Thursday, August 2, 2012
When believing feels like work....
Today I heard about an awful situation regarding a pastor that I'd heard of and read his books for years. And as I was looking up information on it, I came across a blog of a man who used to be a believer, but stopped believing. He is now an athiest and his reasoning resonnates with me, as I have felt some of the things he mentioned.
Can I just say here that I get it? To a point. But anyway, for the sake of not being redundant, here is the comment I left. I'm sharing it here because for so long I've wanted to express some of this. I've wanted to get it out, but was afraid what my believing friends would think. Silly, isn't it? So here it is....
I stumbled upon your post because of the Jack Schaap situation that is going on now. I was an IFB church member for 10 years and we really looked up to FBC Hammond. But it's this post that really got me. I have felt the way that you feel. Tired. Always wrong. Always trying and never succeeding. I remember thinking, while I was in the middle of it, that life was basically miserable...miserable because I had to continue on trying to "be right with God" or suffer His punishment OR if I walked away, God's wrath would follow me and my children would go to Hell.
I went through a time where, while I didn't stop believing, I put everything Christ related on the back burner. It just wasn't important. I had lost my mother to cancer and a year later, my 20 year marriage ended painfully. I really just didn't consider God, but if someone had asked me, I would still have said I believed.
So much has happened since then...I read The Shack and cried. While I know it's not the Bible; it showed me another picture of Christ, of God, of His love for me. I also met the man who is now my husband and he showed me God's love through his own love for me. He didn't judge me. He didn't put me through 100 questions. He knew I was a believer that wasn't making God a priority and he just loved me. I can't even TELL you how that felt! It's been difficult for me not to picture God as "The judge in the sky" that's just WAITING for me to mess up. That can NEVER be appeased. That is IMPOSSIBLE to please. That's what He was to me and I'm ashamed and sad that I believed that about Him.
I'm free now to be ME and to be accepted of my Father. Like you, I'll watch something I want to watch unless my conscience tells me otherwise. I no longer worry about being "right with God" because I AM right with God; because of what He did for me.....because of His unconditional love for me. God is LOVE and THAT'S what God looks like. LOVE. Amazing, beautiful, unconditional, amazing LOVE that's not contingent on what I do or don't do; it's because of Who He is and what He is.
Often, I don't like to use the term "Christian" as, to me it carries with it a set of rules. Like "If you're a Christian, you'll........." (fill in the blank) or "A good Christian does ......" and so being a Christian seems like a goal, a vocation and it's not. I'm a child of God. I'm His child. I hurt people sometimes when I should help. I think thoughts I shouldn't think. I'm selfish when I should be more giving. I focus on ME way too much. But God KNOWS this about me and LOVES me more than I've ever been loved. I am sooooooo thankful that everyday I FEEL that more and more. I would never want to go back to the "get right with God!!!!!" mentality and I truly understand why you feel the way you do. I'd love to see believers just get back to being children, delighting in their Father and letting His delight in the flow over them.
To be honest, I'm tearing up as I type this because it's so incredibly personal to me. And I just feel so awful and sorry sometimes that we've misrepresented our Father so much. In my way during that time, I did the same thing.....I know I misrepresented Him. I also know He's forgiven me for it. Peace.....Serene