When You Think God Is A Jerk
I spent a lot of my life believing God was a jerk.
It was the only logical conclusion for me---based on what I'd learned about God and the way God worked.
God was mad at me. That's what I believed. And the reason I believed this was because I had been told as much by Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, pastors and the like.
To be fair, I believed God was mad at me because I was a sinner. And because God hates sin so much, God couldn't be anything but mad at me for being a rotten, wretch of a sinner.
The idea of God having loving, gracious, giving and merciful attributes was kind of an afterthought in most of our conversations about God.
The fact that everyone around me seemed to be leading with "God is mad at you" when they talked about God, lessened the possibilities I might have had about seeing God as anything but ticked off.
It wasn't until years later that I began to embrace new ways of seeing God. And let's just say that the images of God I came to embrace didn't include the belief that God was a jerk... or was mad at me. Far from it.
The problem so many of us have is even though we may say we embrace the idea of a loving, grace-filled God, when things start to go south in our lives, we have a tendency to fall back into our old ways of believing.
Dallas Willard wrote this in his amazing book, Hearing God:
We demean God immeasurably by casting [God] in the role of cosmic boss, foreman or autocrat, whose chief joy in relation to humans is ordering them around, taking pleasure in seeing them jump at his command and painstakingly noting any failures.God is not out to get you. God is for you. God doesn't hate you, is made at you or takes joy in watching you suffer.
God's love for you is immeasurable. God takes joy in seeing you thrive and grow. And God suffers with you when you suffer, because God knows what it's like to be us... intimately so.
May these words bring you hope, and may you begin to let go of any of your old ways of seeing God that may keep you from truly being in relationship with God.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.