I Grew Up With Two Images of God
Beth Walters' Testimony
I grew up with two images of God. One was the man upstairs looking down at me and laughing at me. Keeping score of every stupid thing I did. And laughing at my pain in every horrible thing that happened to me.
The second was of a father who chose favorites and just ignored the rest, maybe looking in now and then to see if there were any changes.
I refused to acknowledge this GOD - who every now and then someone would try to talk to me about. I WOULD NOT SERVE ONE SO CRUEL!!
After 25 yrs. of heavy drinking I got help for my drinking and sobered up. Then one day in an A.A. meeting I read the part in the Big Book about serving GOD AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM. I had read this plenty of times before but hadn't given much thought about it. After all, what was the point of serving a God who had control of us and let us have such miserable lives. I mean that room, the A.A. room, was so full of pain.
But that day I read it and I felt a need in me and I asked God for the 1st time WHERE ARE YOU??
AND HE CAME and He covered me. For the first time in my life I felt what it felt like to be loved and cared for! I just felt peace as I sat there in that very unpeaceful place.
But it wasn't to last, I got saved that day at home but my new life as a Christian became a game of pretence. It opened up a door to more rules and regulation. And if I didn't follow these rules, then the Father, who loved me unconditionally, would send me to a burning pit of Hell fire where I would be tortured non-stop for eternity. This did not sound very unconditional to me!! And then the guilt for feeling this way! I would watch those who taught these rules gossip and make him or herself another man's judge and I'd wonder then what made him or her any different. Why was it ok for them to do exactly what I was forbidden to do? Then it would occur to me that deep down inside of themselves they must not believe this way.
The people who do prison and other ministries made me think, "How can you do so much in these ministries but be vague when talking to me or someone who makes them a little uncomfortable a little? Or how can you avoid us altogether?" Then I would realize I was judging them and back came the guilt, but I still couldn't seem to help still sitting back and watching and wondering what they thought. Do they just block it out? What makes them think they can pick and choose when in reality it isn't what they preach.
When I heard this doctrine of "reconciliation of all" it all just FELL INTO PLACE!! God really is UNCONDITIONAL!!!! He wants us ALL to have a revelation of this love.
I think this is what He meant when Jesus said "You have left your first love" I think when a person just seeks God and He comes to them the way He came to me, in that A.A. meeting, that kind of meeting is the way He REALLY IS! Just perfect love, unconditional love, not based on the condition of IF I do right He will love me or else.
I think that first love is what we leave when we start pretending. As we allow fear from various other sources to enter, we lose that first love.
I'm just as guilty as the next person except for one exception. Even though I'm still full of the fear of man and I'm ashamed to say I have passed up many chances to show God's love, I know my father will never leave me now or forsake me, NEVER!!! It has become revelation to me not a doctrine of men or of my mind.
He knows I've had almost 40 years of being conditioned into fear and by fear. He knows I have a lot of years of anger and pain from rejection.
Now, even when life hurts still--I am glad for the anger and pain because I know he's digging deep and bringing it out and showing it to me and He is asking, "Now why did this happen?" And the more He makes me to deal with, the less there is of it.
I have been hearing that this wonderful teaching gives people an excuse to sin and do what they please. Well, if people are doing that then the sin is still in them to do anyway and they are living a lie. They have to do these things in order for the Lord to bring it up to show them that it is there. It's out of the heart man speaks or does.
I don't think that alcohol, drugs, etc. are any more offensive to God than bitterness, unforgiveness, fears, anger, gossip, backbiting, and falsely judging. It doesn't matter anyway what we think. What matters is that God is love, love covers a multitude of sin, love NEVER FAILS, love is the greatest of all and God so Loved the world that He gave, and God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to HIMSELF.
GOD IS GOING TO SAVE ALL that's simply what it says before you add man's opinion and fears to it.