An article submitted by Emmanuel Eshun looking at the charge that a non-violent God is too soft.
“Your picture of God makes him look too soft” is a phrase often used against the teaching about God’s non-violent use of power. We are often accused of making God look too weak and unjust, a namby-pamby, goody-goody God.
To the one who is accustomed to the display of might and power, the power of love alone looks too soft, weak and insufficient to maintain peace and law and order. We’re very familiar with these methods because it’s the only way of life we know. Without it, there will be chaos, anarchy, lawlessness and disorder. (Ironically, our world is on the verge of self-destruction because of our deterrent weapons of force).
Our mindset is “For justice sake, those who flout the rules, must be severely punished to deter others.”
Does this describe God’s kingdom and His mode of governance? Can you leave people free to obey or disobey, and still punish them for disobeying? Will that be freedom in the first place? We humans (and Satan, to whose methods of governance we’re accustomed) cannot maintain peace while leaving people free to choose their own way. Hence, we force people to fall in line. However, such methods only breed the need for more power and might to maintain law and order because obedience is not intrinsic but predicated upon extrinsic motivations.
All through this, God is trying to get men (and all the universe) to understand that power and might cannot produce the love and trust he wants from his subjects. And they cannot be totally free if they would not submit to the power of love alone.
The use of power over us is so ingrained into the human psyche, that whenever an alternate form of governance in which the ruling power is love but not force is advocated, the spontaneous cry is, “Too weak, too soft, too lenient–injustice.” Such people, in their subconscious minds, associate meekness with weakness.
But the cross of Christ demonstrates that even though God has unlimited might and power, it is the power of self-sacrificing love alone that can produce the freedom, safety, love and trust in all His intelligent creatures so that their obedience will be freely given. The cross demonstrates that not even God Himself can maintain law and order by might and still retain the absolute freedom of His intelligent creatures.
Because God values the freedom of His intelligent creatures above His own life, He demonstrates through the cross that only people who admire and prefer the power of love over the power of might will be safe to admit to heaven and safe to live with eternally. In heaven, there will be no police or soldier to enforce obedience. Everyone will obey because it is right, and for the safety and welfare of the other person whom I love more than myself, I will not even want to do evil.
This is why Jesus said only “the meek shall inherit the earth (Matt 5:5).” The meek represent those who have fallen in love with God’s meekness and have desired to live under such leadership. Notwithstanding, they understand that God possesses tremendous power, yet it is how He uses that power which has won their trust and admiration.
The meek can be safe to live with in heaven because, when entrusted with power, they will never ever use it to preserve their position or defend their lives even when their lives come under heavy threat. They’d rather die than use their power to hurt their neighbour. Such is true humility, true meekness but definitely not weakness. It is the source of most valuable strength – God’s own strength (Jer 9:23,24)
The still small voice of God is not too soft; it is the strongest power ever that can break loose the most hardened criminal. But for those to whom the power of love alone is weak, heaven is for the meek. No other power will be employed in God’s kingdom so you better begin acquainting yourself with such reality. For the kingdom of God begins on earth; it is within your heart.
See Elijah on Mt. Carmel. So long as there was fire and the sword, his hopes were alive. These absent, Elijah became depressed and afraid. When he heard the sound of the fire, earthquake, wind and storm, he became once again assured of God’s presence and favour. But God was not in any of those! After these, “a still small voice” and there God revealed Himself.
What was God trying to teach Elijah? God has power, yes. But he can’t obtain genuine love and trust by might and power. “Love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened.” This is the difference between the prince of light and the prince of darkness. Only those who understand God’s use of power are fit to be taken to heaven. For, heaven is for the meek!
Elijah learned His lesson, was translated to Heaven and he came to comfort the Almighty Creator through His agony and mistreatment from His own puny creatures!
Elijah’s lesson is also for us who would become end time anti-typical Elijah’s. If the love of God – the still small voice – alone cannot get you on your knees and break your pride, no other power could. For while the power of love breaks the hardened heart, the power of might only breaks the hardened muscle leaving the heart stiffened!