Saturday, July 25, 2009

Missing the mark

The tiger has been having a lot of trouble with sleepless nights lately. This is another in the series. I don't mean to imply that I get NO sleep. I usually make it through one dream cycle, and that is about it. Tonight was a nightmare on many levels. On one level I found myself in a position that compromised my principles. If that wasn't enough to disturb me, the Dream Weaver added a deadly threat to the mix; a man that would turn to half man, half wolf at the slightest provocation. Of course, the provocation was the my failure to live as I thought I should be living. The man walked by me, stopped at a closet, stared at me in disgust, then walked out, leaving me with an ominous sense that he would be back to lay me to destruction.

I was frightened, but realized that fear was a detriment to self-defense. Fear is like a fire alarm. It only warns you about the danger. You can't use the alarm to extinguish the fire. You can't use fear to mitigate a threat. I had to shift my thinking to taking defensive action. I was waiting calmly for the man to return, and I was prepared to kill him anyway I could if I had to. I didn't have to; I woke up.

I know where the dream came from. Two things have been on my mind lately that mashed together in the dream. One you already heard about—love; loving one self. The other was failure to do what is right. In the religious vernacular it is called, “sin.”

This is going to be hard to explain correctly. It is an understanding about “sin” that may or may not be common. I could be the only one in the world with this understanding, but I don't think so. When I think of sin, included in that thought would be God and punishment. In my mind the act of doing wrong or, failing to do right, the relationship with God, and punishment are wrapped up in the word “sin.” If I “sin,” I can expect punishment from God in the form of condemnation and hell.

Also, fundamental Christianity says the “believer” that is “living in sin” will not be condemned, but is separated from God. So, sin includes the the excommunication from God. At the same time, we read in the Bible that “God will not forsake you,” and that if you confess your sins, that God will restore the communication with you. In other words, God responds to my failures with disgust, anger , and with retribution.

WRONG! How could I have gotten this so WRONG?

I have heard preachers tell me that God's love is unconditional, that He will never forsake me. I have heard one preacher postulate, “If you are feeling distant from God, guess who moved.” Both of these thoughts are, in fact, correct. So, how did I get this so wrong?

Have I not said in previous posts how the human mind can have the facts and still draw the wrong conclusion? The root of the problem is my self hatred. This hatred defies and overrides all logic. God loves me unconditionally. When I fail to do what is right, He stands by me and encourages me to correct it. He does not condemn and abandon me. He works with me, and will continue to work with me until someday, I get it right. That's the fact. Even so, the hatred I have for myself tells me that God can't possibly love me. I condemn myself. Surely God would condemn me, too.

If you, like me, are trapped by self hatred, if you believe in the unconditional love of God, then you must just let that be. Find a way to come into agreement with God on that issue, and a whole new world will open up. You see, God is not withholding anything from you. You are closing yourself off and refusing to let His love work in you. I see it this way: I am alive. God created me. If He created me, He loves me. Then I need to love myself, too. As the Apostle Paul would say, if God is for me, who could be against me?

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