Have you got God wrong? 

I suppose these thoughts started around the years of terrorist
atrocities sometimes performed in the name of God. My kneejerk
reaction besides despair was twofold; firstly what sort of person can
do these kinds of thing, and secondly what sort of God would that
be if theses random attacks were justified? These considerations
condensed into the question: Have you got God wrong?

I was mindful of the apostle Paul approving of the stoning of
Stephen in Acts 8 before his dramatic conversion. He rapidly went
from persecutor to persecuted! But he had obviously been utterly
sincere in faith but had got it all drastically wrong. For most people
the impact of faith is to have the highest regard for human life so
this makes these arbitrary attacks on unknown strangers all the
more difficult to comprehend.

Jesus sets the bar very high in his Sermon on the Mount
statement; “Love your enemies.” We are told here that just loving
those who love us is way too low a standard for a God filled life.
Faith is to be an adventure in learning to love, not just those whom
we naturally like, but those with whom we have little natural
connection with too. I take comfort from the fact that it never says
this is easy! Practical instructions and encouragements litter the
rest of the New Testament, my favourite is from Paul’s own writing:
Laugh with those who laugh, weep with those who weep. Here the
former terrorist has learnt the way to love people is being close
enough to folk to share emotions. That sounds like a life time
mission to me.

Revd Jack Walker
Senior Minister
Newport Pagnell Baptist Church
February 2018



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