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We all have a view of God that may or may not be 100% a reflection of who He truly is. It is when we spend time in prayer and searching for Him in Scripture that we start to understand and see God in His true light.
But I am certain that all of us are not praying and reading Scripture 24/7. (As much as we’d love that, things have to get done: school, work, family, you name it!)
We get distracted with life and sometimes, we get so distracted we lose sight of God’s true character.
And other times, we aren’t even THAT distracted, but we get lost “in the sauce” (called life) and develop false views of God.
So my question to you is…
Is God a tyrant? Is God cruel?
There are so many of us who love God, but have this view of Him as a cruel, oppressive God.
How come when we hear our pastor or when we talk to other Christians, they can’t stop praising God as a good, good Father or wonderful Savior?
Maybe there is something wrong with us…Maybe we aren’t good enough Christians?
I don’t think that’s our problem.
I think different things have molded our view of God and it’s time to figure out what happened and remove it from our minds/lives so we can have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with our God.
So let’s figure out what may have happened.
I will ask you this next…
What has been your parents’ parenting style?
We know there are 4 parenting styles, which I won’t get into, but I will lead you to this website which goes into it in more detail: Types of Parenting Styles
My parents have had an authoritarian style which isn’t exactly the best. This meant more rules and punishments, and what they said was final. My father has softened as he ages, but he was very strict with us when we were younger.
And I believe my parents’ parenting style had shaped my view of God.
You see, for the longest time, I saw God as strict and if I did anything wrong, I was going to be punished. I felt I needed to be the BEST law keeping Christian in order to find favor with God because, otherwise, my life would spiral out of control into a big mess.
This was a warped view of God. His Word says in Romans 3:23-25 the following:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished
Psalm 37:23-24 says,
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
These verses mean:
… that I am a sinner and WILL sin, but when I do, I can freely go to Him, ask for forgiveness, and I am justified by faith through His death on the cross (grace).
He holds us up even when we stumble and fall short of His glory. He is righteous, but still welcomes us into His arms.
Your parents’ parenting style and your view of God:
Take a look at your parents’ parenting style and see if it has shaped your view of God. Maybe they fall on a different spectrum such as the permissive parenting style and you might think there is no need to fully obey God’s Word.
Think about it and let me know in the comments below if your parents’ parenting style has influenced your view of God.
[Side note: Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about my parents. It is what it is and I am not upset with them for anything. I know they love me and did their best. Thankfully, now I know better so I can break the chain once it’s my turn to be the parent.]
What if the church you attend has caused you to view God as oppressive?
I think we don’t realize this one if we have been a part of our church for a REALLY long time.
We may have started as kids in the church and just grown accustom to it. And we go with the flow; we stay where we are comfortable.
Just like with the parenting styles, you have churches that are legalistic or very liberal, and some that fall somewhere in between.
I have heard of churches requiring people to do so many things in order to be a part of their church. They have to change the way they dress, the way they eat, the way they talk, etc.
“What must I do to be saved?”
I love how we have someone in the Bible asking Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?”
I think this is what most people are asking when they go to a church and are moved by the Holy Spirit.
Paul and Silas answered the man with these simple words,
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household. And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household” Acts 16:31-32.
Notice how they didn’t say to him: “Pray 10 times a day. Stop eating meat. Dress like this. Stop being sarcastic. Pay off your debt. Stop celebrating these holidays. And then believe in Christ and you will be saved.”
Paul also shares this in Ephesians 2:8-10,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Christ saves us. Not us doing anything aside from believing in Him.
We give our lives to God because He has been calling us onto Him (Luke 19:10).
As we draw nearer to Him, He will instruct us in the way we should go to best obey Him.
And remember that spending time in Scripture will teach us what we should or shouldn’t do to honor Him.
Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with our church possibly impacting how we view God.
Do you think what you hear others say or what secular movies/shows say about Him changes your view of God?
Unless we work in a church or are always surrounded by believers, we will occasionally here negative things being said about God or His name being taken in vain.
Not to mention what we watch may have something that takes God’s name in vain, or twists His Word & principles.
How your family can alter your view of God:
What if you grew up in a home where you constantly heard your family blaspheming God’s name?
My grandfather did not believe in God until my grandmother passed away. It was at that point he stopped cursing God’s name. He regrets all those years, especially because my mom had to hear it.
Once my mom married my dad and left her parent’s home, she became receptive to God’s Word and gave her life to Christ.
Was it hard for my mom to understand who God was after leaving her home? Yes, but the Holy Spirit worked in her for the good and she eventually became a believer.
How your work atmosphere can alter your view of God:
Also, what if your coworkers are always trying to prove to you that God doesn’t exist? I am sure there are a lot of believers who deal with this on the regular.
While completing my undergrad, I worked at an urgent care part time and one of the medical assistant’s was an atheist who would always try to prove to me God didn’t exist and the errors in the Bible. I always prayed to have a wise answer for Him.
But if I had not been strong in my faith, this man could have possibly caused me to doubt/question the validity of the Bible.
If we are constantly hearing others say negative things about God and the Bible, you may start to doubt, especially if you are not strong in your beliefs. It’s best to know Scripture well and be watchful in prayer to guard your mind against the attacks of Satan (Colossians 4:2).
False views of Jesus:
And same goes with movies/tv shows.
If we watch those shows that are contrary to the Bible such as Lucifer (which paints the devil as a cool/good guy, and God as not the brightest being and other negative things), it will start to alter our perception of God. We will definitely start losing sight of who He really is.
Other shows take His name in vain, mock or slander God’s name. One movie, “21 Jump Street” with Channing Tatum, had a ‘Korean Jesus’ portrayal, which comes off really blasphemous. Some make many references to praying to “baby Jesus,” which may cause you to think that’s acceptable, but it’s not because Jesus is no longer a baby.
You can Google search for movies that do this to find out more.
And last but not least, one very important topic to cover: our biblical understanding.
How does your biblical understanding shape your view of God and your relationship with God?
A lot of people bring up the destruction of the Earth during the time of Noah, and Sodom & Gomorrah’s destruction as proof that God is cruel.
God allowed the flood because the earth became too corrupt.
And if we believe in God, we believe that He is the creator and owner of this world, and He has sovereignty or the authority over this world.
I like this analogy: when you make a painting on a canvas, you are the creator. You can destroy it or sell it or hang it in your house. It’s yours to do as you please being the owner of it.
God being our creator has authority over His creation.
It’s not that He is cruel, but that we have to acknowledge His authority over us and our world.
Sodom & Gomorrah:
God destroyed Sodom not only because of their sexual immoralities, but their principle sin according to Ezekiel 16:49-50, was
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
So let’s break that apart:
These people were…
- Arrogant/Haughty (pride/vain) – “pride comes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs 16:18.
- Unconcerned (lawlessness=sinning) – 1 John 3:4.
- Overfed (gluttony?) – remember when the Israelites kept more manna than they were supposed to? It would be full of maggots the next day (Exodus 16:20).
- Not helping the poor and needy – Over and over, we read bible verses asking us to help the poor and needy (Prov. 19:17, Prov. 22:22-23, James 2:15-16, Psalm 82:3).
Do you think this sounds a lot like how we are living nowadays?
And we know things will be worse in the end days.
But what is God’s end time plan?
To send His Son to save us for eternal life in Heaven.
And yes, this world will be destroyed, but there will be a better one. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 the following,
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
the things that God has prepared
for those who love him.”
It will be a New Heaven and New Earth, “where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Revelations 21.
There is hope for us and we know if we believe in Him, we will be there with Him.
Let me know in the comments below how YOU view God!