It hurts when someone doesn’t love you back. You can feel the hurt in your bones and it’s not something that passes quickly. I’ve been thinking recently about the fact that God goes through this pain everyday.
God actively loves me and expresses that love in a multitude of ways. I acknowledge only a fraction of these expressions and take very little time to stop and appreciate His love or respond to it because I tend to believe that my guilt or shame gets in the way. I know this must hurt God in some way.
The more I think about this pain, the more I realize that God does not express it in a negative or reactionary way. He simply continues to pursue me each day and that blows my mind because it proves to me that God’s love is something I can never understand. This is a really useful realization because my relationship with God always suffers when I rely on my understanding of His love.
We know that God loves us and we know that we should pay a little more attention to that love. We don’t often think about the fact that God feels hurt when we ignore His active pursuit of us. This thought so easily slips our mind because of the guilt we feel whenever we acknowledge that we have been ignoring God’s love.
The truth is that God doesn’t hold anything against us because we’re covered in Jesus’ blood and we inherited His righteousness.
So even though we ignore God’s love on a daily if not hourly basis, God doesn’t want us to feel shame or guilt. God just wants our attention. This is really important because so many of us don’t turn to God because of the guilt and shame that we feel.
We assume that we will go to God and receive some sort of guilt trip.
No one volunteers for guilt trips and this is what keeps so many of us out of church and out of an honest or vulnerable relationship with God. We don’t understand how God could love us, pursue us daily, and not hold it against us when we ignore Him. It doesn’t make sense that God’s first response when we go to Him is joy instead of anger or spite.
If we truly believed that God would react the same way as the father of the prodigal son, our relationship with Him would look very different. Our hearts are so often torn between our idols like marriage or success and the guilt or shame that we feel for worshipping them instead of God. These two forces overwhelm and bury us.
Most of us waste a great deal of time trying to justify our actions or feeling guilty about them.
God never meant for us to base our actions or motives on whether we can justify ourselves. That is exactly why He got so upset with the Pharisees. They focused on whether they could justify themselves and they didn’t pay attention to their hearts and the fact that God wanted a relationship with them.
God wants us to know that He is a jealous God and that He feels the pain of unrequited love. He doesn’t want to make us feel guilty about that though. He wants that knowledge to be a reminder that His heart yearns for us the same way that we yearn for those who are close to us.
God is calling out to all of us and it’s not to make us feel guilty, He’s calling so that He can enjoy spending time with you.
We come to the false conclusion that God enjoys guilt trips for a few different reasons. Those reasons don’t really matter and are not worth going into right now. The point is that Jesus came to devour all of your shame.
If you’ve laid your life at the feet of Jesus and given your life over to Him, then you don’t have a speck of shame or guilt on you. There is NOTHING that can stand between you and God’s love.(Romans 8:39). Sadly, many of us read that sentence and a few hundred lies jump in between us and that vital truth.
The sins in our lives come packaged with a large truckload of lies that get between us and the truth of God’s love. (Hebrews 3:13)
The lies that come from the sin we’re all involved in convince us that surely God can’t love us ALL of the time. This destructive doubt makes us wonder when God loves us and when He doesn’t. That question is like a poison that drags us down and holds us back from running to the one who loves and pursues us no matter what we’ve done.
The lies of sin and my false perception of God’s love cause me to carry around my chains long after Jesus has broken them. It’s possible that I carry them around because they’re all I know. It’s possible I’m scared of losing myself in the sea of God’s grace.
No matter the answer, there is no reason good enough to hold me back from falling into God’s impossible and never ending love for me. To do this I must be like the prodigal son every morning and bring myself back to my Father. I must kneel before Him, throw open the doors of my heart, and ask Him to pour out His love into my heart. (Romans 5:5)
I have more and more confidence every time I do this because I’ve slowly come to learn that God enjoys giving me love. He desperately wants to do it and doesn’t put a drop of guilt or shame in the waterfall of love that He pours over me. That truth is priceless to me.
Image Copyright: ForestWanderby