This is part three in this blog series. The first part of my story is from last week’s blog. Read that post here.)
Do you ever wonder if God is waiting to give you a “whammy” after you make a mistake?
After I found out that I was pregnant at 19 years old, I’d wake up each day and wonder if that was the day that God would “get” me. After all, isn’t that what I deserved? I’d gotten pregnant before marriage. In the dictionary underneath the definition of things that good Christian girls shouldn’t do, getting preggers out of wedlock was near the top of the list. Therefore, I waited for God to get me good.
As I walked across campus each day or when I sat in my quiet dorm room at night, I pondered how the whammy might strike. Would I get hit by a car? Would God just strike me dead? Would He wait and then allow my new baby to die? Would He allow me to die in childbirth so that I wouldn’t get a chance to raise my child?
Is that too real for some of you? For others, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Perhaps right now, awful thoughts of God punishing you for something that happened in the past or in the last few days are flowing through your mind right now. So many Christians live in fear thinking that God is out to get them! When, I talked about this with a group of women, one woman said, “Yep, when I make a mistake, it’s like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
In those first few weeks after finding out that I was pregnant, I thought that I would feel relief each day that nothing bad happened. But, I didn’t. It only increased my fear for the next day.
The anxiety of believing that God was out to get me eventually got to me. I had trouble sleeping and I was miserable. I couldn’t pray because I was afraid that God wouldn’t listen. Also, I didn’t want to pray because I thought that maybe if I didn’t come near God then maybe He wouldn’t come after me.
Far too many people think that God is like a mean boss who is a jerk to all of his employees.
If you grew up in a church where pastors or leaders used fear to command obedience, it’s easy to assume that God is like that, too. How many of us still think that God likes to take revenge on us when we mess up?
When we see God like a mean boss, we tend to have one of three responses: fight, freeze, flee:
We may get sarcastic, critical or defensive any time someone talks about God or church (fight);
We may avoid all conversations about faith or church because it makes you uncomfortable (freeze);
We stop attending church or hanging out with other Christians because those trigger our fear or anxiety that God’s doesn’t love us or that He waiting to punish us (flee).
Do any one of these resonate with you? One of the bravest acts that you can take today is to be honest with yourself, especially if you’ve been carrying around a mental picture of an angry God in your heart and mind.
Here’s a verse that reminds us of God’s character, even as we sin and by our natural, we are sinful:
But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. -Psalm 86:15 NLT
Interestingly enough, there are four other similar verses: Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2. These verses are spoken at at different times in history when God’s people had really messed up! They’d worshipped idols, sacrificed their children, been disobedient, you name it, they did it. God’s people deserved a line of whammies.
While they faced suffering and punishment because of their own actions, God didn’t punish them because He hated them, He allowed them to experience the consequences of their behavior so that they could see that worshipping a loving God was much more life-giving than following their own selfish desires.
God does allow us to make mistakes and run off away from Him. Sometimes, we experience the painful consequences of our sin, but we shouldn’t be angry with God for that. We must remember that when we make mistakes, God’s attitude toward us isn’t angry and vengeful. He is full of compassion, mercy and unfailing love.
NOTE…I know that some of my long-time serious sisters in Christ want to hit reply and say, “But Barb, you aren’t talking enough about the holiness and righteousness of God!”
To those who worry that too much talk about God’s love may mislead people to think that God doesn’t care about sin, re-examine those verses. God doesn’t diminish the gravity our sin, He handles our sin against Him differently than we would if we were in God’s place.
The following verse tells us why…
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? -Romans 2:4 NLT
When we make mistakes, God wants us to come near to Him so that He can heal us.
Admit it, running from God or living in fear of God robs you of your peace. Not dealing with your spiritual struggle with God can create anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. God wants to free you from all of that!
In my new Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ Bible study, one of the Freedom Principles that you learn is this: Freedom in Christ is living free from fear and fully alive with joy and purpose.
Today’s question: Have you been running from God because you’re worried that He’s out to get you?
To be clear, you can still be running from God AND showing up at church each week. Don’t let The Whisper or your heart lie to you and tell you that God’s gonna get you if you try to get close to Him. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. Look up those verses and challenge yourself to straighten out any twisted truth in your heart.
SHARE YOUR COMMENT BELOW:
Could you relate to my story today?
Consider the verses about God’s compassionate, merciful and loving nature. Do you need to let go of worrying about God giving you a big whammy for something from your past?
Join me next Monday…
Next week, I’ll share about the day when I finally stopped running from God and discovered the power of the gift of grace…even though I got save over ten years before.
INTRODUCING BARB’S NEXT BIBLE STUDY!
Let go of feeling like you are not a “good enough” Christian and find freedom in Christ by studying Paul’s letter to the Galatians in my new study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ.
Have you ever felt that being a good Christian means you’ve got to follow a bunch of rules and measure up?
If so, you aren’t alone! In this six-week Bible study of Galatians, Barb Roose shows us that even the believers in the early church struggled to let go of rule-keeping and performance in order to embrace God’s free gift of grace.
If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like God is disappointed with you or felt trapped by rules or religion, this study will provide a path to discover your freedom in Christ.