Whilst listening to Israel Houghton’s ‘Hosanna’, on my way to the train station a few weeks ago, the Lord prompted me to consider what Jesus said during his dying moments on the cross – ‘Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani’ – meaning ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me’. I’ve read those words countless times, but never ever considered what the Lord said next.
“At that moment, my son felt completely abandoned. So much so that he was actually angry with me. Those words were an angry cry for help.”
I’d never considered those words in such a manner before. But even more surprising was what the Lord said next.
God: “Hear my roar.”
Me: “Hmm…er…okay… what roar?” I asked.
God: “Jesus is my roar. He is my Roar of Love.”
He then proceeded to take me through Jesus’s life on earth – pointing out the various ways in which Jesus was, and continues to be His ‘Roar of love’.
Jesus came to earth to show us what’s important – Love. He demonstrated to us the importance of humility, kindness, compassion, and patience, as against rules and regulations. His Roar of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness not only set people free, but healed them of all manner of ailments. His Roar of Love resulted in him sacrificing his life in order for us overcome sin and death.
But not everyone believed in Jesus. Not everyone liked him. Indeed, many disliked him so much they wanted him dead. As we see throughout the bible, every man and woman had a choice – to believe or not believe – to follow or not to follow – to love and do good, or to hate and do bad.
We’ve always had a choice.
Can God be blamed for the hypocrisy and wickedness of the Pharisees?
Can He be blamed for the rabble’s decision to free a murderer instead of an innocent man?
Can God be blamed for all the wrongs we see and hear about?
Or has it simply become ‘cool’ to not only reject God’s existence, but also ridicule the very notion of Jesus? That particular question, however, is for a future message.
A young gentleman asked me a few days ago whether or not I believe in God. After replying ‘yes’, I asked him the same question.
“Yea, I used to, but I just can’t make sense of it anymore. I mean, I used to believe there’s a God that overlooks things – some kind spiritual being who created everything. But that was when I was much younger. As I grew up, and started to see all the terrible things that happen in the world, I started to doubt more and more. Now, I simply can’t believe there can be a God in the midst of all the darkness and turmoil.”
The gentleman’s answer sums up the views of millions across the globe – a struggle to identify with a God that’s either oblivious, or simply powerless to stop all the wrongdoings and tragedies that are so prevalent in our world today.
But can we really blame God for our wrongdoings?
Can God be blamed for someone’s decision to take another’s life?
Can He be blamed for violent acts of terror?
Can He be blamed for people killing each other in the name of religion? (did Jesus kill anyone in the name of Christianity??)
Can He be blamed for corruption in churches?
Can we blame Him for priests sexually offending young children?
Can He be blamed for the judgmental and loveless atmosphere that pervades most churches?
Can I blame God for my years of cocaine induced sexual escapades?
Can we blame God for the ‘righteous’, holier than thou attitude of so many Christians across the world? So ‘holier than thou’ that we actually put people off Christianity, as against encourage them to want to know more.
Can God be blamed for the church’s abuse of power in ages past? Indeed, so many parents and grandparents in Europe are so peeved about this particular matter that they’re attitude to Christianity is positively antagonistic.
No, we cannot blame God for human failings. We have always had a choice. We alone can choose to do what is good or bad /right or wrong.
Ours is a fallen world because of our choices, not as a result of anything God has, or hasn’t done.
The truth is, because we’re born in His image, we are all driven by two innate desires – a desire to be loved by God, and a desire to Love. Those are the two driving forces of human nature. But life’s journey has a way of distorting these two incredibly powerful forces; such that, should either not be met, we begin to search for them in other ways – be-it unhealthy relationships, unhealthy friendships, excessive drinking, drugs, sex, sex, and more sex, gossiping, a persistent slandering of others, absurdly long working hours, an insatiable appetite for material gains, etc etc.
A vacuum must always be filled.
One of the biggest contributing factors to my many years of cocaine abuse was a desperation to be loved. It took many sessions of counselling and therapy to unearth, but once it was, I realised that my ‘religious’ beliefs were actually a negative influence.
To be entirely honest, I’d say I was raised in a ‘religious’, as against Christian environment; and as such, although well versed in the bible, my understanding of God was centered on a hard, if not cold, and vicious figure, who rewarded good behavior, and very swiftly punished any errors of judgment. Hence, I spent most of my time either trying to secure His forgiveness, or earn His love. Life was a rollercoaster of anxieties and fears. God’s love for me didn’t really feature in my psych.
I was a pressure cooker of anxieties, fears, and worries; and as a result, I needed a release every now and again. That release was found through cocaine and sex. Then, after the inevitable fall, I would spend the next few months desperately seeking His forgiveness and love – all over again.
The day I began to learn about God’s Unconditional Love for me was the day I started to have a real relationship with Him. And as a result, the lure of cocaine and sexual escapes began to have much less hold on me.
Many people inadvertently fall into destructive habits / addictions- be it drugs, unhealthy relationships, excessive drinking, gossiping, possessive behavior, vanity, decadence, self-harm, anorexia, bulimia, and so much more, as a result of the vacuum created by an ignorance or rejection of God
If you’re reading this, and are at present feeling unsure about whether or not there’s a God, permit me to tell you something;
There is a God, and He absolutely adores you. But stop blaming Him, or questioning His existence because of all the ills and wrongs in the world. Much of the awful news we hear on a daily basis is as a result of people choosing to do bad instead of good; opting for self-centered acts, as against selfless ones.
If you struggle to come to terms with the so-called ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of Christianity, and are as such somewhat put-off by it all, I have a message for you;
‘Christianity is not about dos’ and don’ts. It is not about how well you behave. Neither is it about how much you read your bible, how much you give in church, how you dress, how you look, how you speak, or how much you pray. Jesus says, “my yoke is light”. By this, He meant that all you have to do is believe He’s the son of God, and that he died for ALL your sins; thereby making you perfectly loved, and forever righteous. There is absolutely nothing else to it. It really is that simple.’
All you have to do is ask yourself the following question;
‘Do I believe Jesus is the son of God, and that he came to earth to die for all my sins?’
If you do, then please say this prayer with me.
“Lord Jesus, I believe that you died for ALL my sins of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I believe that by your blood, I’m cleansed of ALL my sins of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and made perfectly righteous in you. Thank you for loving me so much that you gave your life for mine. I accept you as my Lord and Savior, and thank you that you will always love me, no matter what I do or say.”
That’s it. You’re now a Christian. And from this moment you’ll enjoy His Unconditional and Unfailing Love.
He loves you soooo much; and He always will – no matter what.