Today I welcome my friend Christine Bierma from Atrustworthysaying.com as my guest blogger. She has graciously allowed me some time away to rest, relax and recharge. She has been writing a series called “Postures” that considers the many postures that we can take as we approach God and the postures He takes toward us as we approach him. This is the second post in this series. To read more, please visit her blog at atrustworthysaying.com.
What do you think God’s posture toward you is? I’m not looking for the Sunday school answer but what you truly believe. When God thinks of you, are his arms open, closed, crossed, indifferent?
Does he have his finger lifted to you in accusation? Is he shushing you? Are his hands raised in a “whatever” pose? Has he completely turned his back?
Or, is he waiting with his arms wide open? Is he turning his ear toward you so he can be sure to give you all of his attention? Is he busy or is he waiting for you?
I believe many of us, if we are honest with ourselves believe that God the Father, is standing in judgement of us. Ready to heap shame and “shoulds” all over our head until we crumble from the weight of it all. Isn’t that what we’ve been taught? We sing Jesus Loves Me This I Know but just as soon as the song is finished we are given a list of our failures and shortcomings.
Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of failures and shortcomings but that is the entire reason Jesus came to earth. He came to give us the assurance of forgiveness and to welcome us into his kingdom. He did not visit this planet to shame us or to shake an accusing finger in our faces until we relented.
You can study all of the gospels for your entire life and you will never find Jesus using shame as a weapon or a tool to bring us closer to him or to control us. You can search the Old Testament and the New Testament and not once come up with an example where God used shame to control his people. He just isn’t into the control game.
What you will find is a God who is grieved that his precious people have turned their backs on him. You will find a father that is hurting because of the poor choices his children have made and you will see him weep for the hurt and pain they bring upon themselves. You will find a loving God who is willing to move heaven and earth to allow us to come back to him.
Do you know who is in the shame and control game? Satan.
The prince of darkness wants to control us and lead us away from the Father. Shame is the perfect tool, especially for Christians. When he whispers shame into our ears he makes it sound spiritual, it feels like it is coming straight from God himself. Doesn’t it?
The scriptures tell us that “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Romans 8:39
When shame, fear, condemnation and rejection start to swirl around you and weigh you down, bring this verse to mind and let it’s truth cover and protect you from the attack. God is not condemnation and fear. No matter what someone in your past has told you, no matter what you own inner voice screams at you, no matter what religious institution has smashed this lie into your heart, it is not true.
What is true is God is love.
Jesus himself said the greatest commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Look at what that verse doesn’t say. Fill in the blank all the things your own condemnation believes are more important than the command to simply love God. Each of us will have a different list but it is a list of lies. That list simply does not exist in the scriptures.
God waits for each of us with open arms.
He will never force us to come into his presence or to serve him, he always gives us the choice. He isn’t waiting to condemn or shame us, but rather he is waiting to love us like we’ve never known.
He is waiting with his arms open wide!