Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. What if you discovered God’s personality is the same as the most loving parent you can imagine?
- A survey of the times “fear of God” is encouraged in the Bible suggests fearing God was intended for those who don’t fear evil. God’s anger was against wickedness. God’s anger is simply a side of God’s love to steer one away from personal and worldly destruction. God hates what evil does to us. Human parents warn their children and show disgust for actions leading to destruction. God’s love, not His wrath, was center stage in Scriptures (I John 4:8).
- God understands what human parents know – the fear of punishment is simply meant to deter one from acting against their best interests. Emphasizing God’s love doesn’t give people the license to sin more; selfishness doesn’t wait for permission. Religious leaders may have good intentions when they focus on rules and obedience, but fear doesn’t inspire being the kind of person we deep down desire to be. Lasting obedience, though never perfect, comes from gratitude to God’s mercy and love. It is gratitude toward God that empowers, not the worries of whether God will be angry with us. God simply desires to help us treat others like we want to be treated which leads to a life not full of regrets.
- God often is said to be mostly concerned about their honor and ego. God’s love surely is other-directed not self-consumed. Parents may advise their children to honor them because abiding by a parent’s wish should be in the best interest of the child. God is not self-infatuated. If God was so worried about their ego, God certainly would not have given us freedom to contradict their wishes. God is not more concerned with restoring their honor than expressing a desire for a relationship to encourage and empower us.
- God is no different than parents who realize they don’t have to heap on additional consequences. Sin has its own consequences; God doesn’t seek to pile on. God is only hoping we freely choose God’s ways as we understand God has our best interest in mind. God will never give up such hope.
- It can be difficult to get close to a God who is portrayed as thinking we are totally worthless. Old timers bellow “how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” Such words don’t convey God’s heart and thoughts. Thinking we are despicable may lead to giving up. God desires perfection for our own sake but surely celebrates our victories along the way. I am good if you believe God detests every aspect of your lying soul and that draws you close to God. Others may have a hard time understanding why human love seems better than Godly love. I have always loved my children to the core despite their faults. I simply hope they change harmful ways for their sake.
The truth is God is the perfection of the human parents we have always desired. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is really the Story of the Incredible Parent. God loves us unconditionally but respects our freedom. God waits and hopes. God’s love is unlike any human’s love we may experience. God wants us to know that God’s love doesn’t have to be earned. We try to earn points with God but God is not keeping score. Real intimacy doesn’t result from fear and obligatory love. Accepting than attempting to earn a relationship with God leads to the freedom to be the people we desire to be deep down.