Father God, Fear, Luke 15

wait ’til your Father gets home.

I don’t know if that was something you have ever been threatened with, the idea is that Dad is someone scary who you don’t want to be on the wrong side of.

Most of us at sometime in our lives have ended up stood outside the head-teachers office, that fearsome character who you want not to see at all costs.

Sometimes we have this idea of God.

On Sunday we had this demonstrated to us by getting a family to act out the reading of the prodigal son (actually acted out with a daughter)and when the story said about the Father ran too meet her, the girl screamed and ran in the opposite direction. She expected that the Father was angry and wanting to punish her.

This demonstrates the biggest problem humanity has, we run from God rather than running too him.

Our image of God is the angry parent or the scary head-teacher, yet Jesus paints God as the Running Father, that rushes to meet his Son. Jesus -full of grace and truth- says “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”, in other words God is like Jesus.

Jesus had authority and was pure and Holy and yet the unrighteous felt that they could come to him and be changed, Jesus brought hope and love, not fear and rejected.

The idea of God as a scary headteacher is a really unhelpful one, yes, we need to remember that God is God, he is mighty and powerful, but he is also “slow to anger and abounding in great love”.

Christians aren’t people who are scared by God, fear creates submission, no, instead it is “the love of Christ compels us”. God says his “perfect love drives out all fear”.

In fact the book of Hebrews reminds us we can approach the throne of grace with boldness by the blood of Jesus.

we don’t have to approach God on trembling knee because our sins have been covered over by Jesus and “see how the Father has lavished his love upon us that we might be called children of God”.

I remember reading a story of JFK junior coming into the Oval office at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and climbing on his dad’s lap, he had no qualifications or mandate to be there, simply he was a child of the president.

So, let’s draw back and see God not as the angry thunderbolt lobbing Victor Meldrew type, but rather let us discover afresh how John describes God in just three words “God -is- Love”.

Love that as George Herbert says “bids us welcome”, the “love of Christ compels us” and love that makes an end of all our sin. A love that draws us close not pushes us away.

So, let’s not hide behind the sofa from God, but instead run into his open arms of love.

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