Thursday, January 22, 2009

How can it be?...

I was at the chamber of commerce building yesterday finishing up my last meeting of the day, when someone asked me a question about our new church. I gladly tried to give them the best answer I could. We then got into a very interesting conversation that I thought was worth noting. Once I finished sharing my views and beliefs about Christianity and such. My friend, Mike, recounted a story of when he was a young catholic adolescent and some people came to his door.

They preceded to tell him that only their certain group of people were going to get into heaven and that he needed to know that he was in that group. And then before they could finish, Mike turned the tables on them with this simple logic problem

(A) God is loving and merciful.

(B) Sending half (or more) of the world's population to hell is not loving or merciful.

How then can God, being loving and merciful, send all those people to hell?

They floundered for a second, starting rifling through their bibles, and began to read him individual scriptures to justify their position.

"But, how can that be?" he retorted

The conversation finally ended and neither side had really done anything of value. The newcomers left and Mike went on as he was doing. But, I do think that this question is still a valid one, and one that we still face today, so I'll try to answer it to the best of my ability.

First... God is loving and merciful. This is undeniable. BUT, that's not ALL that God is. He is also just. And you can not take any one part of God's personality and extract it to be the whole of his personality, any more than you could do that for any of us.

God is mercifully loving... He is lovingly just... and He is justly merciful.

When you look at all the character of God, and not just the part you want to see, it becomes much clearer. Just as much as a parent today would have to deny their child the gift they promised them, if the aforementioned criteria was not met. So a just, loving, and merciful Father does the same.

Where is the love? In the giving us a way out, through Jesus on the cross.

Where is the mercy? In letting us choose Christ up until the very last second of His return regardless of our circumstances, actions, motivations, lifestyle, race, gender, ethnicity, etc.

Where is the justice. In keeping to the words He has already spoken and holding us accountable for our choices and actions.

I think if we are truly made in the image of God... and we truly want to reflect Him to our world... then we should strive to have these three attributes in correct balance in our own lives.

- Just a thought.

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