But I have.
Well, ok, maybe I’ve never actually called God a liar, but I’ve acted like I thought He had lied to me and then treated Him like He had lied right to my face.
It occurred to me this morning that I was treating God as a liar when I was meeting with Him and I’m pretty sure He was whispering to me, "I love you son. I love you and I want you to know it." I had been reading a book the night before about pastors and churches, and was feeling in His presence that I had done some significant things not so well as a pastor. I was wishing for a redo and thinking quite clearly about how God simply could not love a guy like me who didn't do a stellar job as a pastor.
In other words, my past perceived sins and failings had convinced me that God couldn't love me and therefore, logically He didn’t really love me. God’s love for the likes of me had to be an illusion. A lie?
I’ve never actually called God a liar, but I’ve acted like I thought He had lied to me
Yet, I flipped over to I John 3:2 and reminded myself, "Beloved, now we are children of God...." Christians are called the “beloved of God.” That included me I’m sure. John 3:16 says that God loves all kinds of people in every ethnic category..."the world." I'm in there somewhere, and so are you. The Good News is that I am loved even though I am unholy in and of myself, and therefore not attractive to Him morally. But I am not loved in and of myself, I’m loved in Jesus, the One who took my curse on the cross and gave me His righteousness so that the Father would see me not as unholy but as holy. "By grace you have been saved…" Look, I’m an ordained minister and I can give you the entire order of salvation, an outline of Romans and hold my own in any discussion of soteriology. I know the verses. Theological degrees, though, don’t quiet the personal wrestling sometimes. Like today.
The whispering continued, "I love you, son, not because of how good or bad a pastor you were and you need to let that stuff go and focus on reality. And the reality is, I do love you. Deal with that.”
I admit it, I’ve been walking with Jesus a long time and I still desperately need to start each day knowing I'm loved or I will go out and try to earn my worth.
You know, to not accept that He loves me in spite of my specific current or past sins is really a great affront to Him. It is me saying that I am not worth His affections when He says I am. It is to say He cannot do something when in fact, He does. It is to call Him a faker, at best a flatterer (Oh, God is just being nice!). It is to deny that Christ's work was big enough for Him to pay for my sins to make me acceptable to the Father. When I don't accept that God loves me, truly and completely, it is to listen to Satan's whispers, not God's: "Pete, nice try. You get no do-over in life and you can't make up for shoddy work. Do you really think that God loves a person like you? Go out there today and earn it!"
Today I chose to listen to the whispers of my Father, to take by faith the glorious reality of God's complete love for me. Incomprehensible as it seems to me sometimes, God loves me. I chose to not dishonor Him today by denying what He says is true. By faith, I'm going to live out of the glorious, expensive love that He has shown toward me in Chris.
All of this is getting me pumped up to get to church on Sunday and worship.
I'm going to stop insinuating that God is a liar; it’s a fool’s errand. That's something impossible for God to do anyway.
God can love whomever He decides to love.
You and me…that’s Grace.