Saturday morning, after The Shack previewed in the theaters on Friday, a clergy friend of mine posted a comment asking people to stop “the hating” towards The Shack.
Apparently, in his Facebook feed, folks were saying that people who let this influence their theology, etc. were going to “burn in hell.” (There’s a lovely way to offer Christ to a world where more and more frequently people do not associate with any religion!)
In fact, who would want to be a part of religion after reading that kind of stuff on one of the most powerful social media platforms available today?
The Shack is a modern day parable. Perhaps we have forgotten that several thousand years ago Jesus spoke in parables.
His parables pointed to God, and what it meant to have a life that followed God.
They also gave us a picture of the heart of God.
And the religious haters that are bashing the movie and book are the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to live. Just sayin’ . . .
The religious leaders in Jesus’ time did not like him. He exercised a freedom to be with broken people and that disturbed them greatly. In fact, we can assume that they found it to be embarrassing!
Jesus didn’t listen to their rules, and the broken people listened intently to what he had to say.
And don’t forget the “sinners.” These were the lawbreaking drunkards, the prostitutes, and women who were loose with their sexuality, the financial swindlers, and those who were so shamed and beaten down they would never dare to look to God.
But – the ones who were “lost” were not the ones who were listening to Jesus. The “lost” were actually the religious people that couldn’t stop shunning him to hear the message that he shared.
Picture this, the religious robed leaders standing around, whispering about him. Read this from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10.
“By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, ‘He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.'”
In that culture, having a meal with someone was a sign of unity and acceptance! That is how you treat people that you cared for deeply and loved. That was how you treated your family!
So the bottom line for the religious leaders was that Jesus was treating THE BAD PEOPLE like family.
Jesus answered this accusation with three stories, about a father welcoming back his son who ran away and took his inheritance with him, a shepherd leaving 99 sheep to go find the one who was lost and a woman who lost one of her ten coins and searched carefully until she found it.
That’s the heart of God!
So all the condemnation that goes on in our society today . . . on both sides of the political spectrum and moral issues that we face, that is anything but looking like the heart of God.
Maybe that is something we should consider!