Ghosting God – why being a good person won’t get you into heaven.

I’m a nice person… I’m not a murderer… I don’t cheat on my partner… I don’t steal… I donate to charity… if God is loving and forgiving, he’ll let me in… I don’t go around bashing Christians, they can have their religion but it’s not for me…

The story of creation in the Bible sets out God’s plan for the world and the way he planned to relate with humans. There were terms for the relationship including instructions on how we were to enjoy the world. Humans broke that relationship by disobeying God’s command, and the sin that was introduced placed a wedge between us and God.

Regardless of whether you think the 7 day creation was literal or a metaphor, or if the characters pre-Abraham were merely illustrative or historical – God created the world with a plan for us to be in a right relationship with him. When that relationship was broken, God presented a solution to fix the relationship – his son Jesus would die to pay atonement for sin. God reached out to try to mend the relationship. He made the first move, and left the ball in our court to respond – repent and receive forgiveness, or reject his offer and live the way we choose.

But I haven’t done anything to hurt God, why can’t he just love me? If God really cares, he’ll forgive me no matter what… right? If Jesus died and that fixed the relationship and paid the debt, I can just do whatever I want, right?

Think about the following situations: both have a relationship that gets damaged or broken off by one party while the other party still wants it to work. See if you can spot what is getting in the way.

Let’s say your partner cheats on you on a drunken night out, but you still want to make your relationship work with them if they can try to be loyal. You might scoff at the idea and think this character of “you” is naïve, but bear with me. If they cannot admit that they did anything wrong, and refuse the opportunity for forgiveness because they deny ever cheating on you – can that relationship work? I’m inclined to say no.

Try reversing the roles:

Say you find a match online dating and you get a conversation going. You have some back and forth, but eventually decide they’re not for you – maybe you have different values or different ideas about how much sacrifice is in a partnership. You say you’re not interested in that kind of relationship anymore, but you wish the best for them in the future. You move on with your life, looking for new partners and just living your life. You don’t bully them or call them names, you just try to peacefully leave. But they continue to reach out to you, certain that the relationship can work even after the break – so you just stop replying. You block them. Ghost them. Pretty clear rejection. So now the relationship is over, even though they are still interested.

Can you sort of see how these rejections are similar to what we have done to God? He set out rules for our relationship and although the relationship was meant to be good and exclusive and loyal, we broke the agreement like the cheating in the first scenario. When we say we’re good people, that we’re not murderers and deserve God’s love and forgiveness, we don’t own up to what we have done which was to reject God’s terms and make our own rules.

We decide we’re not interested in the kind of relationship God wants with us and we opt out – we’d rather govern our own lives than live under God’s law. God still loves us and wants a good relationship, so he provides a solution – opportunity for atonement in Jesus to demonstrate how much he cares. But if we just say that we’re not interested in that lifestyle, or we refuse to consider Christianity as an option, that’s ghosting God. So while we might not go around slandering Christians and trash-talking God, we have still personally rejected him. The “on the fence” box that so many people find themselves in, don’t see it as important enough to make a decision about and pick a side. They ghost God.

Where are you at in your relationship with Jesus? Do you refuse to consider him at all? Have you blocked him? Have you heard the message and decided you don’t like it? Ghosted him? Are you in denial that you have done anything to damage a relationship with him? Have you sought to understand what he wants for you and from you?

If Jesus is truly the Son of God and he died at Easter to give us another chance to mend our relationship with God, there are very high stakes consequences to consider.

4 thoughts on “Ghosting God – why being a good person won’t get you into heaven.

  1. Good answer. Though for me the hardest thing is putting yourself so fully in someone’s hands, knowing you can never pay them back. How can you seek forgiveness you know you haven’t earned? It pricks at the pride, and that is where many are most vulnerable.

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  2. An interesting question! Thanks for asking.
    I think that’s where a lot of people find themselves and a good representation of what sin can be like. We are the angry drunk a lot of the time, being disobedient to God, turning on him, disrespecting him, ignoring him. We might repent (turn away) from that lifestyle but know that inevitably we will continue in our nasty ways.
    Luckily God already knows that we won’t be able to keep that promise even if we try. That’s why he sends Jesus to die on our behalf, taking the punishment so that through grace, we can still have good relationship.

    The question of whether we should make the promise or leave is a tricky one because I think there are more choices than that. When it comes to God, we are called to admit our failures and seek forgiveness: admit that we have done wrong (abused alcohol), that we can’t change on our own but that we still want to live his way (still want a relationship with him).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Huh. Interesting metaphor. What about if you’re in, say, a relationship where you’re the metaphorical angry drunk? You might promise you’ll give up alcohol and change… But if at the back of your mind, you know that you won’t, should you make the promise? Or would it be kinder to simply leave?

    Liked by 1 person

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