Not a day goes by when we hear some saying that pertains to so-called wisdom. "Seat Belts Save Lives", "Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right", "Low Fat", "Low Carb", "Easy Does It", "Jesus Saves"... the list goes on an on; while the more popular ones are bumper stickers. If you have ever been in a church, you've heard a lot more of them. Here is one, "It Take Two to Tango"; meaning that both partners are responsible for negative outcome in a relationship. Another version is "relationships are 50/50%" when they are really 100%/100%. And my favorite, "good intentions paved the road to Hell." Oh yes, and let's not forget the "money is the root of all evil."
I think in an effort to make things more understandable, some actual scriptures get changed while the original meaning stays intact. Other times well meaning folks try to make these sayings more palatable while they entire truth is circumvented. Here is a worldly example. In US courts we swear to tell the truth, right? Wrong. We swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The two are different. If we only had to tell the truth, we could tell part of the truth, or a combination of truth and lies. As long as we told some truth, then we would be within legal boundaries. However; in order to tell the whole truth and nothing but truth, that is what we have to do. I don't see any loopholes... well the 5th amendment. Therefore; the saying, "money is the root of all evil" is incorrect. The actual passage is, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." You see, it is the love of money that CAN be a root of evil. "All" is inclusive and "all kinds" is not; they are different things.
If you are one that thinks that the saying "Good intentions paved the road to Hell" is Biblical, head over to Crosswalk.com and try and find it. There are some similar verses, but none quite like that saying.
I think you can see my point. There are many ideas about God, spirituality and Christianity. Some of them are "nice" sentiments, but they don't carry any truth. I once met a man; a monk, and he said that everyone was going to heaven no matter what because of the sacrifice of Christ. I really liked the idea. John 3:16 says that God wills it. "shall not perish but have eternal life. When you take a closer look at the entire canon of scripture, you will find many verses about faith, Jesus being the only way and more. When you compare all of those, you'll see that because God wills salvation to all mankind, they do not receive it without faith in in Jesus.
As a father, I have children and I want the very best for them. I have taught them for years about certain aspects of life, in particular, Christianity. A couple of them are legally adults. It would be my will for them to work hard, get a good education and serve God all of their days. However; if they choose not to do those things I have taught them to do, I can't make them. That is how it is with God the Father. He can impose consequences and penalties for disobedience and sin, but He can't make you love Him. The problem with this analogy is that when my kids finish their lives, I won't be there to review it with them. As adults, there are some rules that I just can't enforce any longer. The penalty for sin, which God will enforce, will be there for eternity-- unless we choose Him.
I am sure there are some readers that have had bad experiences with Christianity. I know I have. There are others that have simply heard bad things about Christianity and believed it, but never checked it out for themselves. I am the only one in my family that ever been to Norway. I recommend it to my friends and family members. If I had gotten mugged there, I might not be so quick to say how great a place it was. The same is true with church and other Christian venues. You really should go and experience it for yourself. If you have and it was bad, I am sorry... keep trying! I think it is possible that you might give up long before God.
Are the benefits of loving and being loved by God worth it? The truth is yes.