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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Voices of Faith: God has so much power — should I be scared?


McClatchy Newspapers

Christ is evidence of his power and love

The Rev. Justin Hoye, pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kansas City: It is easy to become intimidated when we reflect on God as all-powerful, all-knowing and a just judge who demands an accounting of our lives. Still, these truths need not paralyze us, especially as we reflect on how God manifests himself in human history.

As God reveals himself in the person of Jesus Christ, he is still understood as all-powerful, all-knowing and a just judge. Additionally we see evidence of God’s will: to gather the lost, heal the sick, reconcile the sinner and care for the poor.

Many Christians celebrate the Easter season by reflecting on the New Testament accounts of this powerful will. Jesus Christ demonstrates God’s will to transform us into people who live lives moved by love and not by fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

Fear is replaced with love, and we are able to love because God first loves us. Rather than be scared by the power of God, one should rejoice in how God has demonstrated that power in our world. His power — shown in Jesus Christ — is not only evidence of God’s love, but also the action that enables us to move from fear to perfect love.

God wants only positive things for your life

The Rev. Duke Tufty, pastor of Unity Temple on the Plaza: Who do you think God is? An old man with long, white hair and beard, sitting on a golden throne in the far reaches of the sky with a handful of lightning bolts?

If so, do you think God is watching your every move so he can punish you if you do wrong, possibly even send you to hell at the end of your existence? Do you feel you fail to measure up to this God’s expectations because you were born sinful and unworthy by nature? If the answer to some or all of the above is yes, then you should most definitely be scared. As a matter of fact, you should be horrified.

There is a different way to think about God, one that I feel is much more realistic. God is spirit, an everywhere-present energy that is in you and all around you. This spirit is the very essence of your being, and it serves you without question or pause. God has nothing but your highest good in mind and provides you with life, love, peace, harmony, compassion and many other wonderful things. That indeed is a lot of power, but it will never be used to harm or punish you in any way.

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