Do you know the show “Monk?” I used to watch that show with my kids. This guy Monk was really OCD with some pretty strange phobias but he had this gift to “see.” He could walk in a room and “see” exactly what happened, what was missing, what didn’t belong, what was out-of-place and more. He could solve these crimes that stumped everyone else. On some level I envied Monk (yes he is fiction). I guess what I am saying is I envied the gift of “seeing.” People would marvel at Monk’s “gift” but his response was “it is a gift…….and a curse.” I don’t want any curses but the ability to “see” clearly is something I desperately seek from God. Can you relate? For some I bet you can. For others you have the gift of “not worrying” about the finer details. Maybe that is the gift I should desire?
I do believe God has shared with us a “glimpse” into a truth that has been hidden by religious distractions for some time now. It is really simple but so profound. It starts in the garden with a fresh look at what really happened. From there we can see the man and God story from a proper perspective. We see a relational God with relational love for His children. We see a paradox of perspective that is really mind-boggling. We are insignificant in the cosmos but the center of God’s plan. The revelation of His true nature towards us and our fallen nature view of Him lets us “see” what is going on behind the scenes.
Of course I don’t have it all figured out. This journey of love in relationship is an eternal (timeless and forever) journey with the very source of good. There is nothing “bad” about God, not a single thing. When you get an image of something that is “too good to be true” then you are just at the edge of seeing who God really is. Still I find passages and entire books where I am “stuck” in an old way of thinking and I can’t seem to break free. 2 Peter comes to mind. How do I reconcile the words on the paper with what I know about God. Jesus on the cross is always the answer to “who is God.” Jesus is the Word of God. So how do I see self-sacrificial love everywhere? How do I see a non-violent Jesus in a violent story? How do I see God’s plan of being a servant to mankind like Jesus said when a passage suggests my total and absolute worthlessness?
You may not like my answer, but my purpose is not to convince you. I expect you will follow your own heart and seek a revelation from God that works for you. For me I can see clearly that a fallen-human-nature-scribe, even inspired by the Holy Spirit, will record a story from a fallen perspective. It is like Zuzu’s Petals (check it out here). I know that I know Jesus is the answer. His very purpose was to reveal the Father to mankind. This revelation looks like a man-God on a cross at the hands of mankind. It was the only way for us to be set free from a broken image of our Father and an irrational fear of our Groom.
It goes all the way back to the garden. The “sin” of disobedience wasn’t what messed us up. The act of doing something wrong did not bring an instantaneous judgment from an angry God. God wasn’t there saying “you broke the rules so now you will die at my hands as I kill you so I feel better and you learn a lesson.” Listen that kind of language and thinking is actually a product of our fallen nature which came from wrong fruit ingestion. That is what really broke us in the garden. We ate the wrong fruit. We consumed the knowledge of good and evil that was not appropriate for a finite being. Only an infinite loving God can possess the knowledge of good and evil without negative consequences. God has everything He needs. He is missing nothing. He is completely secure in who He is. He is good and He knows it. His makes stuff. He restores stuff. His nature is to repair. We call it Grace. We, however have none of that. Our limitations fed by wrong fruit produces broken thinking.
The knowledge of good and evil for us, however is a curse. Actually it brings death. God says it is a double death. It is a death while dying. The proof that He was telling the truth is our reaction to fallen fruit consumption. We ate, we condemned ourselves, we hid from the source of love. The same God we loved and walked with is the one we ran from. The same God who brought us clothes in love to cover our shame is the God we rejected for fig leaves. Our minds were poisoned with judgment and condemnation. Our new default mode was to judge others and ourselves. We projected this dysfunction onto a loving God and assumed, irrationally, that God was going to punish us. He instead came looking for us. His passion was covering our shame. Our passion was our mistake. God wasn’t offended by our sin but moved with compassion to help us in our shame.
His mercy has been our protection ever since this tragic day. He puts us out of the garden so we don’t live forever in condemnation. He has been pursuing us and loving us all the way. Our rejection of Him is our choice. He never gives up on us but we give up on Him. Even horrific stories like the flood are an account of a people who completely reject God and still God’s grace is there to save the only one who accepts God. God only knows when but there is a point where people will never turn to Him. His judgment is to let them go and save the one. When we refuse His mercy our paths are our own making which includes stuff like “destruction” and “wrath” and just a truck load of garbage from a fallen world. Seeing His goodness and our fallen human, stubborn rejection of Him in stories like this unstuck my fallen understanding of Him.
Then we see stories like Abraham. Something is very unique about this guy. He is the first to call God Jehovah Jireh, God provides. Abraham was the first since the fall to see that God is our provision in all things. He developed such a trust in his relationship that he “argued” with God about the outcome of a people group. This is one of those getting stuck stories for many. You don’t have to agree, but I see a tragic disaster for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Like the time of the flood these people had completely rejected the mercy, grace and love of God. They were “wicked” to each other to such an extent that God heard the cry of the people. His mercy was to “let them go” and “be delivered” from their “hell on earth.” Abraham argued for the salvation of a few. God saved them. Good story. Monk moment.
Can you begin to see our fallen nature to reject and run from God in these stories? Can you begin to see God’s pursuit of us in these stories? I hope so. This will keep you from getting stuck in a fallen understanding of a good God. Instead it will set you free to “see” what you already know about Him.
Finally we get to see who God really is. He is not murder. He is not violence. He is not a punisher. He shows us the heart of the Father to love. He demonstrates His love by letting mankind kill Him on a cross. He says He came to serve and pay us a ransom for our freedom from our fallen nature. He sets us free to “see” again. He is the one that can get us out of our fallen way of thinking and instead see the love of God again just like before the fall. He is the exact representation of a loving God. His wrath is intense passionate love that heals. Our fear is anticipation of His victory. Our weakness is His opportunity for miraculous. Our contaminated minds are replaced with His. Our hard, stony hearts are replaced with a heart that knows Him. His words are our new reality. His presence is our new existence. He changes everything. He is contrary to our fallen nature of condemnation and rejection. Through His eyes we can see our destiny as His children. That is our new nature.
So every now and then I need to re-cage my thinking. It is easy to get stuck. The evidence presented by a fallen world is substantial. The reasoning by a fallen Adam is convincing. The fear of religion is tangible and persistent. The anger of the informed is real. The rejection by the establishment hurts. The daggers of the debaters pierce deeply. Still Jesus is Jesus. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Arguments He faced. Rejection He received. His response to a fallen world wasn’t anger or vengeance or punishment or violence or blaming an angry God. No no no! His response was to let mankind take His life so we could give our lives to receive His.
When you get stuck, have a Monk moment. Stop, take a look and let it soak in. Don’t rush and overreact or get worked up (bad Monk stuff) but instead let Jesus show you the answer because He is the answer. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth. Then we have one of those Monk moments when we can say “this is how it happened.”