Monday, August 19, 2013

Is walking with Jesus like a friendship?

My Sunday paper has two Q&A entries from Billy Graham this week. Let's look at the first today, and the second tomorrow...

Walk with Jesus more than once a week

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You often say something in your column about learning to walk with God every day, but what does that mean? I go to church regularly, but I admit I often don’t even think about God during the week. — F.C. 
DEAR F.C.: I notice that you are married; what kind of marriage would you have if you saw your husband only one hour a week, and then didn’t even think about him the rest of the week? The idea is laughable because you and your husband love each other and are committed to each other, and you want to be with each other as much as possible.
And yet this is the way many people (perhaps including you) deal with God — as someone they occasionally visit, but not as a close friend they want to be with every day. But that is exactly what he wants to be — and once we discover this, it will change our lives. He loves us, and he wants us to love him in return. Jesus said, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

How is this possible? It is possible because Jesus Christ is not dead; He is alive! And when we repent of our sins and commit our lives to him, he comes to live within us by his Holy Spirit. From that moment on, we have a personal relationship with him that will never end.

But like any other relationship, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated. As we pray … as we read and hear the Bible … as we have fellowship with other believers, our faith is strengthened and we know Christ is with us. Don’t be satisfied with a once-a-week faith, but ask Christ to come into your heart and life today — and he will.

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 Comparing a relationship with God/Jesus to a marriage? Really? I feel that you really can't draw such a comparison since she can actually show her husbands existence and can see him. But what if we allow your absurd claim? When I was a believer, they often talked of the nuns being 'married to Christ'. I suppose if you want to view a relationship with Jesus like a marriage, that would be okay (theologically) if you're a woman. But what about a man, and I supposed to treat a relationship with Jesus as if we're in a gay marriage? I can tell you that most churches would have a HUGE problem with that proposition.

But what if FC were to treat her relationship with Christ the same as she treats her relationship with her husband? I can tell you that such a non-stop focus on Jesus will lead to a dramatic shortage of time. Something will have to suffer, and the marriage would probably be the biggest thing negatively impacted. So yes, follow Graham's advice and ruin your marriage by putting your husband second in your life (or equal to) Christ. Great plan...

Graham also compares a relationship with God to a relationship with a close friend. Again, he misses the mark. Friends like you for who you are, not how often you see them. Sure, you may like to see them more often than not, but even in good friendships, there reaches a point where too much, is too much. 

I have friends that I rarely see, yet when we get together, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. Then there are friends that I see more regularly. Are they better friends because I see them more? No, if regularity of seeing someone was how we judged degrees of friendship, we'd be forced to conclude that most people's best friend would be their boss. And I'm sure a lot of people will tell you that's not the case.

Again, what's important in a friendship is the interaction, and what you mean to one another. If you're good mates, you'll still get along if you get together once a week, once a month or once a year. Friendships are also a two way street. If one friend is doing all the work, the friendship will fade, and is really more of a case of one using the other, rather than a friendship. 

The God/Jesus relationship is more like the latter. It's all demand and command, but nothing real in return. That doesn't sound like a friendship to me. Furthermore, the friend comparison is even more absurd when you look at the 'consequence' of not being friends. In the regular world, if you want to be someones friend, but they don't feel the same way, what do you do? Well, you might be cross, or upset at first, but in the end, the final result is that you just aren't friends. You may actually even continue to like the person regardless, and just hope for a day when the other party feels the same as you.

But that's not what God does. Nope, instead a threat is made. "Be my 'friend' or I will burn and torture you forever and ever." That doesn't sound very friendly to me. And it is the exact opposite of the actions of someone who actually cares for the threatened party. No God doesn't want a friend, he wants a slave.

But Graham does say one thing right. Don't be satisfied with once a week faith... that's far too much. Instead, believe in what is verifiable and real. Believe in the live of your husband. Believe in the people who genuinely care for you, and would never threaten you in the ugly manner as God does. Go forth, and live a happy, and undeluded life.

-Brain Hulk

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