Who told you … being gay is among the greatest gifts from God?


Who told you that being gay was even a gift from God, let alone one of His greatest gifts?  Maybe you saw it in the news, from Tim Cook?  If that’s your source – have you considered who told him?  Since he mentions “God” with a capital G – there’s an assumption that the God Mr. Cook is talking about is the God of either the Jews, Christians, or Muslims (in order of the appearance of each religion).  If you’re making the same assumption – that it is the God of one of these three religions – “who told you” is an incredibly important question.  The picture to the left is of a Holy Book.  There’s intentionally no clear indication (hopefully) that it’s either an Old Testament, a New Testament, or a Qur’an.  The point is – whichever of these you get your beliefs about God – the answer to the  “who told you” question should always be supported by that book.

So that’s what we’re going to examine here.

 

Let me get one thing out of the way first – if you’re hoping to find a hate piece here – denouncing Tim Cook – sorry but that’s not going to happen.  There’s a couple reasons for that.  This article is going to address God’s point of view from all three religions – but since I’m Christian, my explanation will come from Jesus.

The first one comes from Matthew 7:1-6 –

Judging Others

Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 

Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Mt 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

Knowing that I can’t really get the plank out of my own eye for some things, it doesn’t seem right to try to remove the speck from Tim Cook’s eye.  Or from yours – the ready.  However – it does seem entirely appropriate to ask you the same questions that I ask myself in the process of trying to work on my plank.

The other source I draw upon for not judging others comes from John 8:1-11

Jn 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Jn 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?
Jn 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said.
Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

Again, not being in a position to caste the first stone – like the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, I choose not to go there.

For those that would like to hate – I highly recommend these words to you.

 

As to the question of whether it’s appropriate to ask the question of “who told you” – I believe the statement from Jesus Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.answers that.  I say this – not to judge a life style – but for the person living certain lifestyles – if you’re going to make a statement that purports to be from God – live that way because of what you think He said – and proclaim to others that your belief is from God – “who told you” that it was from God?

Jesus said Go now and leave your life of sin.  Much as we might like to be the decision makers of what is sinful and what isn’t – that’s not up to us.  It’s up to God.  Consider it this way.  I use Apple products – and Windows systems – and have an Android phone.  I really like Swype on my Android phone.  I wasn’t able to use it on my iPad until Apple allowed it.  Apple was the one who decided whether Swype would be availble or not.  It was my strong desire to be able to use Swype on the iPad – but I couldn’t until Apple said it was OK.  This was Apple’s system – they are the “god” of what will and won’t be allowed.  In the same way – our creator “God” – sets the rules for us.  As much as we may strongly desire that something is sinful – it’s not up to us.  It’s up to God.  And here Mr. Cook appears to be talking about the God of Abraham – the Gad that Jews, Christians and Muslims claim – then He’s the source.  From the article, it’s not clear whether he’s looking at it from the point of view of Jews, Christians, or Muslims.  So let’s look at all of them.

 

Before we go there – one more slight side trip.  No matter which of the three religions – the word at the top of this page is important to all of them:  “Forgiven”.

If we look at the Old Testament, the first instance of the word forgiven (in the NIV) comes in in Leviticus 4:13-21 –

Lev 4:13 “ ‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’S commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. 14 When they become aware of the sin they committed, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the Tent of Meeting. 15 The elders of the community are to lay their hands on the bull’s head before the LORD, and the bull shall be slaughtered before the LORD. 16 Then the anointed priest is to take some of the bull’s blood into the Tent of Meeting. 17 He shall dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it before the LORD seven times in front of the curtain. 18 He is to put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before the LORD in the Tent of Meeting. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 19 He shall remove all the fat from it and burn it on the altar, 20 and do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. 21 Then he shall take the bull outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull. This is the sin offering for the community.

Not that this paragraph is related to sin committed by the entire community.  Similar paragraphs follow for a leader of the community and a member of the community.  The phrase “will be forgiven” appears 10 times in Leviticus – the book of the Law.  It covers all the people – and it repeats the message 10 times – that they will be forgiven.

The first time it appears in the New Testament is where Jesus is teaching people how to pray – in Matthew 6:5-15 –

Prayer

Mt 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Mt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Mt 6:10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Mt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.
Mt 6:12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Mt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Again – this prayer is for everyone to say.  Again it says that we will be forgiven.  However – it adds an element for the person saying the prayer – as we also have forgiven our debtors.  Debts and debtors here doesn’t apply only to money or things owed.  It is also moral debts – sins.  Kind of ties in with those plank and stone issues from above.

In the Qur’an (published order) – the first instance of the word “forgive” is in Sura 2:58 –

[2:58] Recall that we said, “Enter this town, where you will find as many provisions as you like. Just enter the gate humbly, and treat the people nicely. We will then forgive your sins, and increase the reward for the pious.

We don’t have to go very far – and we find what will be a familiar incident to many people.  It’s in Genesis 19:1-29 –

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

Ge 19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
Ge 19:3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Ge 19:6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
Ge 19:9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
Ge 19:10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
Ge 19:12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
Ge 19:14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
Ge 19:15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
Ge 19:16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Ge 19:18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
Ge 19:21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar. )
Ge 19:23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Ge 19:27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
Ge 19:29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Quite simply – as much as we might like or want it do say something different – if this is the God one is referring to – being gay is not a gift from Him.

Lot says Ge 19:6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.
They tried to do it anyway.
24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.

There’s really no other way to read this.  It’s something that the God of the Old Testament punished – not something He gave as a gift.

We can go to the book of Leviticus – see what the law has to say about various types of forbidden sex.  Believe it or not – there’s more than just this one thing.  A lot more.  In fact – 29 verses of it in Leviticus 18!

Unlawful Sexual Relations

Lev 18:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
Lev 18:6 “ ‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.
Lev 18:7 “ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
Lev 18:8 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
Lev 18:9 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
Lev 18:10 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
Lev 18:11 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
Lev 18:12 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
Lev 18:13 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
Lev 18:14 “ ‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
Lev 18:15 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
Lev 18:16 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
Lev 18:17 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
Lev 18:18 “ ‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
Lev 18:19 “ ‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
Lev 18:20 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
Lev 18:21 “ ‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
Lev 18:22 “ ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
Lev 18:23 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.
Lev 18:24 “ ‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
Lev 18:29 “ ‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.’

Most of these would be agreed to by the vast majority of people.

This most certainly begs the question – if you or someone else is going to say that one of these is all of a sudden a gift from God – the God of the Old Testament –
who told you that it was true?  If you’re relying on Tim Cook – who told him?  And if you’re relying on anyone or anything other than the Old Testament to speak for the God of the Old Testament – who told them?  The commands above are sealed with the statement  I am the LORD your God – so that’s His view on the topic.  We have no right or authority to change that.  Having said that – remember the earlier references from Leviticus about forgiveness.  

 

Let’s move on to the New Testament.

The first time we see the topic is in the book of Romans 1:18-32.

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Ro 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Ro 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Ro 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Again – as much as we may want this to say something else – it doesn’t.  Failure to recognize and acknowledge God is what leads to what Paul writes are the “shameful lusts”.  In verse 25 he writes  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  If one is going to refer to being gay as a gift from God – we see it is not a gift from the God of the New Testament.  In fact it is the opposite – it is essentially God giving people what they want.  If they don’t want to recognize and acknowledge Him – the way He really is – not the way we want Him to be – then He gives us that desire – and all the things that come with it.  Again – there’s no condemnation from me here.  What I am doing is again asking the question “who told you” that being gay was a gift from God.  If the God of the New testament is the one Tim Cook is talking about – it’s clearly not a gift from Him.

You may notice that there are no direct references to the “gay” issue in the Gospels.  Some may say that this means God changed His mind – that Jesus someone made it OK by not referencing it.  However – Jesus also said – In Matthew 5:17-20 –

The Fulfillment of the Law

Mt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Once again – this says what it says.  In this short paragraph Jesus is saying that the law still stands.  Yes – there are a few small parts that He changed – such as the prohibition against eating certain types of foods.  But that was done explicitly. In fact – it had to be repeated 3 times, because it was so hard for a Jew to comprehend that a change would be made to the law.  But there was no such change for homosexual behavior.  We cannot change that.  We have no authority to change it – because God sets the rules for us, not the other way around. No matter how much we would like them to be something else – they are what they are.  And if this is the God we are going to call out to – we really should be aware of His rules.

As before – This begs the question – if you or someone else is going to say that one of these is all of a sudden a gift from God – the God of the New Testament –
who told you that it was true?  If you’re relying on Tim Cook – who told him?  And if you’re relying on anyone or anything other than the New Testament to speak for the God of the New Testament – who told them?  Paul was God’s apostle to the Gentiles (the Christians of today) – so that’s His view on the topic.  We have no right or authority to change that.  Having said that – remember the earlier references from what Jesus about forgiveness.  

 

Finally – let’s look at what the Qur’an has to say on the topic.

Both references in the Qur’an are from the same incident that we saw in Genesis –

Lot: Homosexuality
Condemned [7:80] Lot said to his people, “You commit such an abomination; no one in the world has done it before!
[7:81] “You practice sex with the men, instead of the women. Indeed, you are a transgressing people.”
[7:82] His people responded by saying, “Evict them from your town. They are people who wish to be pure.”
[7:83] Consequently, we saved him and his family, but not his wife; she was with the doomed.
[7:84] We showered them with a certain shower; note the consequences for the guilty.

You can see in [7:84] where it says “note the consequences for the guilty“.  This is one of many instances where the Qur’an references the Jewish Torah – which is the source of the Genesis reference above.  The Torah is the first 5 books of the Christian Old Testament.

Lot
[26:160]  The people of Lot disbelieved the messengers.
[26:161]  Their brother Lot said to them, “Would you not be righteous?
[26:162]  “I am an honest messenger to you.
[26:163]  “You shall reverence GOD, and obey me.
[26:164]  “I do not ask you for any wage; my wage comes only from the Lord of the universe.
[26:165]  “Do you have sex with the males, of all the people?
[26:166]  “You forsake the wives that your Lord has created for you! Indeed, you are transgressing people.”
[26:167]  They said, “Unless you refrain, O Lot, you will be banished.”
[26:168]  He said, “I deplore your actions.”
[26:169]  “My Lord, save me and my family from their works.”
[26:170]  We saved him and all his family.
[26:171]  But not the old woman; she was doomed.
[26:172]  We then destroyed the others.
[26:173]  We showered them with a miserable shower; what a terrible shower for those who had been warned!
[26:174]  This should be a lesson, but most people are not believers.
[26:175]  Most assuredly, your Lord is the Almighty, Most Merciful

Note the unfortunate and increasingly all too true conclusion in [26:174] This should be a lesson, but most people are not believers.

So – we see that all three religions agree on this one.

Now – it’s true that Tim Cook didn’t say being gay was a gift from Allah – but just in case – I’ve referenced all three Holy Books here.

We can see very clearly – none of these Holy Books even comes close to implying that being gay may be a gift from God.  Far from it – they all outright declare that it is a sin that will be punished by God.  All three of these Books also declare that God / Allah is forgiving.  All three Books also say that we should be forgiving – treat people kindly – or else we will not be forgiven.  It’s good to remember all of these.

 

So – what’s the point?

Tim Cook – or anyone else is free to make whatever choices they like.  Who am I – and who are you – to judge him?  Jesus made the answer to that pretty clear –

Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 

Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

And since none of us can remove all the planks from our own eyes – we can’t judge.

The thing is though – in his statement – Tim Cook referenced “God”.  The God of the religions mentioned here, presumably,  The Jewish people were called by God to be a light to the world – an example for others for how to live with God.  Christians have the same message.  With the Qur’an – it depends.  With the doctrine of abrogation – this is an item that is very much a topic of the times.  The extremists would say that everyone should convert – by force if necessary.  The moderate majority would point to verses that they claim have not been abrogated and are still in full force – that say something very different.   From Muslim.org, the following sequence of verses is put forth to answer the question of people who say things against what the Qur’an says –

[20:130]  Therefore, be patient in the face of their utterances, and praise and glorify your Lord before sunrise and before sunset. And during the night glorify Him, as well as at both ends of the day, that you may be happy

[33:48]  Do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites, disregard their insults, and put your trust in GOD; GOD suffices as an advocate

[4:140] He has instructed you in the scripture that: if you hear GOD’s revelations being mocked and ridiculed, you shall not sit with them, unless they delve into another subject. Otherwise, you will be as guilty as they are. GOD will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers together in Hell.

[7:198] When you invite them to the guidance, they do not hear. And you see them looking at you, but they do not see. [7:199] You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant.

So we have pretty much the same message from all of them.  Two are called to be a light – one is called to invite others to guidance.  For me as a Christian – one of the things that I must consider is See to it that no one misses the grace of God.   In this case – “no one” could be Tim Cook.  If course, I don’t know him and can;t tell him personally, plus it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to read this.  But “no one” also includes you – the person reading this right now.  The same question applies – “who told you“?

 

All of this begs one final question.  For Tim Cook – for you – do you want / expect to go to Heaven?  If yes – whose Heaven are you expecting to get into?  Do you know the “rules” – the entry requirements?

If you wanted to play a video game – would you read the rules first?  Or would you play and keep losing, until you figured it out the hard way – trying something different – losing over and over again until you finally won?  Honestly – I don’t play video games any more.  I used to get so into them that I’d forget to breath – and end up with a massive headache.  I can see me being one of those people who died while playing a game.  But anyway – when I did play – I’d always try without reading the rules – and definitely without reading the hints.  There’s one big difference between Heaven and a video game though.  (Actually more than one – but one that makes my point!)  In the video game – we can die over and over and over…  We just start the game over again and we’re good to go – or to die again.  But with Heaven – with life – we get one life to live.  (No – not the soap opera.)  We end our physical life one time – and one time only.  There’s no restart – no reboot – just an end – that usually comes with no warning.  During that one life – yes, we can be forgiven, and we can try to do better.  But there’s only one way to be forgiven and do better.  And that requires reading the manual – “The Book”.  The chances of randomly getting the right idea about God, forgiveness, and the path to Heaven right without reading “the manual” are slim and none (and as they say – Slim’s not home).  It’s not gonna happen.  You have to read “The Manual” – the one written by the “Creator” – the one written by, in the case of Heaven – God.

So yes – read “The Manual”.  Me being a Christian – I pray that you’ll read the Bible.  If that’s the Heaven you want to get into – read it and know what it says.  Because God wrote the rules – God determines the entrance policy.  We don’t get to write the rules – and we don’t get to make up new ones – and we don’t get to decide which ones we’ll follow and which ones we’ll ignore.  Yes – God forgives.  But He has rules too.  We saw earlier –

Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

Jesus forgave the woman.  He also said she should leave her life of sin.  If she returns to it – she’ll be forgiven again.  And told again to leave her life of sin.  And if she tries -and fails again – as long as she’s still physically alive – she’ll be forgiven again.

But if she doesn’t even try – if she says “No!” – can she realistically expect to be forgiven again?
Can she realistically expect to get into Heaven?

If those are the rules – does she even want to get into Heaven?

If the rules aren’t what we like – do we even want to get into Heaven?

Or – the other way around – If we want to get into Heaven – we better know the rules and like them.

We say we want to get to Heaven – expecting it to be like what we want – Heaven according to our rules.  But it isn’t going to be that way.  It’s God’s Heaven – not ours.

We need to ask ourselves – which one is more important?  Our definition of God – or His definition of Himself!  God loves us – just the way we are.  He wants us to love Him too – the way He is.  Is that too much to ask?  I don’t think so.

There’s a really good book on this topic – The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis.  When I got my electronic copy at Barnes & Noble, the reviewer said the book was about Why the gates of Hell are locked from the inside.  The premise – which I agree with, is whether we go to Heaven or not it dependent on us.  Based on the things we do here on earth – we may find out that we don’t like Heaven – and even if given the opportunity – we wouldn’t go there.  That makes you think!  My tag line at the top is

Have you thought about it – what comes next? I mean — as in the next life? It’s important. And, it lasts forever!

So think about it.  What comes next?  What do you want to come next?  Are you living like that’s what you want to come next?  Do you know the path to getting where you want to go next?  If you know where you want to go and that place is God’s Heaven – get a map – get a book – open the “manual” – read the Bible.  It’s God’s manual – God’s map – the way to get to God’s Heaven – and it is His way, not someone else’s way that will get you there.  BTW – I always say – don’t trust me either.  Follow those links to see what the Bible says – be sure I’m getting it right – read some more – pray – check it out.  It’s your future – and it lasts forever.

Then – when someone else tells you something different from what it says – different from what God says – ask them – “who told you“.

 

For the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

 

Someone’s at your door.

 

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