Posted by: CeCe | October 15, 2013

Battered believers

A friend of mine on Facebook posted the photo below, and I was going to write my response on it, but then I thought that it would come across as preachy, and I don’t want to be preachy.  So instead, I decided to post my response here in my own venue, so that people could choose to read it or not.

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I think there’s a lot of truth to this; some (or perhaps many) Christians do seem to view their faith like this. In those cases, I would say their faith is poisonous. Fortunately, I don’t view my faith this way at all.

Instead of seeing myself as “nothing” without God, I see myself as being made in God’s image, and as being beloved by God.

Instead of seeing doubt as an obstacle to my faith, I see it as an opportunity for growth.

Instead of seeing myself as “undeserving” of God’s grace and love, I see that we all are worthy, regardless of who or what we are, and regardless of what we’ve done.  When John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world”, I don’t believe that means that God only loved “some” of the world, or only a select few.  I see that as meaning that God really loves all of us.

I don’t see myself as a terrible person at all, nor do I believe that a person has to believe in God to be good.  When I fall short of what I believe God wants for me, which I do pretty often (not going to lie), I don’t beat myself up over it, I simply own up to my mistakes and promise myself and God that I’ll do better the next time around.  I take my mistakes as an opportunity for growth, not as a sign that I’m this awful person that deserves to be tortured for eternity in hell.  And speaking of hell…

I don’t believe that God punishes us through events in our life, nor do I believe in an eternal hell.  When bad things have happened to me (which they have, over and over again), I use them as an opportunity to learn and to grow as a person, to develop my empathy and compassion, and to learn to be humble, thankful, and kind.

I believe that one can learn from listening to those who don’t believe, because there’s no better way to see ourselves clearly than through the eyes of those on the outside looking in.  I enjoy conversing with atheists, and I’ve learned a lot from them.  I also believe that when we cloister ourselves away from the world for fear of fully examining our faith, it does more harm than good.

The only two in here that I agree with are that nothing and no one is better than God, and that God knows best. But those alone don’t necessarily mean that it’s an abusive relationship, unless God demands that one believe those things, and I don’t believe that He does. The way I see it, those are a consequence of believing in and loving God.  Believing in and loving God are not a consequence of being forced to believe that nothing and nobody is better than God, or that God’s knowledge is supreme; if it was, I would see that as abusive.

These are some of the things that I believe God would say:
“I love you, utterly and completely.”
“You are a wondrous creation.”
“I knew you in your mother’s womb, and I loved you then.”
“You’re imperfect and wonderful.”
“The best of you is a reflection of me.”
“Yes, you messed up, but that doesn’t change how much I love you.”
“You are beautiful to me.”
“Nothing you can do will lessen my love for you.”
“You are worthy.”

For all the Christians out there, how do you view your faith in God?  Would you say that it’s healthy and loving?  Do you think that others who are on the outside would see it as healthy?  Please feel free to answer in a comment, all are welcome!

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