In my childhood (which occurred about 1940 - 1950) I often heard adults say to me or other children phrases like these:
'God is watching you.'
'God will get you for that.'
'You're making God angry.'
and so on.
If the intent was to instill the 'Fear of the Lord' in children, it more or less was effective ... for a time. This was a period, at least in the Roman Catholic culture, when God's primary interest was in punishing children for their behaviors. If God wasn't up to it, the religious authorities and/or parents and teachers filled in for Him.
The most egregious sins in childhood consisted of saying prohibited words, hurting others, looking at nudity, stealing, and lying. Lying was not a sin when the phone rang and mom or dad said, "Tell them I'm not here." In virtually all other instances a lie was a sin.
There were venial sins for which, if not confessed and absolved by a priest, would send the offender to burn in Purgatory. There were also mortal sins which if still in the soul at death meant a direct sentence to hell.
Mortal sins included such activities as playing hooky from Sunday mass, eating meat on Friday while the church called it a sin, touching any other person's private parts, etc.
Around the age of thirteen or fourteen I realized I would spend most of eternity, meaning a very long time, if not in hell then in purgatory. I concluded I could not get to heaven so what I did mattered not.
I was not the only adolescent to think this way. The result in the 1950s was an outbreak of what was termed Juvenile Delinquency. The fear of God was established in us and suppressed else we could not have a good time.
Being thoroughly imbued with doctrine, I decided the only way into heaven for me was a deathbed "perfect act of contrition" as taught by the nuns and clergy in school.
The perfect act of contrition was defined as being one in which the only motivation for seeking forgiveness was a desire to apologize to God for any offense given. If any thought of avoiding hell crept in, it was not perfect and therefore would not do the job.
Many years later I experienced a personal encounter with Christ. I was suddenly desirous of knowing what was in the Bible. I read it voraciously. I listened to preachers on radio. I went to churches. I immersed myself in learning how to be saved.
In my thirty ninth year I received Jesus as my Savior and nothing has been the same since. With salvation came the Holy Spirit to teach and guide me. He is still at it ... day in and day out ... always right here within me whenever I need Him.
The most important thing He has shown me is that God's love for humankind is limitless. He does not condemn the world; the world condemns itself through unbelief.
Is God out to get you?
Indeed He is out to get you but not in the way implied by the statement.
God is out to get you to come to Him and have eternal happiness in the paradise He has planned for the saved believers.
While it is true that unbelievers will forever be tormented in hell, that is not God's desire. It is a consequence of unbelief. Let us explore this idea of believing and not believing.
You see stars in the heavens.
Do you believe they are really there?
Why or why not? You have never touched one. You have been taught to believe they are infernos billions of miles away. Have you measured the distance to a star? Or around the earth?
Basically, everything you think you know is based on your belief that what someone told you is reality, or information you received through your human senses. You accept, as truth, pronouncements from teachers, government, scientists and all sorts of professionals who you believe shoukd know.
With few exceptions, humans will believe almost anything except the fundamental real truth. The reason is simple. If a person acknowledges within himself that God is real and the Supreme Authority, then that person knows he is accountable to God.
Humans do not want to be accountable. They do not want to go to prison for admitted crimes so they lie and hope to avoid imprisonment. They don't want to be killed or murdered so the sensible ones avoid situations in which they can foresee their death is likely.
Self preservation is a powerful motivator. To stay alive most people will do almost anything, including cannibalize others. Yet, most humans will not surrender to God because of fear of what might happen to them.
Self preservation ends at the skin or fur of an animal or the feather coat of a bird, etc. Every living things will try to escape immediate death. We humans know we are born with a terminal illness ... a limited natural life span. We know our bodies will perish and rot.
What is overlooked is that the true human being is a composite of flesh and spirit. The spirt is the real person bound to his flesh body. The saved, though they die, will live again eternally. The unsaved will perish in what is called the second death.
Some will say, "Okay. So after I die the second time, I'll be simply dead forever and know nothing." According to scripture this is not how it works. We talked about distant stars. The stars are whatever they are no matter what you choose to believe about them.
So it is in God's spiritual reality. If you believe there is a grocery store at a certain location you can go there and enter the store, if it exists. You may be misinformed about it but go there nevertheless and discover for yourself it is not there. Or, if you believe it is not there, you will not attempt to go there because there is no point.
Simply put, if you are convinced there is not a store in a certain place because the 'world' sources have told you there is not a store there, you will believe them. Now suppose there actually is a store there. What then?
If you do not believe in God and eternal life, you will not go there. God does not 'punish' unbelievers. They punish themselves. There are only two modes of existence after the end of our cosmos; with God and without God.
God entreats you to come where He is. He advertises more heavily than any grocery chain or auto dealer. His invitation is given millions of times every hour by saved people trying to spread the Good News of eternal life through Christ in God's kingdom.
His Kingdom is real; more real than anything on earth or in the skies. Think it through. Everything dies. Everything. Even stars die. Nothing is permanent in our universe. This universe came from somewhere. Its source is the underlying true reality. It is God the Creator and owner of all that is.
Recognizing this is not enough. To be saved you must ask for salvation. If you want to but are not sure how to do it, please click the web link to a page that will help you. How Be Saved
God help you.
God bless you
God save you.
God is out to GET you to come HOME.
Written by © Wayne Hepburn, August 2012