Relationship with God tempered with respect, awe

Tales from the front pew

Our daughter, Val, asked her father and me an interesting question the other evening. “Mom and Dad, do you think people today are too casual about God?”

“Why do you ask?” my husband, Bob, queried.

“Well, I was listening to a sermon yesterday and the preacher was talking about all the ways we disrespect God and how even Christians often don’t give him the reverence he’s due. I just wondered what you and mom thought,” she said.

I should note here that Val is a dedicated Christian; the type who has a strong desire to become closer to the Lord. Because of this, along with reading her Bible, Val spends a lot of time watching sermons on YouTube.

While she is very intelligent, she can also be a tad gullible, which means she has occasional difficulty separating the gold from the dross, the wheat from the chaff, and the inspired from the downright goofy, sermon-wise.

Val’s enthusiasm carries her away every so often. For example, there was her “women shall not adorn themselves” phase where she stopped purchasing and wearing makeup for a week — major cosmetic companies still refer to it as “The Great Beauty Depression of 2016.” There was her “women are to be silent in church” phase, when she would only smile and nod piously, and then there was her “all media is evil” phase, during which she called a moratorium on television and the internet, except for her YouTube preachers, that is.

I found this last phase particularly annoying because of the disapproving looks Val cast my way every time I sat in front of, as she referred to it, “the sin box.” I’m not overly sensitive, but having someone look at you with disappointment and shake her head really takes the fun out of a good “Everybody Loves Raymond” rerun.

Val’s occasional lack of spiritual discernment no doubt precipitated her father’s next question, “Which preacher have you been listening to, honey?”

Val’s answer appeared to satisfy Bob, although I must admit I’d never heard the name.

“He’s a good preacher,” Bob told her. “Very doctrinally sound.”

“Does that mean you agree with him?” she asked.

“About people today being too casual about the Lord? Yes, for the most part, I do,” Bob told her.

“Ahem,” I interjected. “In case anyone’s interested in what I think, I agree with your dad.” When it comes to spiritual matters Bob’s opinion usually ranks higher than mine. Oh well, that’s what I get for marrying a minister.

“Of course I care about what you think, Mom,” Val said politely.

“Thank you, dear. Personally, I get a little tired of hearing folks refer to God as ‘the Man Upstairs,’ ‘the Head Honcho’ or ‘the Big Kahuna,'” I told her. “And it seems to me people today think they can sin as much as they want and God will just look the other way. Yes, I think people take God way too casually.”

You know, God wants his children to have an intimate relationship with him, but it should be tempered with respect and awe. He is our father, but he is also our king.

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