Rose-Colored Glasses

 

 

 

 

 

A little while back, in a comments section of an article I wrote on the nature of God, a fella by the name of Don asked a challenging question.

He disagreed with my “God Lens”; On how I saw God and the world.

“Jason, I wonder if your ‘god lens’ isn’t just a pair of rose-colored glasses. People have always made gods to their own liking. Historically, God has eventually pulled out His gun and shot them…”

In the article, I had asserted that Jesus is what God is like and He never once used a gun, He never once sought to punish or control us.

He continued…

“I can’t help but believe that what God says about Himself trumps all of our ‘god lens’ observations. I know this sounds harsh, but it takes a bright light to cut through all the smoke you’re generating. I know God loves you and I know you want to love Him, but can you love Him even if He offends your sensitivities? I don’t expect this to stay on your site for long but that’s ok. It was to you.”

This was my response…

“Don, unkindness, offensive or graphic language, or argument just for the sake of argument are really the only comments that we would pull off the site. You haven’t offended my sensitivities.

I think my ‘god lens’ is different than your ‘god lens.’

Historically, man has given God the credit for all kinds of horrific things.

Historically, and theologically, man has put a gun in God’s hand and given Him credit for all the pulled triggers: Natural disasters, wars, sickness, poverty; Historically man has attributed these things to God.

But, historically Jesus revealed that God played no part in the destruction of man.

Historically, Jesus revealed He had not “come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56).

When it comes to what He’s like, my ‘god lens’ is Jesus on a cross revealing His heart for us and our value to Him.

You are correct, it does take a bright light to cut through all the smoke. Jesus is that bright light. God is love, and He is way better than we think He is.

The goodness of God has been offending the sensitivities of man’s understanding since the fall.

There is one constant in my life, God is love, just like Jesus, and better than I think He is. If those are rose-colored glasses, then I’m guilty as charged.

Don, I am wide open to being offended by God, but in my life, when I have been offended by God, it’s not been by how bad God is, it’s been by how good He is in light of how poorly I thought of Him.

Whenever I have been offended by God, it’s because He is better than how I have historically perceived Him. And when that’s happened, I’ve repented. And then somewhere along the way I’ve written about my discovery.

I continue to grow ever-more convinced in His always-good love. And I’ve found that sometimes it’s offensive to folks. But I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and hope my response doesn’t offend you.

God bless!”


Jason Clark
is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

10 Comments

  1. Tineke Ziemer

    Your response fills me with joy and gratitude and excitement to experience the revealing of this amazing God who loves us!

    Reply
    • Jason Clark

      Thanks, Tineke, amen! Grace, and wonder over your day!

      Reply
  2. Felicia Knox

    Great response! I love you my brother

    Reply
    • Jason Clark

      Hey Felicia, love you too, thanks!!

      Reply
  3. Sharon Cowburn

    God lens and rose colored glasses. I must preface this all by saying I am biased as I love all things red colored! Both these “offenses” aren’t offenses at all but a differing of how we see God in light of our personalized experiences. To me this is a debate on views that doesn’t offend but seeks out to explain where and how we see each other. That can never be wrong to seek out another’s point of view to help us all understand where we are at so that we might come together in community and come out stronger together. Thank you Jason for modeling this!

    Reply
    • Jason Clark

      Great insight Sharon! Love the generous approach, amen! In the world today we could sure use the grace to see from another’s perspective.

      Thanks for being that to those in your circle and for sharing.

      Also, thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply
  4. Debbie Randall

    I really appreciate what you share, I always look forward to opening your emails… their very good. I do have a question however…Do you believe there is a Great Salvation to gain and fiery hell to avoid?

    Reply
    • Jason Clark

      Debbie,

      Haha, it’s amazing how simple that question is and yet how much anger and fear and fighting and divorcing ourselves from one another can happen when one attempts to even suggest at an answer that sits outside evengelical thought 🙂

      But I’ll give it a shot and then add some links for deeper reading.

      Here is what I believe, a Triune God, in Christ, on a cross, reconciled all humanity to Himself not counting our rejections, or delusions, or misinformation or confusion, or cultural bias or theological bent, or interpretations of hell, or our sins against us.

      What does that mean when it comes to heaven and hell, I can’t say for certain, but I’m daily convinced that it’s way better than what’s been taught.

      Personally, I believe we are saved by grace through faith. Period. (Eph 2:8)
      But too many Christians are confused today and actually believe we are saved by grace through faith and through our belief in eternal conscious torment.

      To me, salvation isn’t about avoiding hell, salvation is about heaven on earth.

      As far as what happens to us after we die, I think God is love and His love is good, and that He never leaves of forsakes us, not in death or life. I got that from Romans 8:38

      Check out this podcast where we dive into the subject of hell
      http://afamilystory.org/2020/09/michael-mcelyea-you-love-me-but-you-dont-know-who-i-am/

      This article dives into the subject more as well.
      http://afamilystory.org/2020/01/whats-he-like/

      I would also recommend Brad Jersak’s book, Here Gate May Never Be Shut
      https://www.amazon.com/Her-Gates-Will-Never-Shut/dp/1606088823

      Also, thanks for the encouragement!
      Blessings!

      Reply
      • Ben Bruner

        Hi Jason. I hope I have room to respond to your ‘rose-coloured glasses’ as you ‘don’ them to view your perception of the nature of God. Also hope to address your reply to Debbie on her particular query re. your thoughts on hell/eternal conscience of torment.

        In ‘rose’ you write (to Don), “In the article, I had asserted that Jesus is what God is like and he never once used a gun. He never once sought to punish us or control us”. I recall his time in the temple where he made a scourge of cords and whipped and overturned tables of the money changers with an anger, speaking in part, ‘You have made God’s House a den of thieves’!!
        …somebody got punished there..

        You say in ‘Rose’, “Historically man has given God the credit for all kinds of horrific things”. Also, you wrote “but historically Jesus revealed that God played no part in the destruction of man”. In the gospels (hopefully you have a good bible btw), Jesus reveals perfectly the parts God played in the destruction of man: See his references to Noah’s Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah and the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. All God’s ‘horrific’ doings..All God’s taking the credit for these ‘horrific things’, and All Jesus’ revealing these horrific things in his Gospels of the New Covenant/Testament.

        Don mentioned a ‘gun’ in your article. I agree with you that Jesus certainly didn’t have a gun. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. Couple Jesus’ consistency with God; the Father and Son and Holy Spirit do not use a gun; they use fire and brimstone (sodom), flooding rain from above and opened fountains of water below (earth flooded and only 8 human souls spared) and the Sword that comes out of the mouth of Jesus, which is the word of God that absolutely decimates and consumes the gathered armies that array themselves against God’s Christ—see book of Revelation. Again, I hope you have a Bible that articulates these matters.

        Regarding your response to Debby’s reply to you about her query on hell, etc.: You write “salvation isn’t about avoiding hell, salvation is about heaven on earth”. My hope is that Debby has a good bible…

        What are we saved FROM, Jason?? I appreciate your take on what we are saved TOWARD, Jason. We are saved from the 2nd death, Jason. Gospel of John says its is appointed unto man once to die, then the judgement. Some are resurrected unto everlasting life and some are resurrected unto everlasting damnation”. Somebody find a good bible and research this yourself.

        What is the inspired word saying when it says in John 3:16–‘God so loved the world that he gave his only son…..that whomsoever believeth on him Shall Not Perish!!! Well, most of us perish..physically..what does the inspired Author mean then…Perish? It’s the 2nd death where hell and death are cast into the lake of fire, Jason.

        Your good friend, Michael Mcelyea, I think is also courting disaster when he declares ‘there is no eternal conscience of torment’ apart from God. Again, without reliable scripture (both the 4 Gospels and the book of Revelation have tons of reference and reminders that the unsaved experience torment forever).

        In concluding, my point of this lengthy (perhaps boring—I congratulate u if u made it through!) tome was not to disintegrate or mitigate the love, the long-suffering, the merciful kindnesses, the Grace that God has for all humanity..for u, for Debby for me, perfectly addressed and reflected in the life and death and resurrection of Yeshua Moshiac!!! No, my point of this was to shine a light on deleted and omitted scripture by more and more teachers and prophets, vital scripture that was incorporated in Jesus’ saying, “heaven and earth will pass away but my word will not pass”. In fact, Jesus says the Word will be there on that day to judge in Johns Epistles.

        Wish u well readers!

        Cordially,
        Ben Bruner

        Reply
        • Jason Clark

          Ben, thank you for the generous way you’ve approached disagreement. I appreciate your gracious tone. Also thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          I think we will find that we differ foundationally regarding our hermeneutic for scripture and possibly life 🙂

          Christ crucified and risen is my hermeneutic. And I don’t perceive punishment to be taking place at the cross, nor do I perceive punishment to be in the nature of God.

          With that understanding, for me, scripture is an invitation to discover what God is like through the revelation of Jesus; Christ crucified and risen.

          With that in mind; regarding your thoughts about God and particularly, punishment…

          Yes, Jesus used a whip, He flipped some tables too; ultimately driving out extortionists and religious crooks who were making a profit by leveraging their presumed “position” between God and the people.

          But never once was punishment a part of this scenario. And the ultimate proof is revealed through Jesus on a cross when He included the extortionists and religious crooks in His prayer “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” God is Christ was reconciling all humanity not counting their sins against them…

          My friend, this is the only Jesus story you can pull on in all the Jesus stories to even pretend at punitive violence; and it’s a weak pretense that doesn’t hold up in light of the ultimate revelation of what took place at the cross.

          It also doesn’t hold up when considering how Jesus speaks about violence. He rebuked Peter’s violent act by saying, “If you live by the sword you die by the sword” and He rebuked his disciples when they wanted to call down fire down on a city saying that He had come “to save men’s lives not destroy them.” Then he doubled down letting them know their violent thoughts were counter to the very Spirit of God. Then Jesus revealed what the violent take it by force looks like by laying His life down…

          That said, you go on to note scripture you have interpreted as punitive and also challenge for a punitive perspective on hell.

          When Christ crucified is how you interpret scripture, you begin to discover that not every word in the bible is meant to reveal the nature of God; you can read the Old Testament and understand that much of it reveals the fallen nature of man and their broken punitive understanding of God.

          I don’t read about Sodom and Gomorrah or the Flood through a punitive lens. For me, those stories reveal the fractured understanding of the nature of God that Moses (the most likely writer) had at the time. I am not suggesting they are uninspired nor untrue, but they certainly aren’t the whole story. Jesus is the whole story. He is the Word made flesh…

          As to the bible, yes, I have many good bibles, many different interpretations, and paraphrases. I love them all, but none of them is my savior. The bible doesn’t love me, hasn’t saved me, didn’t die for me. The bible didn’t form me in my mother’s womb. The bible doesn’t know me, nor care for me.

          I can search scripture for everlasting life but I won’t find it there, Jesus is the Word. He is Life and where I come alive. I can certainly discover Him in scripture but to conflate the two as the same is to make the bible a god… so I don’t get caught up with interpretations.

          My friend, I think we have a different approach to scripture and the nature of God; and because of this, we are likely to disagree on some of the interpretations. But that doesn’t make us any less family.

          Thanks again for your thoughts, I hope my response was clear and also just as gracious.

          Reply

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