Monday, October 31, 2011
Skipping the Middle Part
Several weeks ago I heard a pastor talk about how people often go through rough times and believe that, during those times, God hates them. This comment came as a bit of shock to me as I don't think I've ever felt that way. Of course, there have been times when I've wondered "Why me?" or fervently prayed, "Help me, help me, help me...." But believing God hated me? Never.
I pondered this for a while and came to the conclusion that it is probably due to my faith background. You see, I wasn't raised in church. Up until the age of about 5, I attended Sunday school with my aunt. My parent's didn't go to church but my uncle's wife taught Sunday school at a local church. On Sundays, they would come by my house to pick me up and take me to church with them. This ended when I was about 5 when they moved out of state. Although I didn't attend church again until I was an adult, what I learned during those early years really stuck. Children in Sunday school are taught "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children." And most of the Bible stories taught in Sunday school are about how God shows his love.
As church goers age, they're exposed to more serious parts of the Bible and are taught about wrath and anger and that sort of stuff. Since I didn't go to church during those years, I missed out on that part of Christian education. Once I started going back to church as a young adult, I already had in my mind a loving God rather than a vengeful one. No matter how many sermons I heard about God's anger and his desire to punish us, it never shook that foundation of love.
So I'm glad I skipped the middle part. Since I never learned about the possibility that God could hate me, I've never felt that way and don't need to be retaught about the love of God. Perhaps churches should skip that middle part as well; that would certainly save a lot of sermons and time.
(Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1364014)