Saturday, December 20, 2014


Lately I've been trying to fathom why it is that many unbelievers run screaming in the opposite direction when believers start talking about God. And especially about Jesus. At first glance it would seem to be self-evident - their hearts are unregenerate, after all, and they don't understand spiritual things.

However, I suspect it might be more than that. I suspect that they've been burned by believers whose entire reason for being seems to be following the rules and making sure that everyone else follows them too. Such believers consider themselves to be 'passionate' or perhaps even 'prophetic' or 'apostolic' ... with a message to convey regardless of how it's delivered. Such folks are often heard commenting on current events by saying that "disease X" is God's punishment for lawlessness, that a particular group of people is an abomination to God, or that a person or persons whose behavior has been reprehensible will "get theirs." This demonstrates a view of God that is very ummm ... Odin-like, shall I say. Lightning-bolts and all that. 

To the unbeliever, by the way, that's just plain weird ... and scary beyond all reason.

Holding views like this can feel very good to believers, even "right" ... because humans have an extremely well-developed sense of what's "fair." We want evil to be punished and good to prevail. We want things to fit into nice little pigeon-holes. This is right. That is wrong. There is no gray.

The problem is, there's a LOT of gray. 

I'm not saying there are no absolutes. What I'm saying is that there are fewer absolutes than we think. And something that WE might consider to be 'wrong' may just be 'different.' 

We believe the Bible. We read the same Word ... and yet its meaning is different for each one depending on who and what we believe God is. If we believe God to be a vindictive, judging, punishing, and lightning-bolt-throwing god, then we are going to read Scripture differently than if we believe Him to be loving, merciful, gracious, and forgiving. And our whole take on life will look like what we believe Him to be. 

Photo "Sun In The Sky" provided courtesy of
graur razvan ionut at
This is what Paul was trying to get at when he said in 2 Corinthians 3 that when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts. And that when someone turns to the Lord, that veil is taken away. 

The veil is that mind-set of the avenging god, the one who must be appeased, the one of whom we must be afraid or he'll come down from on high and club us ... that one (we know this one so well; he thrives on our insecurities) who demands perfection and who is angry all the time because we never. measure. up. 

But Jesus

Jesus is different. Jesus isn't that vengeful god; He is merciful. Loving. Tender-hearted. Compassionate. And He opened the way to relationship with the Father the way it was meant to be - not in fearful cringing but in open-faced adoration, like a child lifting up its hands to a loving, gentle Daddy and saying, "Uppie!" 

In intimate relationship with Him, in gratitude for His love and forgiveness, that's how the veil comes off. The glory of the old covenant is outshone by the new. Love trumps hate. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Compassion dissolves condemnation. Forgiveness demolishes fear. 

We are unveiled by His love. Individually. We are allowed to gaze into His face - one on one - and be transformed by His grace. This is not because of anything we did or do, or because of any rule we obeyed or obey. It's because of His initiative. It's entirely His doing

We don't get to boast. We get to be loved. 

We don't change. We ARE changed ... by His Spirit and ONLY as we "behold Him" without the veil, without the veil of religious thinking - the same religious thinking that feels it has to defend His honor and charge in, commando-style, to take the world by force and MAKE it bow to Him. 

That's not God's style. Jesus has already given us everything we need. He's already removed the veil. 

So believe it - and behold Him.


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