I once owed Father God a HUGE apology. You see, I came to salvation with a whole boatload of baggage that I wasn’t ready to unpack until decades later. I didn’t even know what was in that luggage back then, and that was because of God’s mercy in hindsight.
However, my picture of Father God was skewed at best and twisted and perverted at worst. Although I quickly memorized John 3:16, as all new believers do, I skimmed over the “For God so loved the world…” part as it didn’t make sense to me. God didn’t love me, or so I thought. He put up with me because of His Son. I secretly believed that God sent His Son down to Earth in hopes of making all of us into Jesus clones. If He did love me, it probably wasn’t a very safe sort of love.
My twisted theology went like this: Jesus took my punishment, appeasing God’s wrath. He gave me needed space between myself and His Father. I knew Jesus’ death on the cross won my salvation. My past sins were dealt with once and for all. But in my distorted view of God, I ‘just knew’ that at any time, I could face God’s wrath if I ever showed up in His presence not covered over by the Robes of Righteousness. I believed the Robes of Righteousness kept ME hidden from God, sufficiently disguising me. They were my cloak of invisibility. Jesus stood between His angry Father and me, keeping me safe.
When I look back, I realise that I thought of those robes as a costume covering me from head to foot. God couldn’t see me as I was dressed in my “Jesus” costume. I was safe from His wrath – as long as I kept my nose clean. One slip up, one incident of getting those robes torn or dirty, and I might be exposed.
A church I went to as a new believer often sang this chorus:
“I Am Covered Over with The Robe of Righteousness
I am covered over with the robe of righteousness that
Jesus gives to me, gives to me;
I am covered over with the precious blood of Jesus
And he lives in me; he lives in me,
Oh, what a joy it is to know my Heavenly Father loves me so,
He gives to me my Jesus,
When He looks at me, He sees not what I used to be, but
He sees Jesus.”
I loved this song as a young Christian! It made sense to me, although I saw it through the lens of a horrendous theology base that stemmed from my past experiences. You see, I knew my earthly father loved me, even in his extreme brokenness. But in his brokenness, he wounded me in the name of love. Those wounds went deep, very deep. I had a hard time believing any God named Father wasn’t going to hurt me. So I was grateful for the shield He gave me in Jesus. That was sweet of Him to do so, even though He just put up with me, or so I thought. Jesus would take the blows for me if I ever screwed up. Jesus would run defense to make sure I stayed protected against any surprises. Jesus was on my team.
I praise God for sound teaching, counselling, and prayer that helped me to repent (turn away from, rethink, change my mind) from such a distorted belief. Although I am still working on my relationship with Father God, I know He understands. He is infinitely patient with me even as I test that patience repeatedly. God never stops loving and never stops forgiving. Father God never stops inviting me closer to a safe place. I’ve come a long way, and my Heavenly Father is guiding me along.
I owed Father God an apology. He understood where I was coming from and slowly dismantled my twisted view of what a Father’s love truly was.
I know now that God loves me and loved me long before the Cross. Before He created the world, Father God loved me. He knows what I look like and knows what I try to hide from Him, He knows what I sometimes think about Him, and yet, Father God still loves me unconditionally. He’s always been on my side. It’s never been Team Jesus, with Jesus running defence between Father God and me. Every good thing that Jesus has ever done for me and every good thing God has done through me is an expression of Father God’s infinite love. It blows my mind even to consider this truth, but the truth is, Father God is proud of me.
My earthly father was unable to be the dad I am sure he wanted to be. As a result, I found it a challenge to enter into a heart relationship with my Father God. My heart grieves at the distance I sometimes put between myself and Him. He’s safe, and He’s kind. Father God is a wise, gentle disciplinarian who respects me. He listens to me while offering me advice and counsel. God has no motivation but to see me flourish and grow. He likes to hang out with me, He likes to make me laugh, and He likes my silly side. God loves me just because I am me.
And so I say to Papa God, “Thank you for being a safe Father. You are my Father who went to the ends of the Earth to rescue me, and You gave your all to prove your love.”
Until Next Week,