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Brenda & the Bible: The True Nature of God 

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By Brenda Groves

The Post Newspaper Contributing Writer

   It was just after dawn and I was spending some quiet time in the backyard of the house that we used to live in. 

   The swing I was resting in creaked ever so slightly in a soothing rhythm. 

   I was deep in thought over some passages of scripture when a white blur caught my attention as it darted under one of our vehicles. 

   Probably a cat, I supposed. We had several that prowled that street. 

   Again, I regained my focus and began to read. 

   Suddenly, I became aware of heavy panting just at my feet. Peeking over my book I found two large round eyes belonging to the cutest little dog looking up at me in expectation. As if on cue the Lhasa breed turned in a tight circle and faced me again. 

    “Sorry fella, you missed the breakfast buffet,” I mused as I reached down to scratch his head. 

    I knew which neighbor this dog belonged to and how they were usually very careful not to let it run loose.

    Sure enough, it wasn’t long before she pranced down our driveway, corralled the pup, and gave him a scolding. 

    Unceremoniously, she tucked him under her arm like a football, and toted him back home. 

    A few days later the dog returned. This time it was near dusk and starting to mist. I knew this couldn’t be right, so I reported the runaway to my neighbor, and discovered the dog had escaped through the fence. 

   She was very put out with the rebellion stage that her dog was going through.

   We both walked down the road calling his name and trying to make out his location in the dark and drizzly conditions. 

   I called out, “Come here puppy dog. Come on sweetie,” trying to coax him out of hiding.

   She, on the other hand, was shouting threats and warnings. 

   Out of the darkness I spotted him making a beeline straight for us.

   I yelled out encouragement, “Here you go. That’s a boy. Let’s go. What a goooood dog.”

   While my neighbor hollered, “GET … OVER … HERE … RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!”

   At the last minute the dog veered away from its owner and instead ran up to me with an anxious “hide me quick,” look on its face. It wanted no part of its owner’s wrath and went submissive “belly up” at her approach. 

   Quite vexed she snatched the dog off the ground, gave it a quick swat on its rump and huffed back home.

    It suddenly struck me how closely her reaction/attitude resembles the mainstream religious doctrines that are portraying God as angry, disappointed and quite put out with us most of the time. 

    I actually once heard a popular preacher use this analogy as part of his sermon about prayer time.

    Quote: “And if you say you don’t have time to pray He (God) may lay you out with some sickness or accident in the hospital for two weeks, flat on your back, then that’s all you can do is pray.” 

    Now that’s just ridiculous.

    Please understand that I am not mad at anyone, but this teaching is still widely accepted by many churches, though New Testament scripture does not support it. 

     It saddens me to think that many of His children are missing the experience of a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father because they are still afraid to fully approach Him. That somehow they have disappointed Him, and are in for the scolding of a lifetime. 

     You know, how eager would you be to visit your parents or a friend, if every time you saw them they were constantly rebuking you for something you did wrong. We all know people like that. You never knew what mood you might find them in. It changed from day to day and you had to walk on eggshells just to keep them from blowing up at you. 

      I want you to know that our Heavenly Father is not constantly grading us. He is no longer imputing sins on us. (Romans 4:7-8, Psalm 32:2)

      “If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” John 4:18 (NLT)

     I have talked with many Christians over the years who don’t feel worthy to come before God, and that He will help them, because they have been taught that their sin has disqualified them. I was under the same doctrine for many years. But that teaching is not pleasing to God. 

     He doesn’t want you to think of Him as the punisher of those who aren’t perfect; He wants you to come to Him with the expectation of being rewarded with His presence/fellowship- not because you are good but because HE is good. He doesn’t love you because you are lovely, but because He is love. (1 John 4:7-11)

    I know this is the opposite of what religion has taught many of us, but it’s clearly illustrated in the parable that Jesus taught and often referred to as the “Prodigal Son.” (Luke 15:11-32.)

   When most of us read this story, we can relate with the son who turned his back on his father and went his own way, doing his own thing. We know our thoughts/choices and behavior has made us unworthy to be in the presence of our Father, so maybe if we beg forgiveness and confess our sins, God will let us live in His kingdom as a lowly servant.

   However, Jesus was not telling this story to illustrate man’s nature; He is revealing God’s nature. 

   Luke 15:20 explains how God feels about us.

   “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” 

    The son tried to confess his unworthiness to the father, but the father didn’t even acknowledge it. In fact, he wouldn’t even let him finish his rehearsed speech. There was no putting his son on probation or making him work his way back into the father’s good graces. The father wasn’t interested in punishing his son; he was too excited about getting back what brought him pleasure- having fellowship with his son, and blessing His children.

   He immediately restored His son into the family by putting the family signet ring on his finger, putting shoes on his feet, and dressing him in the best robe. The robe of righteousness, of right standing with the family. 

   Then he threw a party. The son’s disloyalty and rebellion would no longer be remembered or brought up. It didn’t matter anymore. The only thing that mattered to the father was expressed in Luke 15:24

    “For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

    Because of Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, God, our Heavenly Father has had His arms open wide toward mankind for over 2,000 years. And when we choose to be born again, (John Cpt. 3), going from death to life, we have His Spirit living on the inside of us, with full access to the Father whose arms are always open to us.  

   Even if we have been rebellious at times, He remains faithful to us, He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim. 2:13)

   So don’t ever be afraid to run to your Heavenly Father, where you are always fully loved, fully forgiven, and fully His. 

  That’s the attitude of a loving father.

  That is the true nature of God.

Contact Brenda Groves at:bkgroves1996@yahoo.com

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