Intergalactic Mr. Rogers

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3 comments

by Chad Koons

“God is love, man! Jesus loves you! That’s the gospel of Jesus Christ!” He sipped his coffee while grinning like the Cheshire cat. His long hair, unkempt appearance, and deeply engraved smile lines could only mean one thing. This guy was one happy hippy. “Really?” I wondered aloud, “Is that what people need to hear, simply that Jesus loves them?” His frap wasn’t the only sickly sweet thing in Starbucks that day. It was painfully apparent to me; this man was spreading what I’ve come to call the dreaded Mr. Rogers gospel.

Ah, Mr. Rogers: that sweater wearing, mild-mannered, comforting man. To him, every day was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Mr. Rogers was the ultimate “nice guy,” wasn't he? He was never angry, he was always soft spoken, and he was about as fierce as a kitten.

This is how I saw God for a long time. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone; many people see God this way. “God loves me, He’s always there for me, He understands me.” Everything seems peaceful and okay, which, my friends, is a devastating misunderstanding of who God is. We have allowed the fullness of the Lord to become two-dimensional, and the Word right along with it. It too has been reduced to a positive, one-sided message of comfort akin to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Let me just say it:

God is not an Intergalactic Mr. Rogers and His Kingdom is not the Neighborhood.

This isn’t a show. We’re not all “okay.” This can no longer be the Land of Make Believe. We need to wake up and stop conveying the wrong message before it’s too late.

At the risk of being a voice crying out in the wilderness, I believe many of us have deceived ourselves and perhaps the world into a lethal, false sense of security. Are we overdue for a wake-up call, to reevaluate how we see the Lord and consequently how we present Him to the world?

Don’t get me wrong, God is very good, oh yes. But to believe that He is all warm fuzzies, peace, love, and rainbows is completely missing the mark. He is the lion AND the lamb. There is a gravely serious side to God, as well. Are we failing to project the full picture of who God is?

From what we read in Scripture:
God is fierce, an almighty warrior. (Exodus 15:3-8)
God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, ruling in power over all. (Revelation 19:16)
God is Holy, expecting His people to be holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
God is perfect love, which demands perfect discipline upon His people. (Hebrews 12:5-8)
God is without sin, commanding mankind to repent and sin no more. (Acts 17:30-31)
God is the Judge of all the earth, and His judgment is coming to all. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Do we understand this? How aware are we of God’s less cuddly side? Even in the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, the depiction of Jesus, “He’s not a tame lion." To be abundantly clear, God is not some cosmic nice guy who is universally tolerant and accepting of everything. The Lord is full faceted, holy, and perfect. He has definitive opinions, a firm will, rules, and commandments to be obeyed.

I am not encouraging us to become insensitive. Some will use the truth as a hammer; please don’t do that. We should love people, second greatest commandment understood, so we must be patient and loving as we make Jesus known. Work on that if you already know how to be gentle, humble, and sensitive before the Lord and before people, then this next part is for you. Let’s step out of our comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to share confrontational truth. Remember that some of the most transformative moments in your life have come through confrontation.

Don’t be afraid to offend. Jesus offended people all the time (mostly the religious leaders, funny enough). The Great Physician knew that medicine can taste bad.

Don’t be afraid of rejection. Jesus let people walk away. He was not insecure; God was still at work in their lives and Jesus knew it.

Don’t be afraid of the ensuing mess. Sometimes “go and sin no more” requires that we walk with someone through their struggles. This may not be easy for you or for them.

God is love, yes, but He is fierce love. He loves us enough to not let us remain as we are, lost in sin and bound in cycles of separation from His will. Do not be afraid, Church. Someone needs to see and hear from the fullness of God dwelling inside of you. Will you love them enough to show them the truth?

Come as you are, yes. Come, realizing that we come and become transformed by the power of God. Come and become conformed into the full image of Christ. Come to the Lord who redeems who you are, who calls you to be like Him.

“Jesus loves you” is not a full picture of the gospel. The love of God, however, through a well-balanced people, will absolutely change this world. Let Mr. Rogers stay on TV and let the full breadth of the God of the Universe live through you.

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Unknown said...

Phenomenal and true word! I was confronted with this in the military. People were confused that I could be a Christian and a warrior at the same time. It led to a great opportunity to show what a Christian really is. Like you said about Jesus, if He is a lion and a lamb, then we are too. The boldness, fierceness, valiancy, kingly authority, roar of a decree, and strength of a lion. With the love, grace, compassion, kindness, and peace of the lamb. This actually makes me think of a new understanding of the lion and the lamb dwelling together. I guess that is a picture of us.

Debby Hiester said...

The word "paradoxical" comes to mind in your blog. God is, in a sense a paradox. He possesses all of these opposing, conflicting traits, but at the same time, all of His traits work in concert with each other. Knowing that He works this way gives us the impetus to look at ourselves, examine our own traits and be more God-like.

Thank you for pointing out that today's world has watered down beliefs of who God is, based on the condition of the world. But knowing that God is the same today, tomorrow and forever discounts these "change God to my needs" beliefs.

We must remember that it is the human who needs to change, to come up higher to meet God-- not humans asking God to conform to how we want Him to be.

Gail Allen said...

Truth well stated, Chad. Thank you for sharing your insight in what is often confusing to to the world and turns them further away from our God. In His great love, He totally warns and instructs us all how to live and the consequences of not doing it His way. He longs to protect us from the evil one, but has given us a will with which we choose...All is not bliss on earth. There are harsh realities to face and only He knows how to help us navigate through them.