As someone who is quite hard on myself (annoying character trait), I spend a lot of time thinking and convincing myself that God must be disappointed with me. After all, I’m a bit of a mess really. I sin on a constant basis, I’m forever making mistakes, and it seems like I’ve managed the awful achievement of going against pretty much everything Jesus said we should do (although I’ve never killed anyone).
This makes me sad, because I know that is not how God wants us to live. It must constantly break God’s heart to look at the world He created, and see the state it has become. It all started so well, but boy has it deteriorated since Eden. Some Christians seems happy to shift the blame onto Adam and Eve, and be done with it, but I don’t think that’s fair. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, someone else would have. I would have for sure.
When I come before God, there’s a list of hundreds, if not thousands of things that He would be disappointed in me for. The things I’ve done, the things I haven’t done. The countless times I’ve slipped up, the countless times I’ve fallen short of the mark. And I know it’s not just me – because of the fall, it’s the whole human race who is in this position:
“For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
In all honestly, sometimes this can look quite bleak. I know I find it difficult sometimes to come before God without all of my own insecurities and worries getting in the way. But there is one thing that, above all else, I need to constantly remind myself of, to continually bang into my head: God is not, has never been, and will never be disappointed with me.
But what about all the crap I do wrong? What about all the times I screw up and upset God?
It doesn’t matter, because God is never disappointed in us or with us. God loves us, with a love that no human could ever imagine. From before we were even conceived, God knew us. Our God, the Creator who made the earth and the sun and stars, knows us by name. He knew us before we knew us, before the world knew us. He loves us with a fierce and jealous love, a fire than cannot be quenched. Whether we are the holiest person on earth, or the world’s biggest sinner, God’s love is the same. There is no escaping the love of God:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)
No matter what I do, no matter how many times I screw up and stumble on this journey, God will never stop loving me. He will never get disappointed in me, never be let down, never feel anything but love. This is such a mind-blowing thing, especially in a world that is only too keen to judge, lambast and criticise. But the reality of God is that He is different. He is not of the world, He is God. He is above and beyond our understanding.
This reality in my life slowly changed the way I viewed God. I no longer kept seeing Him as the disappointed father or teacher, shaking His head at everything I do wrong and constantly letting me know His disappointment. That isn’t to say that I no longer struggle with things, and no longer feel repentant and sinful in God’s eyes – after all, we are all sinners, sin is serious, and we should repent of our sins.
But God is not disappointed. I can turn to God knowing that His love for me has been burning forever, and will continue to do so. I can turn to Him knowing that He feels nothing but love for me – no resentment, no disappointment, no feeling short-changed or let down. God is love, and God loves me. He loves you. God loves us to the point where He sent His Son down to be sacrificed for us, just so we could be in a relationship with Him. That is not the action of a disappointed, resentful God. That is the action of a God who burns with love for us, who is jealous for us and would do anything for us.
This understanding of God constantly challenges me, and constantly forces me to think differently not only about God, but about myself. Humans are very good at finding faults in themselves – it’s one of my particular strong points. God, however, looks at us completely with love. He sees us through the lens of a Father, a loving, heavenly Father who is madly, deeply and unconditionally in love with His children.
God is never disappointed. God is never let down. God will never stop loving us because we’ve mucked up. God’s grace does not have a limit – it keeps on going. God’s love is not conditional on our response to Him. God is love, and God loves us with such passion and fire that nothing could ever change that.