Let me begin with a question. Do we do nice things to each other just because? The answer is: Of Course!
What about people we don’t like? Or we know do not like us? What about people who mouth off about our life style, or attitudes, or values? What about forgiveness? How do we do that?
First of all, consider this. I know for a fact (because I have heard it said many times) that the reason many people do nice and good things is because it makes them feel good. I have also heard it said, –more than once—that a lot of people do nice things because it pleases God. The underlying assumption here is that we need to earn heaven by what we do — if that were even possible.
Here’s a thought. We don’t have to make or keep God happy. Don’t worry about earning heaven.
You may think me crazy (you would not be the first) but my faith tells me that when the God we cannot know joined us in our realm of experience as a real human being amongst real human beings, it was to bring heaven to earth right now. It is so easy to see God as judgmental and demanding, whose favor we have to win rather than the God who chose to leave wherever it is that God lives and come into our existence for the sole reason of connecting with us where we are. In the person of Jesus (according to the faith I adhere to) God was no longer limited to wherever God hides — that we have to wait until we die to enter. No, in the person of Jesus heaven and earth are united once and for all. In the person of Jesus God makes it clear that God wants in to where we are right now. You don’t have to wait until a later date.
Now here is the point. We do not deserve heaven. We cannot earn it either. Yet we have access to it right now. What a nice thing God chose to do for us. There is no way we deserve that presence even though it is what we seek. In Jesus God opened God’s arms and said “Enter relationship with me,” “I am with you,” “NOW”
So. Maybe we do “nice” things for others because God did them to us.
As if to say on the personal level, “God has given me heaven now by God’s presence with me in my experience.” “So I will be present to you, now, in your experience, whether I like you or not. I do to you what God has done to me.”
Stay tuned. We will take a look at forgiveness in two weeks.