One of the greatest frustrations I’ve experienced in ministering ABBA’s heart over the years, has been to see people’s lives being significantly touched, just for them to return to their religious bondage afterwards.
Sometimes it reminds me of JESUS’ parable about the sower and the seed (Matthew 13), and why there are a couple of reasons why some don’t move on in the freedom of their sonship, the chocking of the seed by the thorns comes particular to mind.
While in the parable the thorns represent ‘the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth’ I can’t help but think of JESUS’ statement that it is possible to make the word of God of no effect through our traditions (Mark 7:13). (Interestingly, the gatekeepers of religious traditions in JESUS’ time were all about ‘the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth’ – Luke 16:14, John 12: 43).
As I’ve written before, three of the main blockages, that hindered me to move forward in any significant way and fully lean into ABBA’s embrace, was a fear-filled view of the future, the idea that God had to punish JESUS, so He could be gracious to us, and the doctrine of everlasting punishment.
All of these ideas are rooted in the idea that the Divine Nature is primarily that of a judge, rather than that of the Loving Parent, as revealed in the person and teachings of JESUS - and as I’ve said all too often, the ABBA of JESUS has nothing in common with the imperialist and infernalist Lord of Constantinian Christendom.
Since my friends come from all kinds of backgrounds and traditions, I usually don’t talk about these issues in public, except when they come up in a private conversation – or if I have to address them, because they’ve become a blockage to someone receiving the Love they’ve longed for all their life.
Not being someone prone to controversy, I am usually trying to meet people where they are at – being convinced that the most important thing is that everyone has a revelation of ABBA’s heart for themselves – not a few people have come to me in secret (like Nicodemus came to JESUS) to express their honest questions, that arose as a result of their encounter with Divine Love.
Especially the issue of everlasting punishment is coming up a lot at the moment. The reason for this seems to me, that when Love meets our heart, we can no longer suppress the questions that we’ve stuffed in the back our minds, afraid of where they might lead us. (Hence, my conviction that the most important thing is for us all to experience that Love, before we try to define our experience. In fact, it is not uncommon, that our beliefs get all overthrown anyway after such an experience.)
The ABBA experience is the most important gift I’ve ever received from JESUS and I know that it can feel a lot like someone pressed the restart button on our life, as we are diving deeper into the well of Divine Love – and a lot of religious myths flying right out of the window in the process. (E. g. regarding the issue of ‘everlasting punishment,’ many preachers claim that JESUS spoke more about ‘hell’ than about heaven - and others have simply parroted this statement - while the truth is, that even if we still translate all the different Greek words in Scripture that have been traditionally translated as ‘hell’, it is simply not true – as a quick word count will reveal.)
Fact is, that the most of us don’t really want to think about ‘hell’ – and who can blame us? After all - the psychological trauma aside - just to bring up the question, can quickly lead to excommunication in certain circles. But one of the things that ABBA’s love does for us, is that it empowers us to be our true selves and to be no longer afraid of our questions. Actually, asking questions are the only way we will ever grow and receive new revelation.
All too often we stop at a certain point, unwilling to move forward, since we know very well what it cost us in the past – until we can no longer shake off the niggling in the back of our mind, or be quiet about what we’ve discovered a long time ago. The more I am sailing out under the wind of the freedom of ABBA’s love, the less I am worried about those who might not be happy with the direction I am being guided to take, but I can no longer watch folks getting entrapped again in the religious lies of the past that have nothing to do with the good news of JESUS and the revelation of ABBA’s love getting swallowed up by the traditions of men – and as the saying goes, ‘those who don’t want to understand you, won’t accept your explanations anyway, and those who love you, don’t really need them.’