Have you ever felt like maybe God was against you? Things in your life were not going the way you wished they would and you wondered what God had against you? There are many people in our culture that feel that way. The god they have heard described to them is a god who is against them. He doesn’t like the way they live or the things they do. He is against them. That is why there is such a need today for us to describe to our friends the God who is “For” them.
I recently read Rob Bell’s new book, What we Talk About When we Talk About God. I particularly like his chapter describing God as “For” us. I give him credit for much of what I will say, however not as well as he.
God is “For” us. When we describe God to others do we talk about a God who is for us? Do we talk to others in a way that helps them understand that God is for them? I don’t think a lot of people understand that God is really for them.
“Too often the church and Christians and life itself have convinced people that God is against them. For a lot of people in our world the Good News of the Gospel has been buried under a pile of “againsts.” Through the years religious againstness has taken the form of boycotts and wars and judgment and inquisitions and crusades and bumper stickers and sermons about how God will love you “If you will just . . .” For too many people the beautiful message of God’s love for them has been obscured by our againstness.”
When I listen to many Christians and hear what comes out of many churches and what I see on bumper stickers I often hear more “against” than I do “for.”
What I hear these days is that God is for you if you are white. God is for you if you are male. (In many churches women are still not allowed to have leadership roles.) God is for you if you are straight. God is for you if you vote Republican. That is the message I hear. I want to be clear about this. God is for you if you are white. God is for you if you are male. God is for you if you are straight. God is for you if you vote Republican. But we need to be vocal about the rest of the truth too. God is for you if you do not fit into all of the categories I just mentioned. As a matter of fact, God is for you if you don’t match any of the categories I just mentioned. God is for you. He is for you because He loves you. We are going to have to tell the whole truth, not just part of it if we want people to understand that God is for them. No matter who you are or what you have done, God is for you. That is the Gospel.
It has always been a hard lesson to grasp. The reason Jesus kept getting into trouble is because He kept loving the people some religious folks thought God was against. Jesus kept showing them God was for them. Jesus was for the sick. He was for the tax collectors (which, by the way, no one else was for.) He was for the woman caught in adultery. He was for the lepers. He was for the Samaritans. He was for the down and out. He was even for a dying thief. Jesus spent His life demonstrating to us that God is for us. “The messy, dusty, bloody story of Jesus is that God is for us all. God is for you.”