Sometimes it seems to me as if we try to do things totally backwards. I remain absolutely convinced that we must know God, get a good feel for His nature and His tremendous love for us, before we tackle big theological questions. Know the Author and Finisher of our faith, even before we read His book.
That may well sound crazy, but it really isn’t. We teach kids about love, about relationship, before we begin to teach them about the bible. God is love and they have to know what love is before they can begin to know who God is. Hopefully, we keep teaching them about love and about the bible and it keeps building, precept upon precept.
I was kind of blessed as a kid, I spent about ten years alone talking to God, secretly building a relationship, without the church, without the bible, without other Christians. I did not feel blessed at the time, but I do now. That was a priceless gift. How I came to know Him so well, to grasp many scriptural principles, is one of God’s mysteries, one of those supernatural things that just cannot really be explained. I know God is real because God revealed Himself to me.
I was about 13 before I first saw a bible, but it was already familiar to me, I opened those pages and there He was. I recognized Him immediately. I devoured the entire bible in about 15 hours, absolutely delighted, the greatest love story every written, and exactly like I had imagined it.
Very few things tripped me up, gave me pause, made me hesitate, because I could see it through God’s eyes and God is love, God is unmerited favor, God’s intentions towards us are benevolent, kind. Of course, over the years I have since unwrapped many more layers as scripture has revealed itself to me more deeply.
I was recently reminded of one thing that tripped me up however, the sins of the fathers, generational curses, why sin could be passed down 3-4 generations. That was not the God I knew at all, because He is just and fair. He would never make a child suffer for the sins of a father. Or a great, great, grandma. So I wove some excuses, bad translation perhaps, maybe a proclamation against passing sin down to your offspring, maybe some legalistic thing limiting it to four generations, maybe a cultural or contextual piece I was missing….
Regardless I wasn’t swallowing it. God was good, that was not good, so I had a piece of cognitive dissonance going on. Somewhat comically, I had that cognitive dissonance going on while trying to wade through many family issues, multiple generational curses I couldn’t even see…… since I didn’t believe in them.
There’s something rather funny about explaining to God that such ideas were completely unacceptable to me, I refuse to believe in them, while walking right down the middle of them.
God is good, always. That’s the golden rule, so if something trips you up the error is always going to be on your end, a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation, or a bit of cognitive dissonance.
I came to get a good feel for the sins of the fathers, for generational curses and eventually realized it just is what it is. God isn’t doing it to be mean to us, we simply inherit a lot of baggage by virtue of our birth. Some people inherit more, some less, and some people spend half a life time trying to untangle ourselves. God is good though, He sets the captives free.
Sometimes atheists will swing by and yell at me, “God is horrible, God condones slavery, God makes children suffer the sins of the father.” Some of those atheists are some very good theologians, but they don’t know my Father. They know His Word, but they do not know the Author and Finisher of my faith. God is good, always.
If you miss that one foundational building block, that cornerstone, nothing else will ever make sense, and Christian or not, theologian or not, you will simply render His word completely incoherent. 1 John 4:8 tells us, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”