Sadly, I meet countless people who genuinely and “rightfully” believe that God is mad at them. This belief usually stems from a feeling of guilt and shame applied by a well-meaning Christian friend or family member. The culprit of such circumstances can usually be found in some sinful behavior in their life or simply a lack of interest and engagement in the acceptable cultural Christian activities such as regularly attending a church or reading the Bible.
I say “rightfully” because for most people, their theology (their belief about what God is like) comes from their relationship and interaction to Christian friends and family. And if these Christian family members or friends fail to accurately reflect the heart and nature of God in the face of sinful behavior, apathy or rebellion, then a belief about God is formed that is contrary to his actual likeness.
SO IS GOD ACTUALLY MAD AT ME?
The short answer is no, God is not mad at you. He loves you, wants the absolute best for you and is committed to showing you what He is really like. Without starting an entire Bible study, suffice it to say that the Word is clear in how God postures himself toward people who repeatedly make mistakes and feel stuck or uninterested in God. He laid his own life down for you to tell you He loves you in the midst of your failures so you’d never be in doubt of his unconditional love. (see Romans 5:8)
I realize this may be hard for you to believe, because it’s likely that if you’re reading this, you’ve had someone close to you who identifies as a believer in Jesus Christ shame, control or distance themselves emotionally from you for not measuring up to some ambiguous Christian standard. If that has been your story, I’m truly sorry, and I hope this article serves in some way to reveal Jesus to you in a fresh light.
So to answer the second question,
WHY WOULD MY CHRISTIAN FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS BE ANGRY WITH ME IF THEIR GOD IS NOT?
Though there are likely many reasons for this inconsistency between the likeness of God and the behavior of his people, I would like to submit that one of the most plausible reasons for this discrepancy is “Cultural Christianity,” basically wearing the label of “Christian” because of one’s experiences, family background or cultural upbringing but having no real conviction that Jesus is Lord or living like Him is possible.
Unfortunately, “Cultural Christianity” has made room for people to acknowledge God in a moment and join a church organization or denomination yet provides no grace or power to actually become like Christ.
So the result of Christianity becoming a cultural expression is people who identify with the associative blessings of Christ (forgiveness of sins and going to heaven when they die) but have no expectation or understanding for becoming like Christ in thought, emotion and deed.
Though this article is not to contest the validity or integrity of people’s salvation, it is to shine a light on a chasm that exists in the hearts of God’s people that needs to be discussed. If we are honest, there are many people who have turned away from God because of this hypocrisy. If we can humble ourselves, repent and take ownership for our part, then we will be taking a right step out of a mere cultural expression of our faith and into true Christ-likeness.
If we fail to take ownership of our part in people rejecting God, we end up condemning unbelievers because they didn’t find his love in us. I don’t think it is too extreme to say that this is the height of arrogance, and my prayer is that we are never found in this seat of judgment.
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