Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Grace & Gods Love for The "Bad People" of The Bible

I grew up in church.

     I was just your typical church kid, who knew all the Bible stories, Sunday school songs and John 3:16 by heart. I remember clearly sitting in class on Sunday mornings, in a circle around the Sunday School teacher, as she moved the little people over the felt board, and told the stories of all the Heroes of the Bible. 

    David, Noah, Paul, Esther, Peter.

     I remember desperately wanting to be like them and marveling at their bravery, faith and trust in God. It was all so fun. These stories were full of colorful, bright and lovely places, the characters were amazing and everything was so comfy cozy and Veggie Tale-ish.

    But as I grew older and started reading the Bible for my self, I started to second guess the way these stories were taught to me. Take the story of Noah for example. Learning about this specific story in Sunday School, all the photographs the teacher held up were of rainbows, friendly animals, a beautiful ocean, and Noah and his family looking all happy because they were on that boat, trusting God. Everything looked so...enjoyable? 

     But when you actually look at the Bible it, says, “The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.” Genesis 6:5-6. God was angry. Does that sound very enjoyable? He was going to destroy all of the people on earth except for Noah and his family. Do you think Noah would really be smiling? Can you really just imagine what the Flood might have been like? Children screaming for their mothers as they suffocated under the rushing water. People's skulls getting split open by rocks as the ocean tossed them around. All the mangled corpses and body parts that would have surfaced after the flood has ceased. These people would have been Noah's neighbors, his friends, his distant family, and to see them die.....? This was not the pretty picture I saw in Sunday school. These images make me shudder. Reality is, the stories of the Bible aren't G rated, and neither are the people. In fact, Noah was a drunkard. That was a huge weakness for him. He couldn't stay sober, yet God still used him to save all of humanity from being completely wiped out. 

    And what about David? He was the bravest of the brave. In Sunday School we learned that he practiced his harp for an hour a day like any 'picture perfect' child would, he always obeyed, he watched his families sheep without being nagged about it by his dad, he killed a giant, a bear, a lion. He was the ultimate hero. But again, as I started to read these stories for myself, I began to see that these so called “heroes” weren't exactly who I thought they were. I found that David got a woman pregnant, then to cover up killed her husband. What the heck? David? No way! Are you sure? 

    I was shocked to find that Adam was a coward and didn't defend his wife at all, Noah was drunk, Lot got his daughters pregnant and Rahab was a prostitute...These people were not who I thought they were, and as I read, I found that parts of the Bible are full of lying, deception, murder and rape. I became super uncomfortable as I read these “un-sanitized” stories of the Bible on my own, and all the details I was spared of as a kid. I had no idea.

    You're probably asking, what the whole point of this post is anyways. No, its not to bash Sunday School, the way my teachers taught me or the Bible. Not at all. But the point I am trying to make is that I realized that even the “Great Heroes” of the Bible had their problems. Everyone does. In my Sunday School years I wasn't able to fully grasp some of the content the Bible possesses, and I understand why all the “fluffy” photos depicted the stories that way because of my age then, but I understand now. Now, the Bible stories seeme closer to real life. I connect with them because I sin. I might have not committed anything as drastic as murder, (even thought the Bible says all sin is equal), but I lie, I cheat, I don't listen to my parents, I get angry when I shouldn't, I don't treat my mom the right way all the time. I related to their problems, because they were sinners just like me, and I understand. 

    I often think about if someone were to hook up a projector screen to my brain. If everyone could see every thought I have, every bad word I think, everything I do, watch or listen to. It probably wouldn't be very pretty. But the thing is....God sees EVERYTHING already. He does have that “projector screen” connected to our brains. He knows every thought. And that's scary. He sees who we truly are. He sees the real us, and not the person we act like, every Sunday at church. But the amazing thing is, The King of the Universe sees all that awful stuff inside us, and he still says“ I wanna save those people.” Talk about genuine, true love right there. 

    I guess I have realized that the people in those Bible stories were just like every one else. Peter denied Jesus, Paul persecuted Christians. Moses disobeyed. We all are “bad” people. But that's why we need grace. 

    You see, we look at David and think “why would you do that with Bathsheba? You know whats gonna happen right? I definitely wouldn't do that if I were him!” But really? We all have our own problems. Our own lusts. Our own selfish desires. Our own times of spiritual weakness. Our own struggles with certain sins. Who are we to judge David? But the difference between David and any other person on the planet, is that David confessed. He was humble. He knew he was wrong and he actually cried over his sins asking God to forgive him. He knew the importance of being earnest, and God recognized that, and gave him grace. God actually said that David was the man after His own heart. That's pretty special. 

    So you see, these “heroes of the Bible” weren't perfect. They were just human like everyone else. Sinful, deceitful, lying humans in need of grace, that humbled themselves before God. And that's not easy. Humbleness really takes a lot of strength. Its hard to admit that you're wrong. Its so easy to shove our sins under our proverbial “bed” and make our outward selves look perfect to others while letting our sin and lust fester on the inside. These men and women were truly heroes because they realized that they couldn't do it on their own and that they needed a Savior. They were strong enough to say, “God please forgive me”, and they realized it wasn't all about them. It was all about Him. 

    And that's the thing. 

    Davids story wasn't all about David. It was about Jesus.
    The woman at the well's story wasn't all about her. It was about Jesus.
    Paul's story isn't all about Paul. Its about Jesus. 

    These people were just ordinary sinners, but with God in them, they were heroes. The Bible is full of stories of redemption and grace, and love and compassion. Jesus is really amazing, and so gracious to us. For all those times I've fallen away from Him and said “I don't need you God” , He has always been there for me anyways. He never fails and He never gives up on us. 



  1. Thank you Clara. This was such a powerful post.

    ~ Pip

    1. Thanks, Pip! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Beautiful words there. So many people -even my age- haven't read their bibles enough to even notice that these 'heroes' have done so many things wrong. But that's such an important part of the story because it's all because of GOD. HE was the one who makes them 'heroes' and without him they're nothing.

    This was a great post, Clara. Good job. <33

    1. Yesss what you said is sooo true!

  3. I love this so much. It's soo true ♥ Beautifully written

  4. Oh man oh man. How grateful I am for God's grace. I'm thankful people have gone through this before us and that these stories manifest God's mercy and goodness to us in the form of history. It just adds to his immense faithfulness. Thanks for sharing this <3

  5. What a powerful post, Clara. One of my life verses, 1 Cor. 15:10, says this: "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." Without Christ, we are nothing. The steadfast love of our LORD is so utterly humbling and amazing, isn't it?

  6. Oh YES amen!!!!!!! There's so much truth! God doesn't use perfect people and I think we revere the Bible people as perfect when really they were messed-up, broken people whom God used. It's proof that God uses any situation and anyone and I love being reminded of that!

  7. wow this is so powerful and full of so much truth! I think it's hard to remember the bible as being more than a story sometimes, especially growing up in sunday school, but these are real events that happened to real people with real life issues. wow the grace and love of God is so good, is it not?

  8. OH MY WORD. Clara. YES. Is the Bible God's book? YES. Is it perfect? Some may disagree, but I say yes. Did he use perfect people to line its pages? NO. And that's where the grace of God comes in. Because of his grace, those broken people became instruments of God, and this same grace can do the same to us. God is so good.