A letter on a VERY common problem--relating to God the Father...


I recently got this letter, which sounded all to familiar to so many others...

Due to a rather horrendous childhood I have had an extremely difficult time accepting a caring God into my way of thinking. I have partially overcome that failing, but I find myself thinking of God in the context of a judge, someone to be honored and feared, but not loved. All the literature I read goes to our duty to love God. I find this very difficult, am I missing something and will it cause my ultimate rejection by God?

I responded:

This is actually not a problem with Him...love is first of all a commitment (actually a covenant to focus on the welfare of another, as a high priority in allocating personal resources) and only LATER an 'emotion'...emotions 'grow' and for some, the emotional components of a healthy relationship with the Father do not 'make' until the other side of death...and some have one aspect of the emotional life ('affection') WITHOUT some of the others (e.g. "respect", "confiding")...

ALL of us have issues that retard one or more aspects of the relationship more than the other aspects...

For example, my father was generally travelling as I formed my option of 'fathers'...and so God the Father was simply not expected to 'be there' for the first several years--I focused mostly on the Lord Jesus...and over time, through interacting with the Father and seeing how Jesus spoke of Him, my warmth and affection began to grow...

Then, the relationship SWITCHED!--and I was closer (emotionally) to the Father (Who had at this point re-parented me through providence) than with Jesus (Who now became a surrogate for all the peer males that rejected me!)...and so

They began to work on THAT aspect of my relationship with the Triune God...

Fortunately, those aspects and side-effects of the relationship are mostly God's responsibility, and we just spend time with God and He rubs off on us...

So, first of all, His expectation of you is FAITH (which you have some control over)--NOT emotion (which can change with a head-cold, or bad pizza!)...His burden is easy and his yoke is light (Mt 11.28-30)...

I hope this makes sense...some aspects of our personal relating take longer than others, but you are on the right track...to be concerned about it before Him, wanting to do the right thing vis-a-vis Him, ALREADY shows commitment to trying to please Him...

(I might also suggest that you listen to a lecture series of mine that a friend has on real-audio. It is on the subject of changing our perceptions of God into something delightful...you might try those...some people are finding those helpful...)

let me know how it goes...keep in touch...

warmly,

glenn miller


The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)