Questions and lessons learned
I read a blog entry tonight of someone who has questions. It reminded me of some lessons learned. There was a time not so very long ago that I wondered if God was real. I’d been part of a group that had a very wrong concept of God. They saw Him as punisher and judge, holy and righteous, yes, but also angry and vengeful, full of wrath and ready to strike anyone who disobeyed.
We were a small group, but we believed we had “THE Truth”. My pastor called himself and was called “the Man of God” and “the Bishop”. I was deeply hurt, not just by one but by two of these “Men of God”. One threw me out based on what he “prophesied” about me. Spectral evidence. The other accepted the false accusations a few placed against me. The harder I tried to please him and appease them, the worse things got. Slowly, some things became clearer to me:
God isn’t afraid of questions, and He’s not afraid of being questioned. There is nothing wrong with questioning God. Sometimes there’s more wrong with not asking the questions to begin with (think Job-who asked, and his ‘comforters’-who didn’t).
I’m living for God, not for people. It doesn’t matter what people say or do or who they think they are, if they act without love, God says He doesn’t even know them (1 Jn 4:7-8).
It may not be my place to decide whether they’re acting in love or not. It’s my place to stand firm in the knowledge that God is love, that He sent His Son to die for me, and that YES, He loves me. Very, very much. (Jn 3:16)
God isn’t the one who did those things to me. People did them. And yes, people have free will. They had a choice in Eden, and they have choices today. God doesn’t choose for bad things to happen to us. They are part of life. He gives us a choice of doing right or wrong. But more, He gives us a choice of how to respond to the rights and wrongs done to us, and when wrong is done, offers to recreate it into something good. (Rom 8:28)
If a person has “THE Truth” they will not surround themselves with lies, but will speak the truth in love. (Eph 4:15)
Love is action. And love really does do all those things in 1 Cor 13. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I am obligated to love even my worst enemies. But I am not obligated to forgive and forget the wrongs of those who aren’t sorry for their wrongs against me. (Would you believe there’s not one verse in the Bible that says “forgive and forget”?)
It is possible to forgive even those who don’t deserve forgiveness. (Lk 23:34)
My foundation is Christ. Not doctrine or creed or building or personality. Always Jesus. (1 Cor 3:11)
It’s not about what we do, it’s about what Jesus has already done. It’s not that what we do has no impact, or that we are given license to act any way we please. It’s just that we don’t have to claw and beg and plead with God to forgive us or to help us. He already has. And He will continue to, if we only ask.