A Desire For Authentic Love
Continued from yesterday…
At some point in our lives, we’ve all seen a person holding a sign with some variation of the message God loves you, whether it’s at a sporting event, parade, or street corner.
The problem is that upon further scrutiny, many of these sign holders and the churches they represent depict God’s love as quite selective and conditional, which makes it about as appealing as the “love” of certain narcissists we work to avoid. Compliance with doctrine, allegiance to the church, and a never-ending adoring worship are just some of the expectations that this God of “love” demands.
Judgment is another word frequently used in many religious circles. As you listen to some preachers, God will seem more angry than happy, more punishing than merciful, and more a personification of fear than of love.
He reserves his biggest disdain for homosexuals, the Hollywood elite, and any other group that is dissimilar to a particular congregation. The target of his wrath is evident in the locations of the latest hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Judgment, by way of eternal punishment in a lake of fire, is the inevitable destination for all who refuse to believe the way they do.
Understandably, these stories we have been told about the infinite have only left us more bewildered about love. When left with our own thoughts, we can’t help but wonder: if this judging and punishing God is synonymous with love, then love doesn’t seem very appealing.
Therefore, to understand and trust love is a challenge for most of us. For millennia, the intrusive virus of fear has invaded the lens through which we see love and the ways in which our traditions interpret God and our relationship with the divine.
From this viral fear, we have created the divisions and separations in the name of this God. Permeating our consciousness, fear has created an alternate reality wherein anxiety, craziness, and traumas seem more real than truth.
Amidst our chaos, there still remains a longing for authentic love. Love that is not toxic, not manipulative, not controlling, not fear-inducing, and not destructive, but instead makes us whole and complete.
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from Section 1 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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