There has been a slew of actions and behaviors that depict God in ways that are far from His character. That is the result of misconceptions of who God is, based on religious doctrines. The one true God has nothing to do with religion, which is man-made. He is interested in developing a personal (one-on-one relationship with each of us. Some of His characteristics include being patient, good, faithful, and loving etc. In terms of loving, God IS love; He is love personified. As stated in Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” For an even better perspective, replace the word love with God: “…God is patient. God is kind… God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth…” Any words, attitudes or actions that deviate from that does not represent God in any way, shape or form. When you see people mistreat, demean or engage in/support unjust laws, while professing some religious concepts, please know this is not coming from God’s perspective. It’s simply canting individuals who are attempting to justify dismissive, unjust and illegal behaviors through religion, which (again) has nothing to do with God. He actually encourages us to not forget the poor and love our neighbors as ourselves, among others. Clearly, anything that promotes hate, disparages, and entices inequality is not a reflection of who The One true God is.
I must admit, in all truthfulness, I get frustrated to no end when people use God’s name to do such evil as prejudice, haughty behaviors, or condemning those who deserve the same amount of grace as anyone else. It bothers me, because such behaviors (done under the umbrella of religion) mis-characterize God in a way that can be off-putting to anyone who attributes religion with God. Everybody has the right to adhere to whatever views with which they identify the most. However, utilizing God’s name as a culprit to justify such views is a downright disrespect to the name and true nature of God. The true God, whom I came to know, loves everybody. He wants the best for everyone, regardless of their background. It is time to distinguish between man-made religion and God Himself.
On the other hand, it is scary to see how easily people can be bamboozled into accepting and defending things that would normally be appalling to them. It mirrors what happened in a popular movie, where a group of individuals witnessed a leader shoot another person in the room. However, when they came out of that boardroom, they recounted a completely different scenario, while praising the one who shot the victim. In light of the current events in our world, it is crucial to have a discerning spirit to accurately decipher good from evil. God’s name has been audaciously used for personal agendas, while defending acts of injustice.
God might have been mis-characterized; but His true character, which is summarized by love itself, will always be in contradiction with that which portrays the opposite of love.
The one true God loves everybody and abhors evil. Hence, the reason He sent Jesus to die a brutal death for our sake. It would be best to find out for yourself who This Savior is, as opposed to misrepresentations of Him. God sees people from a heart-perspective; He sees the good in everyone, whether they were living in the straight and narrow way or not, or whether they were rich or poor. His arms are wide open for anyone who needs an emotional and/or spiritual refuge. He says, “Come on to me you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” There lies the heart of God. This offer, extended to all, is rooted in unconditional love. He is never for division, discrimination and strife.
To those who have been turned off by the aforementioned actions (i.e. misrepresenting God for personal or socio-political agendas), please do not form your opinion about God, based on false and misguided depictions of who The Savior of the world truly is. Do not allow mis-characterizations of God to define your perception of who He is. It would be ill-advised to attribute others’ behaviors/words to identify our Creator, especially when said behaviors/words are more destructive than uplifting. God loves you! To those who have been utilizing God’s name to foot their personal/political views, please, have the decorum to leave God out of this. Kindly stand on your own footing to defend YOUR views. God is not mocked.
Action plan: Test the spirit behind every action. Are those actions motivated by love or personal/sociopolitical gains? Are those actions building people up or tearing them down? Would The God of love applaud recurring injustices toward those He loves?
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD