A guest post by Robert Milton.
“There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.”
I’ve heard this saying a thousand times growing up…and I have a problem with it. Now, it most certainly is true. My problem, as is my problem with most things, is that it isn’t fair.
First, I can completely disregard the first half of the statement, the part where there’s nothing I could do to make God love me more. Here I say— rather non-poetically—no freakin’ kidding! To think that I…a weak, broken, 30-something year old male riddled with doubts and insecurities could actually “do” anything to make the creator of the universe love me more is completely asinine.
But certainly there are things I could “do” to make God love me less. Again, the saying is true…just not fair; or better yet, it’s impossible to comprehend. You see, my problem with this saying is also the same problem a lot of my friends have as they wrestle with the idea of trusting a God they cannot see:
The things we have done.
How is it possible that I haven’t “done” anything to make God love me less? I’ve murdered, stolen, committed adultery, cheated, lied, idolized, envied. I’ve wished the worst possible things on other people. I’ve tasted the fruit of bitterness and relished every bite. I’ve bowed down to statues of myself…and I’ve done all of these a thousand times over. Now, some of these things I haven’t physically and literally “done,” but in my heart, I’m guilty of them all.
This is what I struggle with. The chains and scars of an ugly past are only a thought or two away, and it’s easy for me to believe the skeletons in my closet are still alive and breathing. It’s easy for us to look at our past and think we’re not worth the spilt blood of a man we may or may not fully believe in. And maybe I’m writing this to continue to convince myself, rather than others, that because I have decided to trust Jesus, my old self has gone and the new me has come. Hard to believe, I know. But deep down inside, I trust the words of Jesus.
Many of my friends have a problem with Christianity…and rightly so on some points. They see hypocrites, pain, backstabbing, lies…you know the list. And we’re guilty on all counts. Christianity is full of imperfect, broken, messed-up people struggling daily with their inward battles of pride and selfishness. What I read from Jesus is that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), not judge others (Matthew 7:1), and we should give to the poor and destitute (Mark 6:30). I trust his words when he says we should serve others (Mark 10:43). And most importantly, I believe his words when I read, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
So yes…I will believe there isn’t anything I can do to make God love me less. And yes…I still believe it’s unfair. But fairness gets me death…fairness separates me from God for all eternity. That’s what we deserve. But for those that bumble and stumble through this race with me, if our faith is in Christ, that’s not what we’ll get.
I’ve never been so happy to be treated unfairly.