To non-religious spiritual pursuers and my children (See ABOUT THIS SITE tab above or under Menu on phones to navigate site and Follow to receive future Posts)

More people may not talk about their relationship with their Creator because they feel pressured to impose their beliefs onto the listener even if not interested. People may be less inclined to open up about spiritual matters because certain spiritual folks seem to have an agenda.  They feel manipulated rather than loved. Parents are notorious for ulterior motives and kids are keen in recognizing. Some parents are going to help in their own way whether wanted or not.

Now, Jesus certainly had an agenda with religious pretenders and evil folks. The OT has it greatest warnings for those that were just plain evil such as those who sacrificed children to gods.  But, let’s be honest. God tolerates a lot of our actions not up to His standards, or I would be dead. And Jesus didn’t have much tolerance for religious pretenders, as the Pharisees raised Jesus’ dander the most. It was the Pharisees who orchestrated Jesus’ death, not the atheists. The Pharisees distorted and made religion self-serving rather than self-sacrificing. The Pharisees were in love with their power. We today may hold on to certain beliefs, not because they are in the best interest of all, but because they keep us employed. Jesus’ religion was to love your neighbor as yourself.

It is suggested Jesus’ agenda was to keep folks out of Hell. HELL NO! The popular concept of Hell, where God is involved in the endless torture of people, is not found in the Scriptures. God is not a sadistic torturer. Hell is not a translation but a substitution for certain Hebrew and Greek words. Hell was an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. The Greek word Gehenna in the NT wrongly translated as Hell was a proper noun and the name of a real valley nearby Jerusalem with a history. Hell is no more a translation of Gehenna than Atlanta is for Chicago.

Reading through any gospel, such as Luke, will reveal Jesus’ agenda was to simply love people in the moment. Jesus encouraged the poor and persecuted and gave them hope for their future.  Jesus healed but never seemed to close the deal with a hell and heaven speech (Luke 5). Jesus said to the sinful woman: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (7:50). When one asked “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (10:25), Jesus didn’t admonish one to get on their knees and pray for forgiveness. Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (10:25-27). Jesus knew that God can empower us to be the person we deep down desire to be. One saves their life by beginning to lose their life of unselfishness (9:23-26).

After Zacchaeus declared he wanted to do right by those he wronged, Jesus said: “Today salvation has come to this house….the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk. 19). Jesus didn’t tell Zacchaeus he must confess or be baptized. Jesus simply praised Zacchaeus for seeing his need to begin a journey that Jesus wanted for everyone. Salvation is healing, deliverance, or rescue on earth from a life of self-centeredness. How do we tell others about God if interested? God desires a relationship with us so we might become the person we deep down desire to be. We can simply encourage others to get to know and follow Jesus.

Followers’ agenda shouldn’t be any different than Jesus’. Look for those who seek a helping hand. Jesus had a sense when people needed to simply be encouraged, when they needed to be told to leave their life of sin, when they wanted to discuss specifics about a relationship with their Creator. Pray for the same wisdom. The truth is that we all have a relationship with our Creator. God loves everyone but nothing brings God more joy then when it is a two-way street, both for His pleasure and our joy as we live less selfishly. Engage in relationships only with the desire to love others as they wished to be loved.

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