“My God is a God of love; My God would not send anyone to hell!” –Oprah Winfrey
Okay Oprah lovers, forgive me in advance, but Oprah could not be more wrong with this opinion.
A few years ago I heard her make this comment after I had momentarily stopped on her show while channel surfing. The topic of the show is irrelevant; but her comment is.
While I appreciate her sentiment of wanting a loving God (which He is) and her best desires for people (which God shares), the God she is talking about simply doesn’t exist. While God is loving as she suggests; he is also perfectly just.
The God she holds to is a God fabricated in her own mind. She may as well have taken a piece of wood and carved her ideal image of God and worshipped it, because this is what she has done in her imagination.
We hear similar quotes and opinions about God, Jesus, and religion from the media and celebrities.
Specifically, everybody has an opinion of Jesus. Just do a quick Google search and you will find a plethora of ideas about Jesus. Everybody wants a Jesus who matches with their views and sentiments. They want a “user-friendly Jesus.” There are hundreds of “dueling” Jesuses out there.
A question – does Jesus give us the liberty to define who he is and what he is like? I don’t think so.
Do we get to do this with other personalities?
Can we fabricate a fictional image of, say:
- Abraham Lincoln?
- Mother Teresa?
- Ronald Reagan?
- Barbara Walters?
- Princess Kate Middleton?
Well, I guess we do have the vampire-slaying Abraham Lincoln. But you get the idea. We can’t just make up what we think these very real people were or are like.
Although people might disagree about their legacy and their personalities, we have to take what they’ve said about themselves and what they’ve done to determine who they are and what they are like. Then we can like them, hate them, or dismiss them; but we can’t make them into something they aren’t.
Jesus is no different. We do not have the liberty to “make Jesus in our own image.” The absolutely only place we know about him is from the New Testament. It is the only place that has any record about who he is, what is important to him, what his teachings are, what his personality is like, what his instructions are for his followers, etc.
To be honest about what Jesus is really like, we must look seriously at the source. And once we get a picture about him from the source, a decision has to be made about whether we will believe it or not – or believe in him or not. He can be accepted or he can be rejected. He can also be marginalized. The one thing that can’t be done, at least honestly, is to make him into something He is not – which is what Oprah has done.
If you want to find out who Jesus really is, jump into the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
And yes, Oprah, Jesus does love us and he is also the coming King and Judge.