Be still and quiet for a moment, and ask yourself, “What does God think about me?”
Maybe your stomach gets knotted up. You imagine that God must surely disapprove of you, and has all sorts of judgments against you. It’s discouraging. You already dislike yourself, and so it’s better not to think about God. I know the feeling.
Have you ever woke up in the morning, planning to live a perfect day? Doesn’t it seem like little wrong thoughts bring you down? And then, there are slip-ups and full on bad choices. It makes a person just want to give up. Who can be perfect? Certainly not us. Is God always mad and disappointed?
I want to tell you that God does not think about you and me that way. He doesn’t relate to us according to our sins. Let me explain with an example. Let’s compare two people, a Judge and a Father, and our relationship with each.
If I’m in court, standing in front of a Judge, my relationship with that Judge is based on how well I followed the law. If I’ve kept the law, my relationship with the Judge will be good. But for however much I’ve broken the law, that’s how much the relationship will become negative… The Judge and I are now at odds. The Judge disapproves, and decrees penalties against me.
Let’s think of a Father. Many of you reading this don’t know what it’s like to have a good Father, so you will have to imagine. When you’re standing in front of your Father, the relationship is based on his unconditional love for you. Whether you’ve done good or bad, he still connects and relates to you based on his Father’s love. When you’ve done good, he’s ecstatic. When you’ve done bad, he’s upset and concerned, but he doesn’t throw out penalties against you. Instead, the Father gives whatever consequences will help you grow. Your value does not diminish in his eyes.
If you have asked Jesus to be your Savior, God is no longer your Judge, he’s your Father.
The reason God is your Father, and not the Judge, is because Jesus took the penalties for us when he died on the cross. That put an end to sin coming between you and God. It’s all dealt with; judgment is satisfied. Now, when you come to God, he’s your Father. The Bible says that you can run to him, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
Yes, God still cares about sin. The reason is that sin hurts the people God loves – you and me. Imagine if someone you loved had cancer. Wouldn’t you hate the cancer, because it’s hurting the one you love? God hates sin for the same reason. Therefore, God wants to help us overcome sin. He doesn’t want it to remain in our lives, and cause death bit by bit. God wants to heal you and me, and set us free!
Therefore, the Bible says that we should draw close to our Father God, and let him care for us: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7) He is ready to meet your needs – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Also, we should submit to his leadership and discipline. Every good Father disciplines his child. That word discipline means to correct in a way that will bring healing and growth.
Here’s what the Bible says: “For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child.” (Hebrews 12:6) That means that God won’t leave you stuck in the mud. He will correct you so that you can heal, and he will bring healthy consequences so that you will grow. He’s a good Father! You’re his child. Let him do this for you.
However, if a person rejects God as their Father (and Jesus as their Savior) all that’s left is God’s judgment. That’s a scary thing, because we are all sinners. You and I need him as our Father.
I want to point your attention to three examples of how Jesus interacted with “sinners”. Jesus is God’s son, and he represented God when he was on earth. These three examples show what God thinks about you and me.
First, the woman caught in adultery: There was a woman who the religious leaders caught in the very act of adultery (cheating on a spouse). They threw her in front of Jesus and said that according to the law she must die. Jesus said, “Whichever of you has never sinned, let him throw the first stone at her.” They all walked away. Jesus said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Do you see that God doesn’t want to condemn us? That’s not his heart toward you. But he does want us to walk forward in a good way, and he’ll help you do that. (John 8:1-11)
Second, the tax collector, Zacchaeus: This man, Zacchaeus, was a traitor to his people. He sold out to the Roman government and took the position of Tax Collector. He would collect taxes from his own Jewish people, and send it to the Romans. But on top of that, he would take more than he should, and pocket the extra. He heard about Jesus, and wanted to see what all the talk was about. But, Zacchaeus was a short man, and in order to see Jesus above the crowd, he climbed up into a tree. Jesus saw him up there and said, “Zacchaeus! Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” This was an amazing honor. Back in those days, if someone important was a guest in your house, it meant they approved of you. The religious leaders were aghast that Jesus would eat with a man like Zacchaeus. But after getting to know Jesus, Zacchaeus was so moved that he said to him, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today… For [I] have come to seek and save those who are lost.” Jesus doesn’t see you and me like society does. We aren’t scum to him. But when you get to know him, there will be an amazing change in you for all to see. (Luke 19:1-10)
Third, the Criminal on the cross: When Jesus was hung on the cross, there were two criminals who were also executed alongside him. Many of the people laughed at Jesus and spit on him. One of the criminals also mocked him. However, the other criminal said, “We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong!” Then he said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Before meeting Jesus, that criminal had no future; he could only expect darkness. But, Jesus came to give us life and light. That man suddenly had reason to hope, and a bright future ahead. God loves you. Your life will not end in despair. Jesus will be with you now, and for eternity. (Luke 23:32-43)
Do you see a bit clearer how God sees you? He doesn’t condemn you, and instead, he will heal you and help you to grow. He doesn’t despise you, or think you’re scum. On the contrary, he wants to have an intimate relationship with you. Also, he won’t leave you in your mess; he will give you a future. Jesus is indeed our Savior.
Knowing what God thinks about me has made all the difference in my life. I used to carry a lot of shame, but that’s broken off and now I run to my Father in heaven as his innocent child. I no longer hate myself, because I know he values me so much. I’m letting him discipline me, which is changing me. And I’m no longer in despair, because he’s made a way.
Tell me, what does God think about you?