Chapter 19-God’s Not Mad At You!
(This is a rough draft chapter from my latest book)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
38For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things [b]impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
39Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When speaking with an elderly man about Jesus he told me, Son, I believe in Jesus and I am saved but I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life that I’ve asked for forgiveness of but I don’t feel worthy going to church.
I’ve heard this same perspective from all age groups so many times that I honestly could not count. People wholeheartedly believe that God hates them for the things that they have done!
There are so many misperceptions of God that people have and honestly, I really don’t blame them for having them considering what they have been taught. The example that people have had displayed to them by Christians would leave most with a jaded perspective of who God is and how He feels about mankind. I’ve been in the churches where the pastor has preached himself into a red-faced frenzy about God hating everything from women who wear dresses that don’t go past the ankles to men with hair below their collar. Honestly, it’s ridiculous! What I have found is that many pastors have used their positional authority to preach against their own prejudices, personal strongholds and hatred from the pulpits and it’s no wonder that people around the world feel that God hates them for something they have done because that’s what the Christians told them, and they must be right because they’re pastor said it and he’s a man of God…
As hard as this truth may be to swallow for some people, those who preach hatred and condemnation from their pulpits may not really even know God!
1 John 4:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not saved or going to heaven, but sadly, they have never really known His true nature if they see Him and preach about Him primarily from a position of judgment and hatred!
Here is a practical example of what I am talking about. Depending upon your proximity to me, you will understand who I am on a more intimate level. People who have never met me but have heard about me from someone else will have a perspective that could be completely different than who I really am.
For instance, if you talked to the guy who almost ran over my son and did hit me with his car in the pre-school parking lot a few months ago, he might describe me as a very angry man. If you talked to someone who came to my church once and saw me on a day that I had something very pressing to do, they might tell you that I was a very focused and driven man, maybe even intimidating. If you talked to someone who has attended one of my sermons, depending on the topic and emphasis of what was being presented they might have a number of things that they would perceive that I seemed to be to them…but the truth of their perspective is, if they told my wife those things about me, she would have a very unique ability to set the record straight about who I REALLY am… Because we have been together more than half my life now and she knows me more intimately than any other person on earth!
Now here’s where it gets tricky… Depending upon the totality of the circumstances, there are times that I have been angry, there are times that I have been driven, there are times that I have been intimidating but the people who really KNOW me would likely tell you that my most defining characteristic is that I genuinely and deeply care about people… Now, that may not seem to line up with all the other things that people may have said about me, but ask yourself, did they know the real me? If they didn’t know me as the man who loves to help people reach their God ordained destiny, then they only learned about an aspect of my personality that was likely tied to a specific event that took me OUT of my normal vibe.
Loving people is not something that I have always been able to do easily, as a matter of fact, there was a season that I was so fed up with all of the ridiculous religious stuff that I was seeing that I wanted NOTHING to do with people who call themselves christians… I didn’t love most them, and for the most part, I didn’t even like them!… but as we talk about in the chapter on the fruit of the spirit, all of God’s personality traits are accessible to us. We can walk in His love, we can experience His peace, and we can exercise His joy when we allow Him to change who we are into who He is! And, over the years, God has shown me how to genuinely care about people that I used to avoid contact with as much as humanly possible. It was ultimately a lesson learned in allowing God to love those that I would consider unlovable THROUGH me…and, very honestly, it has not always been easy…
Case in point: A few months ago, I went to a parole hearing for the man who tried to kill me four years ago. His actions cost me my career, multiple months of physical therapy, several surgeries, countless hours of severe difficulties and to date nearly $300,000 in personal finances. I did NOTHING to this man to deserve this. As a matter of fact, I was trying to help him on the day he attacked me. It was a pointless crime.
When I walked into the parole hearing room in this state prison, the parole board expected that I would be there to oppose his parole. But I wasn’t there in an attempt to extend his punishment. I explained to the board that as far as I was concerned, if they deemed him ready to be paroled, I would not contend with it at all. I then told them that I drove 8 hours to be there for the hearing to say something very specific if they would allow me to.
When I spoke to the young man I explained to him what his actions have cost me over the past four years and told him that I did not bring those things up in an attempt to have him relive his sin but rather to tell him that when I say I forgive you, that it means I have forgiven you of much! I went on to speak life into this young man and explained to him that he did not have to be defined by this previous season of his life and that he didn’t have to go through life making the same mistakes that landed him in the place where he was presently residing, furthermore, that I believed that God had a plan for his life and if he would submit his will to God’s then God would take his life and make something of it.
Everyone in the room was floored, the parole board didn’t know what to say, the father of the young man sat weeping in the back of the room, the young man who attacked me sat there dumbfounded… After I was excused from the parole meeting, the Corrections Officer who was assigned to me while I was at the prison escorted me out of the razor wire gate and said to me, I know why you did that back there…It’s what he did…
His use of the word “he” confused me and I asked, …he?
Jesus, he responded, they didn’t deserve His forgiveness but He forgave them anyway….
The prison guard was correct, I was able to forgive and even driven to show this man the Love of God because I am convinced that is EXACTLY what Jesus would do!
Jesus was God in the flesh on this earth! He exemplified in his actions EXACTLY who God is and how we can live when we allow the Spirit of God to live through us.
Jesus knew God like NO MAN had ever known Him! The level of intimacy and relationship that Jesus had with God was deeper than anyone ever knew before! Previous prophets and leaders who wrote the Old Testament, understood as much about God as He revealed to them but they didn’t know God on the level that Jesus did! And they didn’t know God in the way that He ultimately planned that we would know Him!
When Jesus came to this earth, He changed EVERYTHING. Our relationship with God changed, our authority in this earth changed, even how God was able to view us changed for ETERNITY!
1 John 4:9-12
New Living Translation (NLT)
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
Previous covenants between God and man were imperfect and left us with an imperfect and (in many ways) impersonal relationship with God. However, when Jesus died for our sins He restored our relationship with God to the point where ,when God sees us, He doesn’t see our sin or our shortcomings any more, but rather sees us as His children who He loves without end!
It’s not that God didn’t love us before, but our sin separated us from the intimacy that we were created to have with Him. As a result, we could only understand who He was to us in part. However, once our relationship with Him was restored, He was able to be ALL to us that He desired to be.
Jesus, the man who knew Him better than any other man EVER, explained to us that God was first and foremost LOVE. That He was not holding our sin over our head with hatred in His heart toward us, but rather that He loved us so much that He would do whatever it took to free us from sins bondages!
I’m convinced that a significant reason that God hates sin so much is because it keeps His children from being what He created them to be in the fullness and freedom that He created them to walk in! Like a father would hate the shackles that bound his son, God hates the sin that keeps us from the relationship and ultimately freedom that He would have for us in Him! And in His LOVE He provided the necessary means for our freedom!
As I addressed in Chapter 18, God’s people do not always reflect God’s heart. Actually, they respond quite to the contrary many times! But, I’m here to present a balance for the misquoted scriptures and legalistic doctrines that so many Christian churches have taught as gospel and have lived in bondage to themselves!
So many believe God to be some lightening bolt wielding tyrant in heaven who is just looking for people to screw up so he can get His kicks off of making them suffer. This couldn’t be any further from the truth that is presented in Gods Word!
There were times that God got angry with man throughout the old testament, and there were times that God expressed His frustration with people through the prophets that were set up as a voice to His people. But, those were temporary parking lot issues where God expressed how He felt about a situation but it was not intended by God for man to view Him as ALWAYS that way. This is why it was so important for Jesus, who knew Him best to set the record straight on who God really is and who He desired to be for His children…aka- you and me.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
If we only read the Old Testament, then I would be inclined to not understand all of who God is to us and perhaps I would have a different perspective on Him than I do today, but I’m so thankful for the balance that is presented in scripture through the life of Jesus! He offered to us the clarity that was absent outside of an intimate relationship with God and even provided for us the ability to have the SAME kind of relationship and intimacy with God that He experienced without having to concern ourselves with the sin and bondage that separated us from God previously!
So, let me set the record straight, regardless of what you have been told by Christians or pastors or whoever… God is not mad at you! He loves you more than you would EVER understand! As a matter of fact, Romans 5:8 above states, that it was because of His love for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS that Christ died for us! Jesus didn’t come to institute some legalistic hatefilled religion that so many have exemplified, but rather, He came to reveal the true nature and desires of a Loving God toward men and women who were lost in the bondage of sin and destruction!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father–that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied.
9Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, Show us the Father?
10Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the ([a]His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).
11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]
If you have seen me you have seen the Father… My goodness, could it be any more clearly stated?! When we see the life of Jesus and the love and compassion that He constantly taught about and portrayed in his lifestyle, how could we NOT understand the true nature of God!? Throughout the new testament, the only time we see Jesus even getting angry is when pompous, mislead religious leaders were not properly portraying the true nature of God and as a result, shedding an improper light on who God is because of their positional authority and expected ability by the people under them to properly relate God’s principles to the masses. Even when the religious leaders pulled His beard out, struck Him in the face, had Him beaten to the point where He was barley recognizable and then crucified on a cross for crimes that He did not commit, Jesus cried out to God and in an understanding and reflection of that intimate relationship that He had with the Father, asked God to forgive them because they did not truly understand what they were doing!
Luke 23:1-25, 32-34
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1THEN THE whole assembly of them got up and conducted [Jesus] before Pilate.
2And they began to accuse Him, asserting, We found this [a]Man perverting (misleading, corrupting, and turning away) our nation and forbidding to pay tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), a King!
3So Pilate asked Him, Are You the King of the Jews? And He answered him, [[b]It is just as] you say. [I AM.]
4And Pilate said to the chief priests and the throngs, I find no guilt or crime in this Man.
5But they were urgent and emphatic, saying, He stirs up and excites the people, teaching throughout all Judea–from Galilee, where He began, even to this place.
6Upon hearing this, Pilate asked whether the Man was a Galilean.
7And when he found out [certainly] that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him up to Herod [a higher authority], who was also in Jerusalem in those days.
8Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had eagerly desired to see Him for a long time because of what he had heard concerning Him, and he was hoping to witness some sign (some striking evidence or spectacular performance) done by Him.
9So he asked Him many questions, but He made no reply.
10Meanwhile, the chief priests and the scribes stood by, continuing vehemently and violently to accuse Him.
11And Herod, with his soldiers, treated Him with contempt and scoffed at and ridiculed Him; then, dressing Him up in bright and gorgeous apparel, he sent Him back to Pilate.
12And that very day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other–[though] they had been at enmity before this.
13Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
14And said to them, You brought this Man before me as One Who was perverting and misleading and [c]turning away and corrupting the people; and behold, after examining Him before you, I have not found any offense (crime or guilt) in this Man in regard to your accusations against Him;
15No, nor indeed did Herod, for he sent Him back to us; behold, He has done nothing deserving of death.
16I will therefore chastise Him and [d]deliver Him amended (reformed, taught His lesson) and release Him.
17[e]For it was necessary for him to release to them one prisoner at the Feast.
18But they all together raised a deep cry [from the depths of their throats], saying, Away with this Man! Release to us Barabbas!
19He was a man who had been thrown into prison for raising a riot in the city, and for murder.
20Once more Pilate called to them, wishing to release Jesus;
21But they kept shouting out, Crucify, crucify Him!
22A third time he said to them, Why? What wrong has He done? I have found [no offense or crime or guilt] in Him nothing deserving of death; I will therefore chastise Him [[f]in order to teach Him better] and release Him.
23But they were insistent and urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed (accomplished their purpose).
24And Pilate gave sentence, that what they asked should be done.
25So he released the man who had been thrown into prison for riot and murder, for whom they continued to ask, but Jesus he delivered up to be done with as they willed.
32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be executed with Him.
33And when they came to the place which is called The Skull [Latin: Calvary; Hebrew: Golgotha], there they crucified Him, and [along with] the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
34And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided His garments and distributed them by casting lots for them.
While they were smacking Him, did He retaliate…? While they were beating Him, did He accuse them of their sin…? While they were crucifying Him, did He condemn them…? No, and they were sinning against Jesus in the most graphic and direct ways possible and even then, the cry of Jesus was Father forgive them! They knew what they were doing was wrong, but Jesus recognized that they didn’t understand the depth of what they were doing against the one who loved them more than they could ever imagine! Jesus example exactly how God feels toward a sinful man with each step that He took toward crucifixion. Each sinful act was not responded to in judgment, it was responded to in love!
All of us knew when we sinned that we were doing wrong. That’s a given. However, how God views our sin and us is drastically different than we have ever or probably ever will totally understand on this side of eternity! What we have to do, is submit to the fact that this is what God says about us in His Word and even if we do not understand how He could or why He would love us or forgive us, that it is His desire to do so. To have a relationship with us that is not centered around being bound by sin and the deceptions of the enemy is what He desires for us emphatically and wholeheartedly!
God DOES want you to know how He feels about you. He wants to express it to you personally in a relationship with Him that no human being before Christ was able to even comprehend! He literally wants to live in and through you just like He did Jesus. When He does, those things in our nature that we never thought would allow us to express the love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control that are HIS nature are lived out though us because God lives in us!
New Living Translation (NLT)
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Another translation says, All things are possible to them who believe! As I bring this chapter to a close I want to say one more time, God loves you! I wish I could scream it at the top of my voice for emphasis! He’s not mad at you! He’s not looking for you to make up for your sins or somehow pay penance that you were not created to be able to pay! He just wants you to embrace the love that He displayed to you through His son, Jesus and then extend your belief in Him enough to allow Him to start to teach you how to be the you that He created you to be in a real relationship with the living and loving God of the Universe!
It’s amazing to me when I think about it, but the God who created the Universe in all of its splendor loves you and calls you His child! You are special to Him and it is His desire to show you the depths of that love one day at a time for the rest of eternity!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
9Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]