it’s wrong.
We can study theology until the cows come home, but at the end of the day we don’t need all the answers, we just need one thing. Jesus.
So stop worrying. God’s got this…