I think we’ve all enjoyed the simple pleasure of cutting and pasting text, whether it is for a PowerPoint, a paper, or even when preparing for a sermon. When we are working on our projects, the cut and paste/copy and paste shortcuts speed up the process significantly. However, I have recently come to notice something in Christian circles: we’ve taken that same shortcut and applied it to God and to the Word of God. Of course we may not go through the gospels and rip out all the miracles as Thomas Jefferson did, but we do no better when we emphasize one part of God’s character over another. When we only point to scriptures that admire and ignore the ones that admonish, we create a “Cut & Paste God.” One that only loves and does not judge, that only gives and never takes away, that only encourages and never disciplines. We have made a God that does not challenge, does not convict, does not change us at all.
The dangers of doing this are too many to count but among them, are the disillusioning of entire generations and the unrealistic expectations of what challenges we may face when we become a disciple of Jesus Christ. When Paul addressed the elders of the Ephesian church, he told them, “…I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” But what does it mean to declare the whole counsel of God? What does it mean as followers of Christ, as pastors, as elders, as leaders in our families, to express the entirety of God’s character, to not shy away from discussing the hard topics, the difficult subjects we sometimes come across in reading scripture?
For me, it means that the God who wiped out entire people groups in the Old Testament (men, women, children, etc.), is the same God who sent His son to die for our sins because He “so loved the world.” It means that I will remain faithful to the truth of the gospel and not be ashamed that my God has proclaimed that homosexuality is a sin, and that if those who openly live in that sin do not repent they will be deserving of His judgment. It means that I will be quick to remind others that the bible talks more about suffering for Christ than it does about escaping it. And it means that I will speak against the Health and Wealth gospel till my last and dying breath. It means that I will tell others that, my God is sovereign and good and that I will be okay with not understanding that unwavering truth.
Domesticating our God doesn’t save everyone, it saves no one. God is a hard pill to swallow and we will never understand Him this side of eternity, but we must never make Him less than who He is because we are afraid of offending someone. I make no excuses for my God. He is dangerous, frightening, terrifying, mysterious, wrathful. He is also loving, compassionate, merciful, understanding, and full of grace.
You see, I’m okay with having a God that doesn’t make sense to me. I’m okay with having a God that I don’t get, that I can’t wrap my mind around. The alternative is having a God that, quite frankly, looks and acts just like me.
To elaborate, a band called As Cities Burn came out with a song called “Clouds” a while back. When I first listened to it, this is one of the lines that really stuck out to me:
So here is the question: Have you created a Cut & Paste God? Does your God fit inside your head? Does your God challenge you? Does your God change the way you think about this world, about yourself, about others? Or is your God looking back at you when you look in the mirror?