If it wasn’t for Jesus, there’s no way I’d believe in God.
Well, maybe I’d believe in Him: I might even be scared of Him, but I certainly wouldn’t trust Him.
Here’s why: I think he’d look like me. Emerson puts it like this:
‘The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal. The god of the crusaders will be a crusader and the god of the merchants a merchant’.
When I think about a me-shaped God, it brings me out in a cold sweat. He’s a slave-driver. He’s never satisfied. He make everything either sinful or high in cholesterol. He’s got a checklist of stuff for me to do and it’s as long as His arm, (which, being God-sized, makes it very long indeed). He says things like this:
‘Pull yourself together’
‘So far today, you’re doing okay – but watch your step! One false move and it’s game over’
‘I’m watching you’
‘If it isn’t painful, it’s not My Will’
‘You’re not good enough – try harder’
‘At least make an effort to look acceptable, even though it’s not true’.
‘Keep it together. Keep your head down. Keep The rules’
This God doesn’t like me, let alone want me. He’s scary and He’s got a big medieval stick studded with spikes, with names like sin and hell and law. He’s waving it over my head – and it casts a shadow over everything I do.
If this is God, then there’s only one thing for it: run my friend, run for the hills. Have nothing to do with Him. Sure, do your best… but enjoy life in the present and stay out of church. Seriously – why would you want to hang around with other prisoners?
If God’s like this, then Christianity is the worst news ever. You’ll never be good enough and you’ll kill yourself trying.
What if God’s not like this?
What if He’s more than a bigger version of Me?
What if He’s who He says He is: if He is Jesus –
– the most loving, passionate, grace-filled, generous, beautiful Person who ever walked on earth
– the God who sees us as we are and is properly, fully thrilled with us
– the God who doesn’t want our performances or our masks or our stuff, but who gives Himself to us…
If that’s God, then I can trust Him. I want to spend time with Him. He gives me hope instead of despair. He sets me free from slavery to self and instead of Him looking like me, I can start to look a little more like Him.
– a God who blows everything else out of the water
– a God who meets the biggest hungers and says, ‘wait – there’s more’.