Have you ever felt like God was mad at you? I’ve had moments when it seemed that everything in my life was going wrong, and the harder I tried to remedy those situations, the worse my circumstances became.
In my early years, I had a limited view of the “Christian life,” which kept me at arm’s length from God at all times. I’d say my prayers every night but in my everyday decisions, I resisted including Him. As a result, any time my circumstances shifted to an uncomfortable place I’d immediately feel a rush of guilt and assume that God was punishing me for something.
Who do you turn to when you’re too ashamed to go to God? It’s an incredibly isolating feeling that I think many Christians have faced at one time or another.
Rest easy if you’ve ever felt this way; you’re not the only one. In fact, this feeling of shame began with the first human beings, Adam and Eve. They hid from God after they deliberately disobeyed Him in Genesis 3: “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’
He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’”
Adam and Eve’s sin resulted in their banishment from the Garden of Eden and a difficult life thereafter. The story would be absolutely tragic if it ended there. But God already had a plan in place to redeem them by sending a Savior for all of mankind. As many theologians have pointed out, He alluded to Jesus in verse 15 when He told the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
So you see, from the very beginning of time God has been giving us second chances. He fulfilled His promise and sent His only Son to die for us and conquer our sin so that one day we might live with Him in paradise.
As Christians we hear this all our lives – but do we really believe it? This is hard to admit, but thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice actually used to hinder me from developing a real relationship with Him. I thought, “Wow. Jesus died for me and I can’t even keep my act together for one day. He must be so annoyed with me.” As a result, I continued trying to figure things out on my own and failed perpetually, all the while wondering what I was doing wrong. I shake my head thinking about it.
In a Bible Study I’m currently reading a book titled “Breaking Free,” author Beth Moore defines captivity as “anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for you.” Really think about that and apply it to your own life. God has a plan for your life, and it’s one that is not only better with Him, but completely RELIES on Him and the power of His Spirit.
I love thinking of God this way – an endless reservoir of grace, ready and available to me at every waking moment. I’ve learned that in order to fully experience the benefits of His forgiveness, I have to forgive myself first – meaning, I had to accept His forgiveness of me. He is the inventor of empathy. Who do you think created the warm feeling of peace? And yes, He does draw lines in the sand for us, but all of His rules are actually for our own benefit.
OF COURSE we’re going to make mistakes – many of the same ones – time and time again. We see evidence of this defining characteristic of our humanity in almost every story in the Bible. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, sometimes we are going to sin.
Rather than hiding from Him when we fall short, we should run straight to Him, refusing to let a barrier, based on a lie, separate us from His unconditional love.
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)