God, love, and anger.

I’ve recently started reading “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles’” by Marianne Williamson.  I have always loved the quote from this book,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I have, in fact, built my life around that last part.  You have probably read me say things in this spirit before, like last week when I talked about being Shameless.

I decided to read the whole book and was gifted a Kindle edition.  So I’ve started.  (I’ve also been reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love at the same time– both, incredible.  And very balancing, in an odd way.)  Maybe there is a theme here.  Maybe when I am done with both, I will write a post, or book, on both.  And I can call it “Returning to Crazy Love.” 🙂

But, I digress… back to Williamson.

There is something very right about her thinking.  I have never read “A Course in Miracles,” so I must only go by her reflections and scattered quotes.  I have just started chapter 2.  Chapter 1 focuses a lot on our fear.  Everyone’s fear.  The culture of fear we live in and all the many ways we reflect it.  It resonates with me, greatly.  Now, Chapter 2 is on God.  I am curious about Williamson’s God.  She makes it clear from the start that she is not supporting Christianity, although the principles do apply.  It sounds a lot like Christianity, though.  Enough to be useful to a Christian, or non-Christian, but confusing to someone who’s in between.  And then I hit a sentence which made certain that, although similar in many ways, Williamson’s God is not my God.

I highlighted this:

“Rather than accepting that we are the loving beings that He created, we have arrogantly thought that we could create ourselves, and then create God.  Because we are angry and judgmental, we have projected those characteristics onto Him.  We have made up a God in our image.  But God remains who He is…”

Good so far, right?

I think this is many people’s perception of God.  Whether or not they mean it to be.

But then this:

“God remains who He is…the thought of unconditional love.  He cannot think with anger or judgment; He is mercy and compassion and total acceptance.”

Hmm… Well… kind of?  It cannot be accurate that God cannot be angry or judge.  He is THE judge.  And He hates sin.  Cue the tape of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple.  Oh, He gets angry.  And there is acceptance, but not TOTAL acceptance.  Sin cannot be accepted.  God has standards.  What kind of a walk-all-over-me doormat God would He be if He COULD not be angry.  If He accepted everything?  He’d be an abused, co-dependent God.  He would not be a God worthy of praise and awe.

That said, there’s something to this.   What about for the Christian?  What about post-judgment?  I imagine this is exactly what our forever-reining, Satan-defeated God would be like.  With no cause for anger, judgment… or even mercy.  Overwhelming, total acceptance.  Dripping with love and compassion (while being powerful and awe-inspiring).

Jesus got angry.  It’s a quality talked about in the last book I read, Beautiful Outlaw.  The personality of Jesus.  God has emotions.  There are times when God is angry.  There are times when we should be angry.  But He is not angry all the time. And neither should we be.  God doesn’t have a problem with rage.  But when you look at His response to sin… rage certainly describes it.  Jesus has harsh words for the Pharisees… but with little exception, he does not speak this way with “sinners.”  He does not speak this way to His disciples.  There are times when I sin and I wonder– is God angry at me? Or disappointed? Perhaps I will understand a bit better when I have children of my own.  Or maybe God will have to just explain it to me one day.

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