It’s really a year-round trap.
The lie that we need to be a better person for God to love us. Or that if we could reach the idea of perfection we have in our minds, God would like us more.
We’re right to think our sins keep us from God. But our sins do not keep God from us. His infinite love is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The reason for becoming more virtuous is to enable us to love God more, not the other way around.
King David had an innocent man killed to cover up his violation of the man’s wife (2 Sam:2-17), and when God called him on it, he repented. God called him “a man after my own heart,” which shows us that no sin, if we receive God’s healing, can keep us from the closest intimacy with Him.
God loves us to boldly be ourselves, like David, and lean completely on Him for what we need, especially for mercy. If we’re doing that, we have nothing to fear.
Gift of fear?
But what about the “gift” of fear of the Lord? “Fear” is sometimes translated as “reverence.” St. Hilary of Poitiers explained it this way: “Fear of God consists wholly in love, and perfect love of God brings our fear of him to its perfection. Our love for God is entrusted with its own responsibility: to observe his counsels, to obey his laws, to trust his promises.
“Let us hear what Scripture says: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God and walk in his ways and love him and keep his commandments with your whole heart and your whole soul, so that it may be well for you?”
So that it may be well for you.
Why do we fall into the trap of seeing God more as a prison guard than a caring Father? Do we really think we can “impress” the one who made the whole universe?
Remembering a beloved parent, teacher, or coach and how we feared to disappoint them because of our respect for them is a better way to envision “fear of the Lord.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta summed it up this way: “He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”
Let’s ponder this week how much we’re loved by God, and in this love deepen the meaning of our Lenten sacrifices.
Thank you so much, Rose.
Thank you. Something just clicked with your explanation.. Brought back memories as a child and how I wouldn’t want to disappoint our Lord by sinning. As an adult, after falling into greater sin, it distorted my way of looking at our Father as a prison guard. He is still our Father, full of love and mercy!
Some things I have to work on.
Thanks for Sharing
How helpful!!! Many thanks for sharing.
Thank you Rose.
Jumping through the Lenten hoops: Lobster Newburg instead of prime rib on Fridays? Swearing off Godiva chocolates? Instead of trying to look good for God during Lent, try the year-round relationship with God a rabbi named Rachel Stein describes in the book “How Doctors Think.” The author, Jerome Groopman, M.D. writes:
Then she explained how she saw the world: “God is like a best friend for me.” A best friend. A friend you can always call upon. A friend who never deserts you. A friend who offers wisdom and resources without question. A friend you can bounce ideas off of with complete trust in his integrity. A friend you can reveal feelings to without fear that he might exploit your vulnerability.
Thank you Rose – much Love and Peace with Him this Lenten journey!
Etoile de France Hawkins
Thanks so much for sharing. May God continue to bless us all.
Amen, Etoile. He’s blessing us more than we realize! Thanks for your comment.
Addie Lou Willis
This is such a help. Thank you! – Addie Lou
Rose, Thank you for sharing! It is good to have these reminders of the Love God has for us! I want to live according to His Words & continuing to live according to His Will & What He has set before me!