To or From
For many of us “Christians” how we come to understand God may not be as important as where we actually start from. As a parent relates to their child, and for healthy families, the parents love their child unconditionally from birth. They correct and guide the child from that place in their hearts! Their love is given freely at the moment of creation and the child is loved by the parents from that point on. Now look at it from the other side. Many of us, from the point of view as a child, are still trying to make our parents “proud” or to get them to accept us or to love us. We are trying to get “to” them! The entire perspective changes when we realize that we really come “from” them and there is no cause to move toward them.
If a parent asks us to do something we can either see this as something we need to do to keep our relationship whole in order to keep their love and acceptance of us, or we can see our relationship as already whole knowing that our parent is asking us out of their love for us. So we come to relate to God a lot like this. Many think we are striving to get “to” God. That is to say we are ever striving to be good disciples and follow the way of Jesus so as to gain worth in God’s eyes and in doing so also gain self-worth. That is the exact opposite of the way we should view our relationship with God. God first speaks in scriptures to his child Jesus: “You are beloved; with you I am well pleased”. Notice God says this at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, before Jesus takes any actions in scripture! Why? Because God is saying we are worthy of God’s love right from the start! We are worthy without doing anything, this is what we come to call grace. You can easily see this same dynamic played out in a parent’s love for a child as soon as it enters the world.
From this perspective things change dramatically. We now act, not as one craving acceptance, but as one already loved. When we act “from” this love everything changes. We have nothing to prove! Acting from this perspective, living our life becomes one of trust and joy. Things will of course happen and we all will stray from the path in one way or another. We’ll certainly stumble and fall along the way. But instead of God being in front of us, judging our actions and worth, God actually stands behind us; awaiting our return into His arms for the love and support we need to get up and go forward once again. Isn’t this what a good parent does! Why would we expect anything less from a loving creator who wants to be called Abba (translated in Hebrew as a term of endearment - Daddy)?
We keep searching for God, searching for love, searching for approval…when these things have already been granted to us! We have only to know that God has always been right there with us all along. Repent, in Greek - metanoia, means to change ones’ mind or to turn around. When we can’t see God one literally just needs to turn around! Change your perspective, change your heart. The only thing that can ever separate us from God’s love is our own limited perspective.
So may you all come to believe that you are wholly loved and that you were loved before you were even born – before you took a single action. You are loved as a human “being” (created in the makers own image – a child of God) not as a human “doing”. Come to know that you will be loved forever by the Parent who created you. As the Apostle Paul confirms to the early churches struggling themselves for God’s favor and approval, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
What else needs to be said!? What else needs to be done!?
Your faithful servant,