Is God a Pushover?

Some disciples in Belgrade imagine a God who lets everything go, tolerates everything. To them, He is a patsy, a pushover, the teacher who never sends anyone to the principal, the principal who repeatedly says, “If you hit your teacher one more time, I’m going to expel you!”, and never does.

These disciples get their imaginings from therapeutic TV, Scott Peck, Hallmark cards, and weak-sauce Protestantism where rules are not rules and nothing is too bad for God to forgive. In fact, they believe He forgives instantly. In further fact, He doesn’t need to forgive because that would require for Him to have disapproved of the sin. He can’t forgive, that would be judgmental! For these disciples, He loves His children, no matter what. He doesn’t exclude, punish, or set limits. It’s always “maybe”, “Do what you want; I don’t care.”

To such disciples, the term “unconditional love” means there is no disapprobation. Then there can be no chastisement and no guidance. There is no “way”, just every person’s way, each equally valid. Each person defines true goodness. There is no objective standard. Goodness is what that person wants.

What kind of success would a group home manager, charged with a bunch of willful teens have managing in this way? The World is a group home and we are its teens.

What the disciples imagine is a Judge that never passes a verdict. They do not crave a Just Judge. They want a down comforter. They like friends, enablers, and authorities who make excuses for them, or at least buy their excuses.

Can God be both infinitely loving and stern? He can, because he sent His Son. The standards for obtaining His presence are crystal clear. He does not yield on them.

Would you like a place with any less exacting standards?

Imagining a God who is a pushover is to deny God. But Justice must be precise. Though challenging, we would not like to live in a sea of self-indulgence, presided over by a God who indulges our whims, sins and loutishness. That would be sick.

These disciples are unfamiliar with thorough explanations of how God can both be precise and demanding, yet loving. Many scriptural hours would instruct them. Maybe they’ve never heard of 2 Nephi 2 and 9, Alma 34 and 42, of Mosiah 2-6.

The greatest comfort is to know that we will be judged by the Just Judge, with a surrogate at our side whose perfection covers for our mistakes, (I John 4:10), on the conditions of our repentance and broken-hearted, whole-hearted striving to meet the immutable standard. There is no comfort in imagining a flaky Judge.