The happiest place on earth?

January 29, 2007 at 4:35 pm 5 comments

welcome-to-california.JPGAlong with my brother and sister in law, Linda and I spent a day at one of the Disneyland Resorts called The California Adventure.  We had done Disneyland many times before so we thought we would visit this newer park.  It was very nice and typical of Disney projects in lots of ways.  We don’t care to go back but it was worth the day.

While we were there the Disney phrase kept going through my mind-the one that says… Disneyland…the happiest place on earth.  I certainly don’t doubt that it could be the happiest place on the planet because it is mostly about fantasy and good times so not being happy there, would be a shame.

The question I kept asking myself was this “why isn’t church the happiest place on earth?”  After all it is supposedly full of people whose destiny is certain and whose hope is placed in a God that is determined to love them no matter how they treat Him.

And yet most of the churches I know anything about are rarely happy places.  I often said when I was leading a church, “church should be fun” but mostly the response was that people didn’t think it should be or didn’t think it was.

Why aren’t most churches the happiest places on earth?  Why don’t we consider church to be fun?  (I need to make sure I say that the church we attend now seems happy and there are probably lots that I don’t know about that are happy places). 

Here is the answer I came to, for why churches are often not seen as happy places: Churches are often loaded up on the side of justice rather than mercy. 

When we sin, we want mercy but when someone else does it, we want justice.  By justice I mean, punishment for sin.  When someone does something wrong, they need to pay.  There needs to be justice.  If we let them get away with it then others will do it too or they will just do it again. Something must be done and it is up to us to do it.  That is justice.  You get the picture, I am sure. 

Mercy, on the other hand means nothing needs to be done.  No punishment will be required.  Mercy is undeserved, mercy is given without expectation.  Mercy is like a pardon.  You don’t deserve it because you are guilty, but you get it anyway.

If churches were mercy driven than they would be happy places, but they are often driven by the desire for justice and so they are not happy places.

When the sinner confesses and repents of their sin, God gives mercy.  The sacrifice of Jesus covers the sin and mercy is applied.  The repentant person lives in that mercy and is happy.

Churches have some how gotten to the place where justice is more important than mercy and until that is turned around, Disneyland will still be the happiest place on earth.

What can we bring to the Lord to make up for what we’ve done?  Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?  Should we offer him thousands of rams and tens of thousands of rivers of olive oil?  Would that please the Lord?  Should we sacrifice our first born children to pay for the sins of our souls?  Would that make him glad? (Micah 6:6-7)

Micah asks the question, is there anything we could do to satisfy the justice of God?  The answer comes in vs. 8.

No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

When we want mercy for others as badly as we want it for ourselves then the place we call church will be the happiest place on earth.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Be like Jesus or do what Jesus did? Do you believe in luck?

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Whiph  |  February 4, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Would we offer mercy more often rather than asking for justice if we believed, without a doubt, that we are dearly loved children, sitting in the lap of our Father with His loving arms holding us tightly?

  • 2. Doug Wright  |  January 30, 2007 at 8:37 am

    God loves us. He sent His son Jesus to pay what should be our judgement. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. I agree that many want to take the place of judge however this sometimes is a result of the view we have of God himself. Many of us derive our view of who God is based on human experience and don’t take the time to find God for how He wants us to view him. He intimitely knows us yet we vaguely know Him. Scripture says He even has the number of hairs on my head counted, He knows me that well. I’ve been a believer for many years, heard lots of sermons and went to many church functions. I’m still pressing myself to learn more about God and who He really is. I’m doing this on my own in a personal Bible study where I’m asking God to reveal Himself to me. As this continues it becomes easier to share the proper attitude and love towards others. Perhaps some of the teachers need to go back to the basics. As they teach and show the love of God, perhaps their constituents will follow and attitudes will change. Lets pray for it and search for Him.

  • 3. Ron Marrs  |  January 30, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Greg and Justin, nicely said. I hope to contribute to grace and mercy in my church.


  • 4. SLO  |  January 29, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with much of what has been said, and with the view of justice presented. The truly sad part, I think, is that for many justice will not come this side of heaven. For them, if there is no mercy, there is nothing.

  • 5. .justin  |  January 29, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    tyler johnson wrote the following quote on the wall of the night & day prayer room in shelton, that i am proud to have taken a shift in… what a freeing and refreshing experience that has been lately.

    in refernce to:
    luke 18:7-8
    7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    justice is not primarily about someone bad being punished.
    it is about restoration.
    justice is when something that is wrong is made right.
    justice is when what has been stolen is given back seven-fold.
    justice is the invasion of the Kingdom of GOD.
    justice is bodies healed, hurts mended, lives restored, and addictions broken.

    this quote has been very freeing for me lately.
    it seems to be the truth of the gospel.
    it actually sounds like good news!
    and as a church “leader” i want to commit to seeing justice proper manifested in people’s lives wherever i have that influence.
    i believe justice’s partners are mercy and compassion, grace and love.
    thank you for this post.

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