Truths and Treats

Just come back to me…

So this morning I came back from a brief spiritual hiatus (a few hours) and of course, when I returned to God I immediately felt the weight of guilt, shame, anger, sadness, condemnation, etc… for the actions I had taken during that time period.

I felt that God was not receptive or responsive, and was disappointed in me, angry with me, ashamed of me, couldn’t look at me, etc.  But then I remembered what he said to me earlier, (paraphrased) “the worst thing you can do is to not come back”.

And then God opened my eyes to the most simple and ridiculous truth, hidden by the craftiest of lies…… God had forgiven me, so all of those feelings of negativity and judgment that I thought were coming from God were actually my own condemning thoughts about myself. God was not condemning me, I was. It was I who couldn’t receive myself, couldn’t look at myself, couldn’t respond out of paralyzing angst, it wasn’t God feeling that way. Looking back, I can recount a million times when I thought God was angry with me, but now I wonder if it was I who was angry with myself.

I think we assume that people (or God) will judge us for the same things we judge ourselves for. Everyone is their own worst critic. I think that’s the root of paranoia, believing that you have some weakness that others inherently know about (and will attack if given the opportunity). I think that’s why Jesus told us to “treat others as we’d like to be treated”, rather than just to treat others as we treat ourselves (that’d be a vicious cycle of abuse). And maybe there’s a secondary lesson hidden in that command.

Perhaps treating someone as we’d LIKE to be treated (as opposed to how we ARE treated) will actually show them how to encourage and love us better. For instance: A lot of my friends are better listeners now that when I first met them, because they’ve learned that listening to me intently is a way of encouraging and loving me (because it’s one of primary the ways that I encourage and love others). 

Jesus was huge on these ‘how to treat others’ examples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, now remain in my love… this is my command: love each other”.  John 15:9, 17

It’s a beautiful chain of events, a circle.  God loves us, and wants our love in return.  He treats us the way that he wants to be treated.  He died for us, and we’re told to love each other like that.  Husbands are told to love their wives like that.  That is how things should be.  

Unfortunately, that’s oftentimes not the case. I can admit, that I personally have never died for another person.  And God actually made Hosea marry a prostitute to show people how things really are.  This is how you really treat me, like we’re married and you’re still sleeping around. 

So I’m gonna take the hint.  Instead of judging myself through God and others, I’m going to love myself through loving God and others.

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