When Beliefs and Actions Collide - JennieGScott.com
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When Beliefs and Actions Collide

 

The words that stopped me cold weren’t shouted or even spoken angrily. They were gentle, coming through the speakers of my laptop. One sentence, spoken sweetly, as part of a longer podcast episode. One sentence that gave me chills:

“Never believe anything bad about God.”

Emily P. Freeman spoke these words in her episode “Remember the Real Art,” and my heart stopped for a split second.

“Never believe anything bad about God.”

I was pierced to my core because I have done just what she said not to do. I’ve believed bad things about my good God.

I’ve believed He was indifferent to my broken heart, seeing my tears as evidence of my weakness and hearing my questions as proof of my unworthiness.

I’ve believed He favors other people over me, giving them opportunities and advantages He doesn’t think I deserve.

I’ve believed He regrets the way He made me, looking at me and thinking, “What a disaster.”

I’ve believed He has ignored my cries for help.

I’ve believed He loves His other children more than me.

I’ve believed He couldn’t love someone like me.

I’ve believed the worst in my mind.

But I’ve confessed His goodness with my mouth.

My private thoughts and public confessions have disagreed. And while I may feel justified in my secret thoughts and safe from judgment because no other person knows, God does. And His knowledge is the only one that matters. He knows I doubt His goodness while simultaneously acting like I don’t.  He knows I sometimes believe the bad and pretend I don’t, but He loves me anyway. The way He sees me never changes — because He doesn’t see the sinful, screwed up person I naturally am. He sees His perfect son Jesus in me, His righteousness covering my depravity.

It seems too much to believe.

But this week, Holy Week, is the perfect time to examine what we believe. Not just that He died and rose, but that He lives within and through us. Not just that He saves us from sin, but that He only ever loves us. Not just that He made a way for us once, but that He makes ways for us daily.

I have believed wrongly about God because I have viewed God as I view people, and people have bad in them. I have assumed God sees me and treats me like people have seen and treated me. I have equated the Creator’s behavior with people’s.

And I have been wrong.

My God is good. Only and always.

My God adores me. Forever, without conditions.

My God sees me. Understands me. Hears me. Is with me.

Believing these things does not come naturally. It is not the instinct of our hearts. But “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9), so we must tell it to stop lying to our heads. We must train ourselves to believe what our sinful nature and our enemy would like us never to believe.

We must know the truth, because it is what sets us free.

This is the truth:

  • “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5).
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
  • “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
  • “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle” (Psalm 56:8).

 

I need my easily-accepted lies to be replaced with hard-won truth. So I will wrestle, daily if necessary. I will call out lies. I will examine my own thoughts. I will admit my wrong beliefs. And from this point forward, as much as I can, I will refuse to believe anything bad about God.

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