Truth frees; preferences fail

the_love_of_godI come from a very large family. I have five brothers and four sisters, and when we all get together with our immediate clans, we currently total 56. That’s a lot of people to love, and to pray for.

And I do pray for them…regarding health issues, relational issues, employment needs. But primarily for spiritual direction…that God will open their eyes to the truth of his love and provision for their salvation, and to their sin and need of him. Some simply need clearer vision; some, it would seem, are blind to it, or refusing to see.

We were, my siblings and I, raised Roman Catholic, and some of us still are, though not me. A few are Buddhist, some agnostic, others…well, I’m not quite sure. And we are, I would have to say, a rather intelligent bunch. So why is it that we all haven’t come to the same conclusion about God? Why isn’t what appears so obviously true to me not accepted by each one of those other smart people as true?

I suppose that comes off as sounding a bit arrogant. I will confess to some occasional arrogance…God is working in me on that. But being fully convinced of the truth of biblical Christianity, this is genuine concern and frustration, not arrogance. Concern, because truth matters, and the truth is that our sin has put us in need of a rescuer, and many in my family are ignoring or rejecting the only one available. Frustration, because the truth can be known, but they seem content to build their belief systems around preferences and proclivities.

For a good many of us, what we believe is based largely on what personally appeals to us, for whatever reason. I have made this claim before regarding most atheists…that their rejection of God is not because there is no evidence of his existence, but rather because they do not want to be accountable to anyone. I believe it holds true also for many who accept, or at least allow for, the existence of the spiritual. A plea to the facts is overshadowed by a prioritizing of one’s feelings.

So, for instance, if we are passionately opposed to war, we might gravitate towards Buddhism. If we just can’t reconcile a good God with the doctrine of Hell, we might embrace universalism. And if we admire and respect leaders or clergy from a particular denomination, especially if it’s the one we were raised in, we are inclined to believe that they know what they’re talking about. But how many of us seriously investigate the truth claims of the faith or worldview we espouse?

If God is real, and our spirits eternal, what we believe is more than a spiritual discipline or a means of affiliation, like political or social beliefs. Because it has eternal consequences, it must be based on truth. If it’s not, it may cost us dearly when we no longer have the option of avoiding reality.

I love my family, and pray that each one will come to see the light, as I did many years ago by the grace of God. Those who believe they can see, apart from the light of Christ, are like the Pharisees in this encounter with Jesus from John 9: “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, ‘Are we also blind?’” 1

I pray that by the time they stand before the Lord they will have acknowledged their own blindness and looked to him for healing. So that they will not hear him say, as he did to the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

1 John 9:39-40