By Miriam Rossow
You may have read my last post, Dancing with Jesus, and gotten the idea that my faith was or is one full of judgement, sadness, or even guilt. Maybe that is the experience you have had with your faith.
I would say my faith or the way I have always experienced or thought about God was one of peace and love. I always experienced God as a loving father. This may be because of the church I was at, but honestly I don’t remember the specific teachings. I remember how I felt, included and welcome. I may have had this experience of God because of the parents that I had at home. They were both very loving and kind. They were generous and servants. It may be that I experience God this way because of my personality. I tend to be laid back and focus on the good in people and the situation. It may be that my life in particular was not full of major heartache or struggle. Our experiences with Jesus are connected to our experiences in life with family, friends, and situations.
If you had a strained relationship with your parents or your peers or if it seemed life had it out for you then it is hard to imagine and experience God as someone who cares, protects, and loves. If you felt pressure to do your best and succeed without any allotment for failure then it is hard to experience God as someone who can love when you fail. If guilt was the way you were encouraged to do things then it is easy to see why your experience of God would be full of rules and guilt. And this saddens my heart.
I remember a friend telling me that she could not go into a church without feeling guilt and shame. She did not want to step inside a church because it was so painful to hear how much she had failed and needed Jesus to cover over her sins. For my friend hearing that Jesus covered her with Himself no longer was a word of Gospel, rather she heard it as a word of failure. She heard that she was not worth anything.
For my friend hearing that Jesus covered her with Himself no longer was a word of Gospel, rather she heard it as a word of failure. She heard that she was not worth anything.
When I heard her express this my heart broke. I was sad for her and for others who had this experience. I was saddened that my friend was experiencing Jesus and the gospel and the gift of forgiveness as law. She was only seeing and feeling judgement and not love.
She of course knows she is not perfect. She would not disagree with the doctrine that we are sinful and even our good deeds are as filthy rags without Jesus death and resurrection covering us. She would simply say that maybe we as the church had focused so much on these truths that we missed the truth that we are created by God and precious in His sight. She was experiencing forgiveness but had lost delight. She had grace and no love.
She was experiencing forgiveness but had lost delight. She had grace and no love.
I desperately want people to know that their God, Creator, and Father loves them dearly. My heart longs for people to experience God and His Church not as a judge and rule maker but as a parent who wants the best for them and would do anything to protect them from evil. Please do not hear me say we need to accept all behavior and look past things people are doing. A loving parent would not ignore the bad behaviors of their children and neither does God. A loving parent values and treasures their child and would do anything to get them back if they were lost. God does the same for us. His creation has been taken and He has bought it back out of love for what He made.
If you experience the beautiful gospel that your sins are covered as a law that says you are not worthy, I am sorry. This is not the truth Jesus wants you to hear. He wants to reshape your belief to be more like His belief that you are loved. You are valued, a treasured possession and you are, although not perfect because of the fallen world, covered with Jesus, forgiven and bought back.
You are valued, a treasured possession and you are, although not perfect because of the fallen world, covered with Jesus, forgiven and bought back.
God wants you to know that you are so valued that He is not OK to leave you in the in the hands of the devil and this fallen world. He has given up everything to bring you home, including His Son, Jesus. Jesus will come again and in that day we will understand His love and our value perfectly.
Jesus wants you to experience God as someone who would choose you because they are overjoyed with who you are. God delights in you, His marvelous creation, as someone to be saved and bought back, no matter the price.