I have been thinking about this a lot lately. One of the things I learned growing up in the temple was that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s understandings are not our understandings. Lately, I have been wondering if we put God in a box because it is what we have been taught to think about God. I guess what brought me to this place was the scripture from 1 John 4:8 that says God is love. ok, so what is love and how does it shape how I think about God.
A while back I wrote a piece called Mastering Love. One of the things I wrote about there was that love has no obligations. As I have learned to embody love without obligations in my life, I have come to realize that what I do or do not do is out of my free will; it is because I want to do whatever I have done or said. When I have felt pressured or obligated to do something for someone, it has come from a sense of fear of what might happen or what others might think if I do not do X. In thinking about this in terms of God who is love, I have come to the understanding that God is not obligated to do anything for any of us. If God does anything for us in our lives, it is because God wants to, not because God has to. What I do in my life for God is because I want to, not because I have to.
A second lesson I learned is that love has no expectations. So what expectations do we have of God? If we expect God to do something for us, then it creates an obligation for God and that would not be love. I have heard some people say they were angry at God because God did not answer their prayers as they expected. Perhaps it is time for us to examine what expectations we have of God in our lives. Do we expect God to do more for us then we are willing to do for ourselves? Do we expect that God is going to negate our free will and stop us from doing what we have chosen to do? Do we expect that God is going to maintain this world on earth as it is in heaven, when our actions destroy what God created? What would happen if we released our expectations of God? If we no longer expected God to do certain things, then could we be hurt when those things did not happen? Do we think that God has certain expectations of us? When we release our expectations, then we cannot be hurt because we were not expecting anything in the first place.
A third lesson I learned is that love is respectful. If God respects us then God respects our right to make decisions for ourselves, think for ourselves, and live our life according to our wishes and desires. To force us to live according to God’s will is to strip us of our free will and place us in a position of spiritual slavery and that is not respectful. Because God’s love for us come from a place of respect, God honors our free will. What we do with our free will is about us. if we use our free will in ways that create a legacy of love, peace, compassion, and justice that is our choice. It is also our choice when we make choices out of fear, anger, prejudice, and frustration,
God’s love comes from a place of compassion. We all go through trials in our life. While I I do not believe God feels sorry for us, I do know that God feels compassion for us. Because God is respectful, God does not try to solve problems for us, but has given us the free will, the power and the knowledge to fix things for ourselves. When God does something it is because God wants to, not because God has to or is expected to.
God’s love is responsible. God is responsible for God’s choices, but is not responsible for our choices. We are also not responsible for the choices God makes. To do so is disrespectful. It is as if we are saying God is not capable of being responsible for what God does or does not do.
God’s love is kind. What God does is because God wants to, not out of obligation. What God does comes with no strings attached. If and when God does something, there is nothing required in return. It just is.
God’s love is unconditional. God loves people just as they are. You are who you are and I am who I am. We do not have to change in order for God to love us. Nor should God have to change in order for us to love God. We may however, have to develop a new way of thinking about God that moves beyond our traditional ways of thinking and understanding.