By Pastor Art
The 1962 film, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of my all-time favorites. Of course, It’s the cinematic version Harper Lee’s novel by the same name. There are too many great and inspiring themes and subthemes in that story to cover them all, but one of my favorites is the subplot that focuses on the person of Boo Radley. If you recall, Boo was someone who was wildly misunderstood. In fact, he was rarely, if ever, even seen. Turns out, though, that while most people thought Boo was a dangerous, scary, figure with a cursed and dark heart, he was actually just the opposite. Instead of kidnapping, slaughtering, and even eating children (the unfortunate but popular myth about this enigmatic figure) he was a rescuer of them. In the end, instead of a propensity to thwart justice, seems Boo was a champion of it.
In short, Boo Radley is the early 60s poster child for every goodhearted person who’s ever been misunderstood and/or misrepresented.
As I attempted to point out in last Sunday’s message, it’s sometimes pretty easy to do a “Boo Radley” on God – to assume things about him, conclude things based on what we’ve assumed, then broadcast those unfounded conclusions. Because we blindly (and mistakenly) assume that everything that happens in our life is directly controlled by God, and therefore, his will, God is sometimes blamed for some pretty terrible things. He’s often presented as having a fickle, hard, and twisted heart – one who “kidnaps, slaughters, and even eats his children” when, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. God’s heart is FOR his creation. It’s a generous, loving heart – one that’s far too busy rescuing and blessing his children to ever spend time and energy slapping them around. I mean, the things that make us cry, usually make HIM cry too. Such is the true “heart of God.”
For further reflection, here are some texts to contemplate as we “recalibrate our understanding” of the HEART OF GOD. As you read them, what are some things you notice about how he feels about his children?:
“YOUR MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT - LOVE WIDER THAN HORIZONS - STRONGER THAN ALL SIN. LORD YOUR KINDNESS LEADS US TO REPENTANCE - TO THE HEART OF GOD. YOUR HEART OH GOD … IS ALL I WANT.”
(Chorus from “Heart of God” – a Hillsong piece.)