All too often do I hear about people who try to spread the word of God through violence and aggression. It’s been happening for hundreds of years and it saddens me to think that someone’s mistakes push so many people away from coming to know Jesus every single day. No were in the Bible does it say that God believed this was right, and nothing in the Gospels tells us of Jesus doing anything but love, but it’s easier to trust in the things that we can see before our eyes. Why would someone choose to believe in a God whose followers are so violent and hateful?
After finishing Genesis last night I moved on to Matthew and today I read the Beatitudes.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
The Beatitudes used to confuse me a little. I mean, who was Jesus referring to? What was He trying to say? So I found a commentary on biblegateway and something really stood out to me. God never intended His Kingdom for the violent, for the aggressive, for the hateful.
The Kingdom of Heaven is for the poor in spirit, for the meek, for the merciful, for the pure in heart, for the peacemakers.
It’s easy to trust in what’s right in front of our eyes because it’s just that, it’s right in front of us, staring us straight in the face. It makes sense to trust in what we see.
But God doesn’t call us to do what makes sense, and that’s one of the many beautiful things about following Christ.
If our bank balance tells us we can’t pay the rent, have faith and God will provide. If we’ve lost our keys, have faith and God will open our eyes. If we’re looking for a place to stay for a night, God will find us one. If we have to travel but funds are low, God will give us what we need. If we need to eat but the cupboard’s are bare, He’ll feed us.
These are all things that have happened to me or that I have seen happen. And they’re crazy, aren’t they? All through prayer and petition, God laughs at our idea of “common sense” and does it His way.
“Do not be anxious about anything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve sat down, full of fear and worry, and brought it all to God, trusting Him with all of it, and by the time I’d finished praying I literally feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel lighter, more free, I can smile again, I can laugh!
Some of you will say I’m too simple, but in a world full of darkness and broken hearts and pain, the joy I experience through my Jesus is something too perfect and wonderful for words.
One of my favourite parts of the bible is 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. I would write out the whole passage for you here but I feel like you might get a little bored (If you want to read the whole thing check it out here), so here’s a little extract:
1 Corinthians 1:18-19
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate’.”
God doesn’t use human logic. A while ago I was struggling with belief and a friend told me I needed to keep pushing through the logic that was strangling me. The only times I have feared the truth of Jesus, that He loves me, that I’m forgiven, are when I’ve sat and considered it all in relation to society and the world. We need to stop doing that. We need to stop thinking we don’t deserve forgiveness or love because those things are there for us whether or not we want them. Our logic tells us it’s wrong because society doesn’t want us to know love or forgiveness until we’ve earned it, but God loved us from the dawn of time.
It’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? I still struggle with it, with accepting that my forgiveness isn’t a “get out of jail free” card, but that it’s given to me by the One who can give it to me, because He wants to, because He loves me so much. But, slowly but surely, I’m beginning to know and accept the truth more and more every day.
And this is why, to return to my first point, we shouldn’t listen to the people who aggressively shove their beliefs down our throats, because that isn’t love and that isn’t God. I encourage you to open your Bibles today and find the truth of Jesus Christ, the person who I’m constantly chasing after.