I’m sorry my writing has been so sporadic lately. I’ve been busy with school and I’ve been fighting off a particularly bad bout of depression for a few weeks now. I’ll try to write as often as I can, but I need the extra rest lately. Thanks for understanding!
A couple of weeks ago, Mark Driscoll decided to preach a sermon telling people, “Some of you, God hates you,” and I decided to forgive him for that. I wrote a post in which I decided that I was going to show God’s love by loving Mark Driscoll.
That post went on to become the most popular post I’ve ever written, so naturally, it got a wide variety of responses. Some people agreed with what I had to say. Many people also had a hard time loving ol’ Mark. Others defended Driscoll’s views.
And then, there were a few people who responded with something like this, “It’s just Driscoll. He says stupid things all the time. Just don’t let him bother you.”
That’s not bad advice. But it’s not easy for me to let Driscoll’s words go in one ear and out the other. They always get tangled up in my brain somewhere. It’s not easy to ignore his words…
…because sometimes I believe them.
When Mark Driscoll pointed his finger at his audience and said, “God hates you, ” I felt like he was pointing his finger at me. He obviously wasn’t (unless one of you told him about the jacket!), but his words still cut straight to my heart.
My head knows that God is a God of love. My head knows that God loved me enough to die for me (and there’s no greater love than that!). But my heart isn’t as convinced by Biblical evidence. My heart wonders…
Driscoll’s words brought me back to elementary school, when I would sit in my room almost every night and cry, and pray the “salvation prayer” over, and over. I would put inflections on different words, or switch phrases around, because I just couldn’t convince myself that I’d said it “right.” I would try to believe more or feel more sorry. I couldn’t just believe that God really wanted to save me.
Driscoll’s words brought me back to high school, when I used to imagine God sitting up in heaven, looking down at me, just waiting for me to sin so he could shake his head and scribble my latest mistake down in his notebook.
Driscoll’s words brought me back to college, when every “Jesus is my boyfriend” worship song in chapel tempted me to picture Christ as my abusive ex–slapping me across the face across the face when I made a mistake, yelling and screaming and pushing me, telling me I deserved it for the way I was acting.
Driscoll’s words brought me back to every nightmare I’ve ever had about hell. To every cut I’ve ever made on my arm because I didn’t believe God’s grace was enough. To every panic attack I’ve had while wondering whether or not I was one of the “elect.”
The truth is, I’ve spent most of my life believing that God hated me.
Now, I know that isn’t true. But somewhere deep down inside of me, there is fear. Horrible, dark, ugly fear. Fear that is crippling and paralyzing. Fear that makes me wish I were an atheist so that I could stop wondering whether or not God truly loves me.
God’s given me courage over the years to face that fear, and God’s shown me glimpses of his character that help me combat that fear.
Now I know that God isn’t in heaven with a notebook, jotting down all my sins. Now I know that he is walking next to me when I mess up, putting his arm around me and saying, “I remember when I was tempted with that sin. It was hard for me to say no, and I’m freaking God! I’m here for you–you’re not alone.”
Still, even when I can almost physically feel God’s loving arms around me, words like Driscoll’s feed that fear. Words like Driscoll’s are to my fear as water is to Gremlins (I would have owned the SAT, obviously). His words leave me wondering, “Is it true? Does God really hate me?”
Right now I’m at a loss for how to combat that fear. I’ve been depressed and discouraged, bordering on despair.
But I know God’s holding on to me.
Because he loves me.
Do you ever doubt God’s love and grace? Are you ever tempted to believe that his love for you is conditional? What brings you comfort when faced with these terrifying lies?