Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special guest tonight. I’m sure you’ve heard of him, read about him, and even made jokes at his expense. Some hate him, many find the very notion of him absurd, some revere him, and others have a strange and peculiar undivided love and devotion for him.
No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about none-other than that so-called master of the universe – Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce to you, the one known as ‘God’.
An uneasy silence descends, as the audience waits with bated breath for a first glimpse of the one so many refer to as the one true God. Will he really show up? What will he look like? Is he real? Why did he agree to be interviewed? And does his attendance signify an end to the world as we know it?
All eyes are fixed on the entrance to the right.
No sign of him.
“Thank you for having me, Derek,” says an ordinary looking figure on the arm-chair.
“Crikey!! Where did you come from?” asks Derek Simmons, rather surprised to find his guest already sitting opposite him.
“I’ve been here all the time, Derek, just waiting for your introduction,” says God.
“Wow!! If nothing else, you’re certainly full of surprises sir. Can I call you sir? Or do you prefer I call you something else?”.
“You can call me by whatever name you’re comfortable with, Derek”.
“Hmm…to be honest, I’m not comfortable with calling you God, because quite frankly I don’t believe in you. Neither do I like what you stand for,” says Derek.
“Ah, so I guess I’m in for a bit of a roasting then,” laughs God. “Call me whatever you’re comfortable with, Derek.”
“I think I’ll stick with ‘sir’, just in case.”
“Just in case of what?”.
“Well, you know, just in case you are who you say you are,” replies Derek.
“And who might that be?”
“Well, God…the almighty one. The one who created everything,” replies Derek.
“And what makes you think I may not be?”
“Because there’s no proof. All we have-to-go-by is the bible. And that was written by humans, so it could easily all be lies,” says Derek.
“That is a very good point. I want to ask you a question. Is that okay?”
“Yea, sure, feel free.’
“Thank you. So, the different writers that wrote the Gospel – do you imagine they all met one day to plan how to scam millions of people?”
“Well, I really couldn’t say, to be honest. What if only one person wrote it under different names?” asks Derek.
“That is indeed possible. But why would someone do that?”
“Oh, that’s easy. Control,” replies Derek.
“Control over what?”
“People’s minds. It’s all about mind control. Controlling people’s minds and emotions so that they do what they’re told. Look at what’s going on today – so many churches in Africa, America, and Europe, ripping people off.”
“There are indeed many churches that aren’t doing my will. But I’ve never wanted to control anyone. Indeed, I take the matter of free-will very seriously. I would much rather you love me because you want to, as against forcing you to do so.”
“Yea, about that, if you’re God, and you have power over all things, why not just make sure everyone does your will? Why put us through so much anguish and confusion? Surely it’s easier all-round to simply ensure we do as you please!?”
“It would indeed be a lot easier. You have three children, right!?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Would you rather your children love you because they have to, or because they genuinely do so?”
“Obviously the latter, but that’s different.”
“How is it different?”
“Because they’re my children and I love them,” replies Derek, now a little agitated.
“As are you and everyone in this auditorium. I prefer to have a genuine and loving relationship with you, as against one in which you believe in me because you fear what might happen if you don’t”.
“But I don’t get it. If you’re truly a God of love, then why has there being so much violence and destruction as a result of people following you? Look at the crusades; look at the way churches inflicted so much pain and torture on thousands of innocent individuals during the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries; people burnt on stakes because of you!”
“What some have done in my name is a great tragedy. Unfortunately, mankind has a tendency to bend things to his whim; to suit his own personal agenda. There isn’t too much I can do about that. I can’t be blamed for the atrocities that mankind inflicts on himself.”
“But you’re God! Surely, there’s something you can do!?”
“Yes, there is; and I already did it.”
“What exactly did you do?”
“I sent my son to die for all of you – those who believe and those that don’t. By so doing, anyone that does believe is saved, no matter what he or she did in the past or does in the future.”
“Hang on, so you’re saying even if I say ‘I believe’, I can do whatever I like?? What’s the point of that?”
“When you confess to believing in me and invite me into your life, you give me permission to help you become a better person. That is when the relationship starts. It isn’t about rules and regulations. It isn’t about fear or reverence, and it is certainly not about perfection.”
“Yea, but I can still do whatever I like, right!?”
“Indeed, you can. But you see…hmmm…how do I put this? Okay, before you met your darling wife, you were a bit of a hell-raiser weren’t you!?”
“Yea, the whole world knows that,” laughs Derek, strangely beginning to feel more at ease with the figure in front of him.
“Good. Now, after meeting Lisa, you suddenly had a profound desire to lead a quieter, and, shall we say, more wholesome and peaceful life, right!?”
“Yea, definitely! She’s worth it. She made me a better person.”
“Indeed she has. But do you think you would have had that strong desire to be a better person if you didn’t love her so much?”
“Of-course not! I’d probably still be rocking like a nutter,” laughs Derek.
“Precisely! It’s the same with having a relationship with me. It isn’t about where you are in life or what you have or haven’t done. It’s a simple matter of love. As a result of a loving relationship, I’m able to help you be a better person. Doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. Neither does it mean you’re on some-kind-of pedestal. It’s simply a journey of love.”
“Hmmm…I do kind-of get that. But so many of your people go around behaving as though they’re perfect – holier than thou. It’s so flipping off-putting! Maybe your lot should talk more about love and less about the things you must and mustn’t do. It’s exhausting!! Such a mega turn-off!”
“I fully understand. And I couldn’t agree more. I love all people, regardless of their past, present or future. That is why I dislike the word ‘religion’, as it suggests I’m all about some-kind-of doctrine. Even I’m put-off when I hear that word,” laughs God.
“And then there’s all this sex before marriage stuff. Again, so off-putting. Rules and regulations,” says Derek.
“I’m glad you brought that up. But again, let me ask you a question before I delve deeper. As I said earlier, the most important thing to me is love, not doctrines or rules, but love. In that light, which do you think I value most – a relationship in which a couple are living together in genuine love and desire to spend the rest of their lives together, or one of a marriage lacking in love and authenticity?”
“Well, I guess the former, right!?”
“Precisely! What matters to me is what lies in your hearts; not contracts or perception. That is why time and time again, many frown at my choice of those I choose to serve me. Man looks at the external, but my focus is on what lies within.”
“So, what are you saying?”
“My point is that those who fear being judged because they are living together but not married, should worry no more. I don’t love them any less, and couldn’t possibly love them more than I already do.”
“And what about homosexuality?” asks Derek.
“What about it?”
“Well, many believe you couldn’t possibly love them because they’re homosexual.”
“The most important thing to me is love. My son told people on several occasions when he was here to ‘come as you are’. And that is all I want; for people to come to me as they are, regardless of what they or anyone else thinks. All that matters is what I think; and that is just one thing.”
“That I love you, and will never stop loving you; no matter what,”.
“You know what, Lord, I think I might be starting to like you. Heck, who knows, I may even start believing in you!”
“I know, Derek. That is why I came.”
“Huh? You came just for me? What about everyone else?”
“I will have opportunity to converse with each and everyone here at some time in future. But today is all about you.”
“Well, I guess I should say thank you, Lord. I am grateful. Before you leave, is there anything you wish to say to the people in this auditorium?”
“As a matter of fact, there is. Thank you, Derek.
Come as you are. I’m neither a perfectionist nor demanding. All that matters is my unconditional love for you.”