“The Most Fun You’ll Ever Make.” This is the slogan of Build-A-Bear Workshop, a popular brand found across malls, stadiums, and other locations throughout the United States. It’s an interactive experience that allows kids to create a fluffy friend.
The child must first choose from rows of plush for the right one just for them. Will their next friend be a bear? A dog? How about a unicorn? Or maybe even a Mickey or a Pikachu! Once they have made this critical decision, the child then gets to choose their friend’s voice, stuff them, and give them a heart and their first hug. They then get to dress their plush from a plethora of hats, jackets, bows, and boots, before naming them, and finally, taking their furry friend home. It’s a neat experience that allows a child to be involved in the creation of their new toy, and allows them to customize the toy just the way that they’d like it.
It’s fun getting to create, customize, and to make a product just the way you want it; however, are you guilty, of treating the Bible the same as a Build-A-Bear Workshop?
Think about it, how often do we read verses like Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” yet neglect verses like, Psalm 137:9, “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks?” Or how many times do we share the message of the grace, love, and mercy of our God, yet neglect to talk about His judgement or of the punishment of Hell? Or how many of us are guilty of creating a Jesus in our image: homeboy Jesus, over-tolerant Jesus, white Jesus, when we were made in his?
There are many parts of the Bible that are ignored or neglected, because they’re too violent, sexual, or too hard to swallow. I mean, we read from a book that commands us to, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-48). To love that coworker who annoys you, that kid that bullies you, that dictator that enslaves you, that man who killed your husband. It’s a harsh teaching, and one that can easily be ignored.
But what happens when I pick and choose what I want from the Bible? Will I go to Hell? As long as you believe that Jesus is Lord, probably not. Can your body function without a kidney, ears, and an arm? Yes, yet there are challenges that it must overcome, for doesn’t the body work better when it’s in unison? Or can your car function when a cylinder is misfiring, the defroster is out, and there’s an oil leak? Yes, but not as well.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Are their parts of the Bible that are hard to swallow? Yes. But how else are we to grow? Is it embarrassing to talk about sex? Yes. But it’s a part of life, and if the Bible, God’s holy Word, isn’t ashamed to talk about it, then neither should we. Is it hard to comprehend both God’s mercy and His judgement? Yes. but that’s part of not fully understanding an omnipotent being.
With this said, my challenge is this: Take your Bible, and read it. Not just the good, not just the bad, but the whole in context. See what God and His Word is trying to tell you. Embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly of Scripture. And be not ashamed of the Gospel.