I remember listening to some Christian teachings while I was younger, it used to instill fear in me. This is not the right kind of fear, we are supposed to have the fear of God. This fear I’m referring to is the kind that makes me want to do something, not out of OBEDIENCE, but because I’m horrified. This leaves no room for me to ask questions. We were taught only about the God of vengeance who is always ready to strike out any of His children who disobeyed Him.
Don’t even get me started on the talks about RAPTURE. There was no teaching about the beautiful second coming of Jesus. The emphasis was more on the pain that people would have to endure if they are sinners. They do this because they forget that they only had access to grace, and that’s what separates them from the “sinners.” I wonder how people expect change to occur when they are basically instilling fear in others.
There are various ways to approach a sensitive situation. It’s like a father who’s trying to protect his daughter from getting into a romantic relationship at a teenage age. Look at the following scenarios and truly decide which you think is the best approach to the situation.
Scenario A: The father yells at his daughter and sends every guy he sees around her away. Possibly calling her all sorts of names in a bid to get her off boys. He grounds her every time he hears that she’s talking to a boy. He watches over her like a hawk and never respects her privacy by constantly checking her emails or texts.
Scenario B: The father calls his daughter and educates her about why he thinks she’s too young to understand the intricacies of a romantic relationship at such a young age. He gives her time to ask questions, if she has any, and he answers the questions as best he can. He also makes her feel comfortable enough to earn his trust so that when she has doubts, she can come to him to ask those questions.
These two scenarios have the possibility of getting the same result, but the difference between both is that they have different approaches. One requires FEAR to work, while the other requires TRANSPARENCY to be effective.
What we as Christians need to realize is that we must stop falling into the category of scenario A. It’s about time we changed the narrative. Who in their right minds will want to market a product that terrifies their audience? (Well, except horror movies. And we’ve already established the fact that they know their own audience).
Let’s change the narrative about God. We need to wipe the slate clean and start with a fresher perspective. How do we do this? By letting people know about who our God is and what He represents. I know that there are various perspectives to seeing a situation , but we have to let people see God’s majesty for them to appreciate Him. These are a few cues we could lean on:
- Talk about a God who loves us all so much, that even in our stinking wretched sin, He sacrificed the most valuable thing to Him- Jesus. He didn’t have to do that, but He realized that Jesus being sacrificed will give us easier access to Him. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16 NLT).
- What about the fact that we should never expect anything despicable from a God so pure? Isn’t that why He has called us to holiness? In order to enjoy His full might, He said we should be holy because He is holy. I doubt if anyone would think of themselves of anything short of great. How then can you talk about the God who created you to be great as a wicked being? Didn’t He say He has created you in His image? There are so many adjectives we could use to describe this wonderful God. Kind does not begin to describe our God.
- How can you even talk about this great God without considering your surrounding? He Himself pointed to this in one of His parables when He referred to the lilies. He said that Solomon in all his greatness cannot be compared to them. They are alluring. I’m not a nature person, but I can imagine that if you asked someone who’s into nature to talk about what they see, they would describe it as nothing short of beautiful. I don’t know how people don’t see what I see. The God I know and serve is creative and artistic. I mean, His imagination brought this world into existence. No wonder He’s always telling us to see…… as far as your eyes can see. David also had something good to say about this- From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance (Psalms 50:2 NLT).
- If you were told to describe your parents, would you only speak of the times when they scold you and completely forget about the times when they showed you love? Yesterday was Mother’s Day (in Nigeria), and I saw loads of write-ups by people about how much their mothers mean to them. That’s a perfect opportunity for them to describe their mothers and they had positive things to say. Why then do people only point out the times in their lives when they’re going through a trial and never remember the days of favor, protection, love, and grace? I know that God wants a Father-daughter bond with me and I’m willing to explore that relationship with Him.
- God is not a hypocrite. I feel like this alone is enough to win the heart of someone. He wouldn’t tell you to do something that He Himself hasn’t done. Is it that seed He asked you to sow? Seems big, but you know He doesn’t need it. Do you remember that woman who poured her expensive perfume at the feet of Jesus? If you were like the disciples who were quick to judge, you must have wondered why that woman wasted her precious possession at the feet of Jesus. Why His feet? (But then again, that’s a topic for another day). Does it sometimes seem like a waste when you’re asked to do something that feels so insignificant? Like the money God asked you to sow in a church that’s already doing well rather than donating to a cause that seems obvious. Hmmm, the truth is, you really shouldn’t be so concerned about what needs to be done about it rather than just OBEY. God did the same too. He gave His most-priced possession to people who are undeserving of it. But He didn’t look at us and all the wrongs we do, He gave His son because of His love for us.
- It would be wrong to even describe our God without even considering His riches. There is no story without that. He has said that throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of His grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:7 TPT). Isn’t that just fun? How do people forget this side of the Bible? He has made provisions for us to enjoy in this world.
- God cares for us. He cares about whatever we are passionate about. My favorite favorite verse in the Bible talks about this. He said, I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for (Jeremiah 29:11). Did you see that? His plan is to give us the future we hope for. What more could we ask from this God?
- We have been made to fear RAPTURE. In its full essence, rapture is about the second coming of Jesus. All this means is that Jesus is coming back to take the people who have taken advantage of His sacrifice. He is coming to take us to a beautiful place. Why paint a picture that would taint that great image we are supposed to long for? Now, something we are supposed to be looking forward to, we have been made to loathe. We should all think of it as something amazing.
N.B: This is not an exhaustive list of the narrative about God. There’s so much more we could add to this list. We really need to build a wonderful relationship with God to know more about Him. You don’t get to know someone without getting to know them. Questions are allowed- trust me, God loves people that ask questions. Spend some time repeating some of His words to Him and ask honest questions.