God or Father?
For much of my life I viewed God as a harsh judge that wanted me to live perfectly and never mess up. When I did mess up I believed that He was angry with me because I just
couldn’t seem to get it together. I believed that He forgave others but I punished myself repeatedly for messing up. I was full of self-condemnation and self-judgment. Many times that self-judgment carried over to the point that I would judge others to make myself feel some better. At least my latest sin wasn’t as bad as the other guy’s. Full of self-condemnation and self-righteousness, I had a very wrong understanding of God. I didn’t understand that God wanted to relate to me as a father and not as a judge.
I have come to learn that the way you view God will determine how you relate to God and how you relate to others. Because I related to God as a judge, I harshly judged myself and others. Not only did I condemn myself, I condemned others because I felt that God was condemning me. This is how I viewed Him and thus this is how I related to Him. I misunderstood Him.
I have also come to learn that how one defines love will determine how they define God. I believe that all humans have an instinctive knowing that God is love because we are made in His image and likeness. Unfortunately many of us have a messed up view of love. Some of us have rejection and abandonment issues which have messed up our view of love. Some of us didn’t have great examples from our parents and so we were raised up with a view of conditional love. Because God is love, we define Him by how we define love.
Basil Hume of London, England, claimed that “Christians find it easier to believe that God exists than that God loves them.” I know that I fell into this category.
1 John 3:1-2 — See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
Go back and read that passage again and notice the words Father, love and children. God wants us to relate to Him as a Father. This has always been His plan and desire. I believe that God didn’t want to relate to humanity as God but as Father. Look at Luke 3:38 — the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Notice that this verse declares that Adam was the son of God. He wants to be our Father.
Lastly, when teaching us how to pray Jesus taught us to address God as Our Father. He showed us that God wants to relate to us as a Father. So the first step in overcoming our misunderstanding of God begins with seeing Him as our Father and not just God.
So, how do you see God? Do you see Him as “God” or as “Father”.