Grumpy.  Or critical, demanding.  Words people use to describe God.

Loads of people don’t perceive God as enjoying humans.  Because of misunderstandings, false teachings, our own hurts, He is repeatedly criticized.

Somehow we got the idea that God loves to punish people.  And the word “judge” seems really scary to us.   He is Judge, but I think most of us have been misinformed about what this means for us as His sons and daughters.  It’s not supposed to be so negative.  When we picture Him as the Punisher—adopting this as His sole identity– we have misinterpreted what is written about Him in the Bible.

Black-Prodigal-1Many people are not sure God ever thinks of them at all.  Or, if He does, He is surely angry and disappointed.

Not true.  It’s just not who He is.  In Exodus 34:6-7, we find that God says this about Himself, “Merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving.”  How is it we believe something less about Him?

I spent years living as if He daily rejected me.  At the same time I wanted to believe He liked me.  Along the way, my heart and mind agreed with negative, mistaken views of God.  Now I understand that I had accepted others’ opinions instead of reading the Bible myself.

I even thought I was loving God well by trying to “get it right.”  Every time I messed up I berated myself, thinking this is what He wanted.  I ran into all kinds of trouble, partly because I didn’t realize how kind God can be.

And then He began to reveal His affection to me, for me.  He wanted me to know that He loves me no matter what.  I found this “I like you” in the Bible:  I have loved you with a love that does not stop or becomes smaller.  With tender compassion I draw you to Me (Jeremiah 31:3).  May His “I like you” and “I love you” become more real to your heart and mind this week.

© Sharon Gonzales. February 4, 2015

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