I often talk about how kind and loving Jesus is, because it's true. He's also powerful which I knew because I felt it all those years ago.
But there was one time I saw and felt another side of Him that made such an impression on my soul it affects how I move through life.
I've written about my many dreams and encounters with Jesus but not this one because it's not a fun or heartwarming.
It was after I became a believer but still harbored the hatred I had for believers and the church in my heart and expressed it online one day. That night, I don't remember if I was asleep or awake but I saw Yeshua again before me but this time His eyes were red like fire, actual flames burning rather than pupils and irises, and His face was set in a serious, stern, angry expression, it got me to the bone. Without speaking I felt how He felt about what I'd said. The next morning I immediately retracted the mean-spirited things.
He communicated so many things to me in that moment looking in a way I'd never seen- it reminded of two things- the way a mother's eyes flash at a child when they've crossed an invisible line in public and there will be hell to pay later, and the way a man defends his woman when she's being threatened in some way. If possible, it felt like both of those and more.
I knew then of His love for the church, to Him it's not a just a building or even collection of buildings but much more, is deep. It's something He loves fiercely and defends and protects fiercely.
This isn't to say someone can't express something they've been through or be honest about a bad thing going on- He hates corruption, abuse, and anything else evil in the church more than you do.
It's the slander, the mean-spirited slander or any other kind of attack that He also hates.
I've reflected on that interaction many times. There are people who think they can claim Jesus and reject His body and it's impossible. Just like God and His Word, they go together.
In that moment I also knew without a shadow of a doubt there are people who don't realize in hating His body, they are hating His heart. It's difficult to explain, but there is a line and I knew from His eyes that on that day, that final day, that if you are standing on the wrong side of it there is nothing He will be able to do to bring you over to Him.
I have never ever seen His eyes like that. I had felt His love before, I had felt His power before but not His absolute-ness. His severity. It's not something to risk anything to be on the wrong side of.
A few years ago I was on the TODAY show with Hoda & Jenna promoting Dear God and was asked, "Don't you believe there are many ways to God?" I said "No, only Jesus," and still hold to that. It's much more popular to lie or compromise but I've seen those eyes.
Yes, He is loving but if you do not choose Him- not the version of Him you've invented to make Him palatable, a collage of one's own philosophies- but the real, living Him, He cannot choose you in the end.
It would be easier to not say this, but I know it's true. I've asked God, "Why don't you just tell everyone?" and He said quickly, "I did." He gives us free will. People choose other things for many reasons. A sense of control. To fit in.
But all you have to do is ask. Humble your heart. There is a real King of heaven who knows you, loves you, and wants to call you His own.
"So I said:
'Woe is me, for I am undone. Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.'
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
'Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.'"