Christianity--Prayers/Jesus and the Crucifixion
QUESTION: Dear Reverend,
I was hoping you would be able to please help me with a question I have about Jesus?
I don't know why but I feel guilty somebody had to go through pain for me, I'm talking about Jesus, how can I be thankful to him about that? He shouldn't have had to suffer for me, I didn't have to the choice to say yes or no to that.
Am I being irrational?
I think this is one of the reasons I can't pray because I feel like I'm talking to somebody who suffered for me, for something I've done wrong, and I find this difficult particularly when I've been raised to be a decent person so can't see what I've done wrong.
ANSWER: Hi Lisa, thanks for writing. Please dwell on these holy words. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." "All......." I'm sure you are a good person, but you and I fall in that category "All". So, since all have sinned, me, you...., perhaps we need to give this some thought. Now, we know that God is love and
Agape love is the greatest of all loves. It's totally unconditional. Think of when you hurt someone, or lied and carried a heavy burden for a very long time. Think of when you could have helped someone but you turned away and didn't show mercy. Maybe your attitude brought pain to others or your witness was just totally selfish. As a result, your pride and selfishness cost a lot of pain to others, and indeed, to you. Life and relationships can be very difficult. We don't always make the right choices. Sometimes when we know what the right thing to do is, we rebel and choose just the opposite. That's a sin! While others gave you your space, One stood beside you. One showed you mercy. One.....didn't bring judgment. One..... simply loved you unconditionally. One (God) never left you.
Let's take a quick look at the beginning..........Jesus is God.
Jesus took on the limitations of man and came to live and walk among us. He did that out of love. He was at the beginning of Creation. He saw that "all of creation" was good. He loved what He created! Think on that for a moment. All was good!! All was pure! Then he gave the 'gift' of free will. Another 'act' of unconditional love. He wanted us to 'choose' to believe in him. To choose to follow him. To choose to walk with Him,
True, at the beginning of all creation, there was no sin. A Savior wasn't needed. But when sin entered the world, when humankind exercised their 'free will"
and chose sin, creation was no longer pure. Yet, our Heavenly Father still loved us unconditionally . Only He could make things right. Only He could wipe out sin. So he 'chose' to lay down His life for you and me. He chose to bare our sins and save us ( his beloved creation). Now true, you had no choice in His decision at that time in history. And not only that, this was His 'personal' decision. What He wanted to do with his life was indeed His choice. But the point is, His choice was available to all who believed in him, and wanted to be His child/disciple, then and now.
So now, you do have a say! He offers you eternal life....and you can SAY......""Yes Lord, thank you. Bless you." or "No thank you Jesus." You see, dear one, Jesus doesn't force himself on anyone. Him choosing to 'save us' is a 'gift of unconditional love' - a gift! We always have the 'choice' to accept or reject a gift.
Right! Even if you reject his unconditional love, it changes nothing. For you see sweetheart, nothing will change His love for you - not even your worse sin or your rejection. He still provided for your future if you so choose to accept it. Jesus says, "My grace is sufficient for all your sins." Wow!
I hate that my flaws - my self-will and bad judgment, held Him on the cross. Like the Apostle Paul. I too feel I'm the worse of sinners. But my relationship with Jesus has made me understand how great a love He has for me and you - everybody. And He asks me, and all who believe in Him, to "love as He has loved me." How is that? Unconditionally. If I can grow into that perfection, I will indeed be greatly blessed - again. I now have my citizenship in heaven.....
because of His great love before I was ever born. He loved me even then, just like He loved you. Wow! What a Savior!!
So, sweet girl, you should have no problem praying to your Heavenly Father. How difficult is it to say thanks?
*Thanks for thinking of me while I was in my mothers womb.
*Thanks for loving me just as I am (warts and all).
*Thanks for understanding my difficult emotions.
*Thanks for being patient with me when I don't feel I need a Savior.
*When I want an 'eye for an eye', thanks for saving me from myself.
*Thanks for not giving me everything I ask for.
*Thanks for shining Light in my darkness.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son
That whosoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life.
God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through Him will be saved.
I trust these thoughts will bring light upon your question Lisa. I do thank you for writing. Know that my prayers are with you as you seek.
Jesus promises that if you seek, you will indeed fine. I am thankful for you as I am thankful for our Savior and Lord.
Reverend Ramona Stonecipher
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Reverend,
Thanks for replying.
I was not very happy when I wrote to you so didn't reply at that time. I apologise for the venting.
I did want to know your opinion on a couple of things if you don't mind me asking though.
Did God know that free will would make us sin? Do you think he knew what would happen next?
I may be sounding blasphemous but I just can't compute some of the Bible. I really struggle to understand and believe. Worship seems to me about somebody/entity who wants to be fawned over because they have an ego like a human being. Do you think we were created only to fail so that we had to beg God for forgiveness, like it was inevitable? It feels so unnatural. How can human beings be in the wrong 100% of the time? That means we can never win, can we? I don't know how to be sincere when I'm just angry a lot of the time.
I wonder why I think about these things so much when I know people who don't even care and their lives are often so much better than mine.
Also, what I've read about 'eternal life' it is not literal, that is, it only means life here on earth in 'knowing' God not so much the after life in heaven or hell.
I do find it hard to understand that you can have one person who believes in God but is not a good person (for want of a better word, say, a criminal) will be saved but another person who doesn't believe in God, but is a good person, in comparison to the bad person, will not be saved.
I really do appreciate what you have to say.
Hi Lisa! So good to hear from you again! It was ok that you had to vent - we all do at times.😇 I'll try and answer your questions, some more deeply than others. You see, we usually answer only one question, then people like me can go in great detail.😏 I like to teach. So if you want more or a certain answer, just write me again and I'll do my best to help you rightly divide the Word of Truth. Oh, before I go one, please keep the communication we shared about prayer. You will need to reread it again and again as you grow in your faith. You are what we call a 'baby Christian'...... and what a beautiful place that is to be!
You are searching........ And Jesus promises that "....if you search, you will find.'
And may I suggest, that you not be so hard on yourself. Look at Thomas, the disciple, known as the Doubter). Oh, how Jesus loved him. In fact Jesus went out of his way to show Thomas he no longer had to doubt anything. Now remember Lisa, Thomas had traveled three years with Jesus - Three Years!!!
He'd heard the same teachings, witnessed the same miracles....felt the same knot in his stomach when they faced people who threw stones at them (authorities who wanted hi and them dead)! Now, Jesus is dead. Now, Thomas wants to go and die with the one he loves so muc. (John 11:6).
Here's what actually happened next. Always know and remember Lisa, when Jesus says something - ANYTHING, he ALWAYS backs His word! He told his disciples that He would rise again!! He did!!! The other disciples saw Him!!! They scream, "We have seen the Lord!" Let me quote it for you (written by John, the eyewitness ). "Now Thomas , one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
Can you imagine Thomas's emotions at that moment? Read John 20:21 so you'll know what Jesus did to the disciples - it's important!
Now, here's what happened to Thomas right then..... Remember, nothing is making sense.... Nothing. In frustration, he says," Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." Can you identify with Thomas's doubly Lisa? He was fighting keeping the bitterness out of his voice. Why were his friends not grieving? What's the matter with them? Why aren't they afraid? Thomas was about to learn
Privately and personally, that Jesus BACKS EVERYTHING HE SAYS. Friday's later Jesus, though the doors were locked, John tells us that "Jesus came and stood among them..." Then Jesus turned and said to Tomas,"Put your finger here, see my hands....Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting
And believe." "My Lord, my God!." Replied Thomas. What a moment Lisa! ...... Dwell on that please. Try to comprehend how very much Jesus, the Christ of God, loved Thomas. He knew he had doubts even though he had witnessed Jesus' compassion and love.......this 'one' , this precious individual, was so important to Jesus, that He came to Tomas personally.
Now Lisa, I want you to read the following scripture. It's very important to YOU and everybody in the twenty- first century. He's talking about US now!
"Then Jesus told Thomas,"Because you have seen me, you have believed; BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN.... AND YET HAVE BELIEVED."
I share this with you Lisa, so you will understand that you can trust Jesus' teachings. Tou can trust Jesus completely! Jesus is God!
God is all- knowing. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. That is, God has power without limit, wisdom without limit, and is everywhere present at ALL times. He is the source of all that exists in the visible and the invisible realms. Understand Lisa, our Lord God has ordained the past, He controls the present, and he will shape the future according to his will and plan.
In regard to your question, "Did God know that free will would make us sin?" Of course. He is all-knowing. He gave the Ten Commandments to guide us into living a holy life. That didn't suffice . Look at unbelievers today! They tear down every monument they can! They don't want to bow to anybody - even our laws!
With. Free will, you must act responsibly. You make choices - responsible choices. We are not puppets Lisa. We choose to believe - choose to follow, choose to "love as He has loved us." We're FREE to do that! God doesn't 'pull a string' and make us do what he desires. You would want your boyfriend to say he loves you because HE DOES....., not because you pulled his string and made him nod yes! Get it 😜
So yes, God knew we could choose the good or the bad. But he also knew we could educate ourselves and He tells us to "Ask for wisdom..., and He will give it more abundantly than we ask." He says " you don't have because you don't ask or you ask for the wrong reason". He also says, "I am with you always, even to the end." Sooooooooo Lisa, since God always backs his word, these facts should make you feel better and more secure. By the way, like I said, God knew
Humanity would sin so He took on the limitations of man, walked among us without sin, and laid down his life for us (Cross) putting our sin on Him. This was his choice. He loved us...... Still does.
You have to understand love Lisa to understand how and why our Creator laid down his life for us. He loved all of his creation! He didn't stop loving us just because we turned our back on him or doubted him. Nor has he stopped lovingly us unconditionally if we don't understand everything. He is love. That doesn't change. God is who he is.
You wonder why you think about these things........., I think it's wonderful! You're seeking your Heavenly Father! You are open to learning. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you are 'sealed ' with the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is your Teacher and Guide. Use Him. Get your answers. Be content to take baby steps.... and learn. We're all still learning. It's OK! And by the way, there is a Heaven and a Hell. There is an Eternity!!!! You've got a lot of research to do sweet girl. It's all good.💒😇
People are people Lisa. Not everybody wants to learn, some want to be spoon fed, others sit in a pew and hear nothing.... and there are those who have a 'relationship' with Jesus, and they can't learn enough. I hope that's you.
Rev. Ramona Stonecipher