May 7, 2017
Consoling Loved Ones
1. Why doesn't God always intervene?
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our
likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the
sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures
that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill
the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky
and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole
earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for
food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the
creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of
life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening,
and there was morning—the sixth day.
Why doesn’t God always intervene? Because He gives us the choice to lean on him or not in life. He didn’t create us for death and suffering. He created us for relationship. Pain and death is in the world as a result of our sin.
God doesn't cause or even allow bad things to happen every time they happen, becuase sin entered the world, we have to live with the conseuences of that sin.
2. If God knew there would be so many people who don't know Him and have to suffer for eternity, why did he bother with making them anyway?
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
God created us for relationship… He created us as something that He could pour his love into and something that would love him back.
Love - an intense feeling of deep affection. So, if it’s not something that they freely give, its not real love.
When we talk about relationship with God and we talk about salvation and heaven vs hell, we need to realize that God wasn’t really even faced with a dilemma of “do I make everyone to have relationship with me or not”, the very act of creating us for a loving relationship with him means that logically it HAS to be a choice.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
GOD IS LOVE so if LOVE IS His very nature, giving us free will wasn’t a choice that God made, it’s an extension of who HE IS.
“Why does God let people who don't know Jesus die, when He knows exactly how to get them to know Him? Jesus appeared before Saul in the street and blinded him, so that he would change, but so many people live and die without ever feeling like they need Jesus?”
The idea of this question comes down to the debate between Free Will and Predestination.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
People who believe in the doctrine of Predestination:
- Believe God predetermined who would go to heaven (the elect) and who would spend eternity in hell.
- Each person ultimately has no choice in accepting or rejecting salvation through Christ.
(usually called Calvinism or Reformed Theology)
People who believe in the doctrine of Free Will:
- Believe when presented with the facts of God’s plan for salvation that every individual person has a choice to make, to either accept or reject God’s gift of salvation.
- God desires that every person accept His gift.
We KNOW that God gives us free will to choose
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
We KNOW that God wants us to choose him
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
We KNOW that God sent Jesus to pay the price for EVERYONE’s sin
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
People who think that predestination is about God picking who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell are wrong.
People that think that Free Will means that He is completely hands off are wrong too.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
3. How do you console friends/family dealing with loss of a loved one in a godly way without saying ridiculous cheesy things about "God needing them with him more than you do" that aren't actually true?
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:18
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
We are supposed to encourage people in their grief, but there are often some very dumb things that we say that don't line up with the Bible:
- It’s okay, God’s refining you
- It’s probably for the best
- Maybe there is sin in your life, and that’s why this is happening to you
- God is preparing you for something better
- God needed another angel in heaven
- God never gives you more than you can handle
- God needed them more than you do
- God must have something really great planned for your life if this happened
- I really understand what you’re going through, my dog died too
If the person who died knew Christ, it really changes the tone of how you comfort them. We don’t grieve like everyone else. Anyone that doesn’t know Jesus really has no hope.
Some appropriate things you can say to a family member of someone who knew Jesus:
- It’s an encouragement that your loved one is now with Jesus
- If it’s after a time of struggle or illness, there is a comfort in knowing there is no more pain for them
- It’s okay to feel pain and loss even though we know they’re with Jesus
If they don’t know Jesus, it’s hard because there’s really no hope. You can comfort them, love them, and celebrate the life they did live. You can also encourage them to turn to God in their time of need. Ultimately, just be there for them.
- I will stop blaming God for the ramifications of my sin.
- I will not be mad at God for who accepts salvation and who doesn’t. I will just be grateful that we have the option.
- I will spend time planning out how to console people that are grieving.
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