If God is love, why do Christians think He is unhappy with them so much of the time?
I am sitting across from a lovely girlfriend. A dear friend. Who also happens to be a Christian and who knows the hidden dangers and obstacles, blessings and joys that this chosen life entails. And we are hard at it, talking about that stuff which really matters. God. Church. Family. Struggles. Pain. Hurt.
And as we share, she confides in me that she thinks God is judging her. And she proceeds to tell me why. And I think to myself, “If God is love, why do we (conservative or not so much…) Christians always come back to this place? That God is angry with us for doing/saying/omitting x,y, and z? And thus, He is judging us. Why is that? That we think every wrong turn in our lives warrants judgment? That life is about attaining holiness more than it is about exuding grace? About judgement than it is about kindness? That the wrong in our lives trumps the right? That life is about guilt rather than celebrating victory?
That love is conditional? That our life is about love plus something, or else it is wrong…?
Why? Why is this so?
I walk, days later, through snow on a Sunday afternoon, and I think about how so much of my life has been consumed with feelings of guilt, with feeling bad and inadequate. Feeling that I am not good enough. And I think how no preacher has ever had to tell me how to feel guilty. Sinful. Wrong. That all came naturally to me. Like breathing in cold, frosty air, only to then exhale that same heat from that same hidden place. As natural as breathing.
Oh, I know how it is to feel less than. I know what it is to fall short. To sin. And think that God is out to get me for it. No one has to tell me how to feel bad.
I just want someone to teach me, to show me how to feel loved. What does love mean? Is it this? Love as by a Father. As by a Daddy- Father. A Papa. Whose love is unconditional and endless and full of perfect acceptance. No matter what. Who is forgiving. Full of grace and mercy. Who isn’t holding out past wrongs over my head like a banner. Who knows my heart and its desire to please and seek the right. The good. Who loves me anyway. And loves me more.
Love. I think it is this very thing. And I want to know more of that God who loves. And I think there might be other Christians out there who echo the same.
Because truth be told, I don’t think we really understand God’s capacity for love. It is His defining feature. He is LOVE. He is love in every other aspect of his character. And He can do nothing but love. And Christians need never feel that God sees them in any other light than through His precious, encompassing, all-surrounding loving kindness.
He loves us with a wild and fearless love which we will never fully come to understand. He loves. With love as an ideal Daddy loves His children. With love… as a Farmer loves his crop and animals. With love, as an Entrepreneur loves his work. As a Mother loves her babies. With love. As a Father loved His Son.
And it is that LOVE that holds us. That will not let us go. And it is that LOVE that saves us from believing any longer, that we are sinful, less thans. We are able to accept it, this love. Because it is for us to have. This freedom-love. Love, enabling us to believe we are able. We are worthwhile. We are beautiful. We are valuable. We are more than just sinners. We are children of a Father who LOVES US. It is His Daddy- love that makes us so. Beloved children.
And I will no longer let my feelings tell me otherwise.
He loves me. Jesus loves me. Yes, He certainly does.