Tag Archives: God’s wrath

A New View of God’s Wrath

 

Don’t you love Psalm 16:11? “In your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Wouldn’t you love to live in the joy and pleasure of God’s presence continually?

That is my goal. Most of my adult life I’ve been undoing the effects of growing up in  church, or so I thought.

I was afraid of God, and thought it was what I learned at church and church school. Recently I’ve begun to question that perception. I think it was because I read the Bible too young. The Old Testament and some of the New is not for young, superficial readers. I got scared. I knew God loved me, but I was afraid of Him.

I wanted to be perfect, and my mother wanted me to be also. She wanted that for all her children, and she modeled a real and loving relationship with God. She’d known Him personally ever since her baptism at 12, when she had a personal experience with Him.

My personal experiences with God started when I was six on a perfect late summer morning when I was alone outside imagining God. In my early twenties I had an amazing experience of understanding salvation by faith when I experienced God’s joy, and in my mid twenties I was alone over a holiday and made an experiment of being with God. It was beautiful.

I had a faith venture in my late twenties that was amazing, and having my daughter just before 30 showed me God’s love in an incredible way. I don’t think I had ever really loved before.

But still the fear of God continually haunted me–stalked me.

Through the death of my little brother God carried me. All through my divorce He was right beside me holding my hand. At the beginning of graduate school, God shared a new perspective on Luke 9:23-25 that opened up scripture, and it was about then that I decided I had to address my concept of God. I had to deal with the fear. My masters project was looking at the parenting of God in all 66 books of the Bible. That helped.

But what really caused a revolution was studying the wrath of God and discovering what it was. You wouldn’t think understanding God’s wrath would take away fear. Romans 1 launched it, and Isaiah and Jeremiah clinched it. There I found that the wrath of God was nothing more than God letting us have our own way! Letting us leave Him.

If you understand our context–living in a war zone with broken human natures and freedom, and an enemy that loves to destroy us–that is scary. But it begin to relieve my fear of God.

In a Bible study about ten years ago, I was thrilled to read 1John 1:4 and put it together with Genesis 3:15, and discover there is no evil in God. God is not capable of evil. Since then, I have found three other scriptures that say the same thing. And according to James, God doesn’t even test or tempt us. He doesn’t do bad to get good.

You may have known that your whole life, but for me it was huge. I’m embarrassed to admit it now. But the things I read in scripture always made me wonder. You can even understand the cross as God killing Jesus, if you look at it wrong. It’s all perspective and our perspective is often skewed, tweaked or filtered especially by people who claim to know Him but don’t.

This one thing has made all the difference. I’ll explain more next time.

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Why are You Afraid of God?

One thing really came home to me last weekend. Nothing that God is involved in can be bad, whether it is death or anything else. It might seem or feel bad, but His presence (Love) is such pure energy, even sad, hard things are filled with joy–such sweet bonding and connections came from the weekend of Rocky’s funeral. It was a celebration of her life: beautiful, inspiring and uplifting. I felt honored to be related.

How did we get so afraid of God?

Was it, as I have heard in therapy, that God didn’t answer childhood prayers the way we thought He should? One teenage girl prayed for her family as a child, and it came apart anyway, so she had no use for Him after that. She didn’t understand freedom.

Maybe, even as adults, we (like her) don’t understand that God doesn’t take away other people’s freedom to hurt us. Freedom is much more scary than God! But even that is tempered by His keeping power if you ask to be kept. He isn’t willing for anyone to lose his or her true self, even though you might suffer.

I wonder how many of us have been scared away from God by church teaching. The church has been very effective with marketing guilt, and a harsh, exacting picture of God. They haven’t done a good job of interpreting scripture. Not that there isn’t some support for fear there.

God has had to leave hooks for doubt in scripture so we are free to choose. People wrote what God communicated but often it was mixed with there own perspective, mixed with their own fear, guilt, anger–and not a clear understanding of God. Sometimes they were very close to God and knew Him well, but we bring our own fear etc. to their words, and misread.

For this reason I’ve decided to continue with Love’s Playbook II going through the Bible writing it as God’s love story. Making Him look as He really is–all good–a God of love. I’m about four chapters in and loving it. I can’t think too far ahead or I get overwhelmed.

But one thing I’ve realized is that early on I will have to deal with God’s wrath. I think our main problem with God (besides just wanting to do our own thing) is not understanding his wrath or anger. It’s a lot different from ours. And if we can get the very scariest part of God nailed down, you can’t help but see where we went off track, and why understanding wrath is so important.

This might surprise you, but according to the major Old Testament prophets, God’s wrath is letting go. Letting you do what you want when what you want is destructive to yourself and others. . .when God steps back the dark side steps in and it gets really scary. Not always right at the beginning, because they don’t want to scare you back to God, but they hate us and their self-control isn’t good.

God’s worst, worst wrath is when He comes into your presence with you unprepared because pure energy combusts disordered atoms. This doesn’t happen often because His self-control is very good. It did happen a few times with warning, but one day He will come here and whatever is out of harmony will go poof in flame and disappear for ever, but it won’t burn forever–big difference.

Everyone will have had the chance to choose being loved by God or doing your own thing. He won’t force you to love, and He will give you your way, but your way is fantasy, because you have no power against evil or the dark side. If you don’t choose love, they will take over. You live in a war zone.

That is scary, but God isn’t.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...