Right in the Centre - How does God want us to live (and love)


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The following two key verses are often quoted and with good reason. They clearly illustrate what our response should be toward God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NIV)” “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV).” Here’s why they matter.

People are born, they live and they die. Most people, albeit sometimes reluctantly, come to this conclusion. Debate can go on forever about faith, beliefs and traditions but the born, live and die statement is irrefutable regardless of nationality, culture or history. 

The Romans 3:23 statement doesn’t make sense if a person doesn’t believe in God. The fact that a person may or may not believe in God proves to me that we have a free choice in life over many things. God made us with a free choice, otherwise He would have made us to be robots. We have a free will and can control most of the decisions in life.

We can’t choose where we are born nor can we choose our parents. For the first few months of our lives, our choices are pretty limited but by the age of one year a child starts to very strongly exercise some choices. Anyone who has held a child when they want to be held by someone else will know what I mean.

In later years, choices become wider in number and variety. Granted, some choices are limited, but most people have more choices in life than they can handle. I daresay, the choices a person makes are usually more in number and in variety than any choices that are forced upon a person. Note, I say usually, not always. Accidents, disease and other peoples’ actions can have some devastating effects on one’s life but usually the largest effects come from personal choices. All this talk about choices leads me to believe that God made us with a free will and we usually are able and usually willing to exercise that free will.

In exercising our free will we tend to think about how we should live, what we should do and not do. Growing up, we see examples of what works out well and what doesn’t. Parents, siblings, friends and community members, who are also making their free will choices, affect us in what choices we make. We develop ideas about favourite toys, favourite foods, where we want to live, what we want to do to support of life choices and who we want to love.

Most of us look to a faith or belief system to figure out what is right and what is wrong. As far as human behaviour goes, most faith systems are very similar. In spite of bitter wars and disagreements, Judaism, Islam and Christianity are surprisingly similar. Other faith systems have definite similarities. All are good in their own right but not all answer the question about what happens after we are born, live and die. The clearest answer, in my view, comes from Christianity.

The first Bible statement illustrates that all people fall short of God’s glory, God’s ideals. The second verse tells us what to do about that shortfall. It is a time honoured process and in line with the free will concept, we are free to buy into it or not.

I have written many lines about what I think are correct choices in life and which are incorrect and even harmful. But what I say or have said, may or may not be correct. Again, people have a free choice and will exercise that choice. 

In rural Canada, and maybe in other places as well, attendance in places of worship is down. That is sad and it would do everyone good to get involved in a place of worship and learning. We can go and listen and learn. We can switch to other places, the choice is ours, but worshipping God and learning how to live and love others can be a very good thing. Just one word of warning, places of worship and the people may not be perfect. I guess that should be obvious, but also remember, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And, one last thing, if you let someone get between you and God, they may be closer to God than you are.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.