Ever Feel Like God Doesn’t Really Like You?

by | Oct 12, 2018 | Faith, Uncategorized | 48 comments

Sometimes our beliefs about God don't reflect what the Bible is actually trying to teach us. It is so common for Christians to suffer from low self-esteem because we don't truly believe in the personal gospel message over our own lives. Here are some insights on how to change your view of God!
Merchandise is Here!

Sometimes, when I look at what Christians believe about God, I think: No wonder so many Christians have such low self-esteem!

I recently received a letter from a woman that I think is a really important one.A woman writes about all the theology that she’s been taught, and how it makes her feel like God tolerates her, but that’s about it. I get it. I really do.
Can you relate to this?:

Here’s what I’ve been taught: I am a sinner saved by grace, which means there’s nothing I can ever do to make God love me any more or less. All my best efforts are so tainted with sin that they’re disgusting to God. I am the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the worst of all sinners, and should be overflowing with gratitude that God loves me anyway, not because of who I am, but because when he looks at me he sees Jesus, because Jesus took my place. I just feel worthless. It’s the equivalent of my husband only being able to make love to me if he imagines I’m someone else! I don’t want God to love me just because it’s in his nature as a loving God, I don’t want him to accept me even though I’m really not worth it. I want him to like me!! I want to make him smile – not in the patronising way that some analogies use of me being his toddler daughter who makes him smile when she paints a messy picture. Don’t get me wrong: I accept that God loves me through grace and I am grateful for his acceptance. But I don’t want to stay there. I want God to be genuinely pleased with me – the actual me – and not to cast me aside to look at Jesus instead because that’s the only way he can stomach me. Is that really so wrong? And if so, how do I get to the place where I’m okay with God thinking I’m basically a bit rubbish and not end up with low self esteem? And if God adores me and rejoices over me with singing and I’m the apple of his eye then why does the teaching on grace (ironically my middle name and the one my Mum uses for me) always make me feel that God doesn’t like me (like when I did something naughty and Mum said ‘I’ll always love you but I don’t like you right now’)?

Sometimes I think many people know everything about God, but don’t know Him at all. People who teach this kind of stuff–I would definitely put them in this category. And this letter writer is right. Too often it’s portrayed that we are slime that God deigns to have a relationship with. And never forget you are slime!
So I have a simple little exercise that I often give people who struggle with how God feel about them.

If you want to know what God thinks of you, picture Jesus.

What did Jesus do when He was on earth? He genuinely enjoyed people!
I love this story that appears in Mark 2:

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Now, here’s a question for you: How did the teachers of the law know that He was eating with tax collectors and sinners? My guess is because they were pretty loud. This wasn’t just a few people having dinner together. This was a whole lot of people together having fun! And nothing bothers those mostly concerned about righteousness as other people laughing and having fun. And I’d bet that’s what was going on!

People flocked to Jesus because they wanted to be near Him. What kind of person do those of all social strata long to be near?

It isn’t a killjoy. It isn’t someone who goes around all the time saying, “you’re not worthy.” It’s someone who takes an interest in you, who talks to you and really knows you, and most of all–someone who laughs and makes jokes. Someone who genuinely enjoys life! I think Jesus genuinely enjoyed being with people and genuinely enjoyed life. I think He laughed a lot. After all, kids loved Jesus, and kids don’t love people who are going around being serious all the time.
Now, Jesus also said this:

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9; NIV)

When we see Jesus, we see what God is like. And so if Jesus laughed with people; if Jesus genuinely enjoyed people; if Jesus wanted to hang out with people–then Jesus wants to laugh with you. He genuinely enjoys you.

God Finds You Interesting

If those theologians are right, and God barely tolerates us, then I don’t think God would have created us in the way that He did. I’ve been reading through Dorothy Sayers’ book The Mind of the Maker, and her central premise in that book is that God is a creative God, and since He made us in His image, He made us to be creative, too. When we create–through art, literature, hobbies, anything–we participate in a godly endeavour.
If God truly despised us and tolerated us only because of Jesus, then there would be nothing worthwhile that we would ever do. He would have created us to simply worship Him and do nothing of our own accord. But on the contrary, He made us to also be creative–meaning that He actually values our own initiative and our own creation. It makes Him happy. And that means that you have the capacity to make God happy!

God Understands that We’re Human

One of my favourite stories is found in John 21, after the resurrection. The disciples had seen Jesus risen, but didn’t know what to do with themselves now. They were despondent, and had gone back to fishing. Jesus comes to them one morning, and the first thing he does is make them breakfast. Then He tells them, “Eat.”
He’s worried about them because He knows they’re hungry, and seriously–you can’t have a difficult conversation on an empty stomach. He understood where they were coming from!

Personally, I think sometimes we spend too much time on theology and not enough time just looking at Jesus.

Yes, we are born in sin, and we need Jesus for righteousness. But that does not mean that God is not pleased with us or does not take delight in us.
The doctrine that this woman is referring to insinuates that God doesn’t want to be anywhere near us except for Jesus–so He doesn’t really know us. Jesus and much of Scripture show us the opposite. God does want to be near us, and not only because He loves us, but because He notices us. Think of all the people that are named by actual name in the Old and New Testaments. Those names are all that remain of many of them; no stories or details. But those people were important enough to God that He wanted them remembered. Whenever you read those lists of names that seem so boring, just think: God wanted those people preserved because they mattered to Him.
You matter. You. Not just because of Jesus, but because of you. You were made in God’s image. You were given unique giftings and talents so that you could do amazing things on this earth, that God looks forward to enjoying! (Ephesians 2:10). He likes to laugh with you. He genuinely enjoys you. And if you’re surrounded by theology that teaches you otherwise–well, perhaps it’s time to get in touch with some different theology!
Have you ever felt like this woman does–like all the things that you’re taught about God makes God seem rather, well, mean? What was the revelation for you? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sometimes our beliefs about God don't reflect what the Bible is actually trying to teach us. It is so common for Christians to suffer from low self-esteem because we don't truly believe in the personal gospel message over our own lives. Here are some insights on how to change your view of God!
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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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48 Comments

  1. Bethany

    I don’t have much to add to the discussion but I have been processing this “God only loves you because of Jesus/focus on how terrible you are” teaching that I apparently have really internalized and never questioned for a few months now, and I’m really happy to see you tackling it here. It honestly never occurred to me that it was so off base until recently – just figured not believing it meant I was being too easy on myself and to believe otherwise was to be deluded. Still processing, but I’m thankful to add you to the chorus of voices telling me this actually just isn’t true.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s wonderful, Bethany! I really do think that a lot of church leaders get so caught up in theology they forget about the actual, living Christ who is with us. And they forget to look at Jesus. They’d rather parse words in the epistles (I love the epistles, by the way–I just think sometimes we forget about Jesus)!

      Reply
    • lydia purple

      Bethany, I think this is outright false teaching that God loves us only us because of Jesus. In fact He loved us so much that while we were still sinners He send Jesus to make a way to reconcile us with himself. When we were stuck in sin, He did everything it took to make a way for us to restore the relationship. It is not that we earned his love by believing in Jesus or that we gained worth because of Jesus, rather our worth to Him and His love for us are evident in that he send Jesus and sacrificed his only son for us. He loved us so much that when we had no way of making right what we messed up He provided the way for us to come back to the relationship we were created to have with Him.
      God does not change. He is love. He made us good, in His image and to be one with Him. This never changed. He always wanted us, He always loved us. Our sin didn’t change God’s heart. It only changed were we stood in the relationship because of the choice we made. Through Jesus we have the opportunity to come back to God in faith and trust. He gives us a new heart that is able to stay in that relationship, he restores our call and purpose. But our worth was there from the beginning, Gods love for us, too. If think about it He took a huge risk paying a high price to demonstrate His love for us without knowing if we would even accept this peace offering. Still the choice is ours to accept His love for us or to reject it.

      Reply
      • Lydia purple

        In a way one can even say that people who reject the free offer of God’s love through Jesus are not actually getting “punished” to be eternally separated from God. In Jesus they have been offered to be in fellowship with God, they don’t want that – so God is just honoring the choice. He will not impose himself upon people who don’t want him. They simply reap a consequence of their choice.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s always how I’ve seen it, too. And it’s also why I think that those who deliberately turn against God later in life will not be with Him in eternity, no matter what they may have said as a child. God honours our choices. He doesn’t force Himself on us.

          Reply
  2. Flo&Dean

    It is important that we remember how imperfect we are. It helps us forgive, accept and love others, in spite of their imperfections.
    But feeling fundamentally unloved and unlovable is a different thing. It is a sign of depression, and it is not a concept that should not be pushed upon people. And if somebody feels that way, they need to get help, they need to discuss with loved ones, friends, counselors, pastors. They need to learn to find, recognize, express, believe in the good in them.

    Reply
    • Tisha Baxter

      I’ve been rejected by the church laughed at and belittled . My family did not want me and left me and I get glimpses of the savior but feel when I make mistakes he just dumps me again and I see him no more. I’m sad to the point I don’t even want to keep trying any more but the alternative is even worse but I just feel worthless to man and God. I just can’t seem to get up anymore or believe that I will ever get better at life and I’m just is a funny joke to good and bad le who have it all figued out.

      Reply
  3. Matt

    This topic reminds me of a line I remember from the Tom Hanks movie from a while back – “Angels & Demons.” Hanks’ character needs access to the Vatican Archives, and before he’s granted access, he’s asked, “Professor Langdon, do you believe in God?”
    He stumbles a bit with a clunky response…searching for the right words that will get him into the Archives.
    The priest who asked the question responds very plainly with, “I didn’t ask if you believe what man says about God; I asked if you believe in God.”
    Not all Theologians are bad, nor are they all good. But sometimes I think we give their analysis of His Word too much weight rather than our own personal, intimate relationship with God. God wants us to take comfort in His Word, but I think it’s clear that he wants a continually deepening and growing,intimate relationship with each of us. I don’t believe that anyone…not even the Creator of the Universe…wants something like that with someone they “tolerate.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally agree with you, Matt! Knowing the Scriptures is so important. But let’s remember that the Scriptures are meant to point us to Jesus, not Jesus to the Scriptures. Jesus is the ultimate Word of God; the living, breathing Word of God. We must filter all that we believe through Him. Too often I think people forget about the real Jesus and get too wrapped up in studying ABOUT Him.

      Reply
  4. Chris

    Sheila, you are so right here. I think jesus liked to party. When he made more wine for the wedding, he made it because they had run out. He could have cut everyone off and encouragef moderation but he didn’t did he? He kept the tipsy people tipsy. He kept the party going.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love that!

      Reply
  5. Rebecca

    One of the most encouraging and breakthrough moments of my.life was when my aunt looked me in the eye and said “Rebecca, God is for you. ” I was going through a rough time and was terribly discouraged and depressed, but that moment was the first time in my life that I felt that God wasn’t against me. It was a wonderful feeling and something I strive to remember. God is for us! It doesn’t mean he’s always pleased with us, but it does mean that he’s always pulling for us and cheering us toward the right thing. I find that immensely encouraging.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Me, too!

      Reply
  6. Phil

    I loved reading this. All I can tell you is when I read this type of think it makes me feel great. God loves me and wants me to live him back. Amen Sheila. Thanks. Have a great weekend everyone.

    Reply
  7. DragonLady

    Sheila, I appreciate this so much. And it explains so much about never feeling like I measure up. Which, I mean, I don’t, but I chewed on this all morning and something occurred to me about how the dynamic is not quite right about how God the Father looks at us. First, it’s not he looks at us and sees Jesus, it’s that we should see Jesus when we look at Him. Jesus came to us because God looks on us and loves us already. Jesus shows us that and reconciles us to God because Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” (and I paraphrased that and can’t remember which of the Gospel accounts it’s in.) I was thinking that when we see ourselves as perpetually not ever worthy of God’s love except for Jesus, we’re going to always try to work at measuring up even though we believe that Jesus is enough. It might be subconsciously. But when we believed Jesus is proof that we were already loved, it changes everything. At least for me. 🙂

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s great! I especially like this: “First, it’s not he looks at us and sees Jesus, it’s that we should see Jesus when we look at Him. “. Exactly! Jesus shows us who the Father is. So if Jesus enjoyed people, then God enjoys us, too!

      Reply
  8. Lyndall Cave

    I love this!
    I think as Christians we focus a lot on original sin and that we were born sinners, but forget that something came before and after that. God created us GOOD in the beginning. All of us are made in His image, with creativity, skills and an inherent worth. Sin twisted that and messed us up. But sin didn’t eliminate the good. That’s why non-Christians are also good at charity, hospitality, creativity and being decent human beings. And then Jesus came and destroyed the power of sin in those who are His, so it’s party time! We might still sin, but Jesus gave us new hearts, so we’re not sinners any more. WOOHOO!
    This revelation literally changed my life. Instead of striving to be good, I could rest in Jesus’s goodness, and enjoy life. Now I’m learning about how much he values me as a person and enjoys being around me, and it’s awesome.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay! That’s beautiful.

      Reply
  9. Kay

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I am in a denomination that puts an inappropriate amount of weight on our depravity and worthlessness. My pastor FIL recently put together a tract for an event that was Star Wars themed that said we are all rebel scum. Scum?? I get that it’s a Star Wars thing, but why would Jesus die to save scum? The next tract was for a car show and initially said that we are worthless junker cars until I convinced him to take that out and focus more on how beautiful we are when Christ restores us, that we are now show stoppers. Then more recently a toilet got backed up at church and when my pastor FIL announced that the bathroom was out of order, he then worked into the service, “We are all like that toilet, foul and filthy.”
    And to be fair, he always points us to Jesus when he does this, but to be honest, after hearing how disgusting we are OVER AND OVER AND OVER, God feels a lot like an abusive father after a while. “Don’t you ever forget how much you don’t deserve what I did for you! Don’t forget how worthless you were before me! You’re just scum, remember!” I told a friend just today that I am jealous when I hear people talk about Jesus as if he is a dear friend, because he has always been presented to me more like a defense attorney, protecting me from the punishment I deserve as the filthy sinner I am. (Never mind that Jesus and the Father are one.)
    I love that the author of the Gospel of John describes himself as “the one Jesus loves.” I am trying to learn to see myself through this lens. And through the lens of victory. The battle has already been won; I am deeply loved and delighted in. What would my life look like if I actually believed this?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Those are great thoughts, Kay. I’m sorry that you are in such a sad church community. I really think we’re getting the idea wrong about all of this. God genuinely enjoys us. He really does! And I think that’s wonderful.

      Reply
    • Phil

      Hi Kay – I read this yesterday and had typed out a reply and never pushed submit. It has disturbed me a bit – it was the first thing I thought of this morning when I woke up. I guess I was using caution in not crossing over into your lane but not posting yesterday. I just wanted to echo Sheila here. I am very sad that you have to hear those types of messages in your church. I can not imagine. I have other stuff to say but I am keeping it to myself. I am totally serious here. If you ever come to North Carolina and are near the Triad please please please look me up here. I would love for you to come to my church and get LOVE and HOPE and be blown out of your pew by my Pastor. Best Wishes Kay.

      Reply
      • Kenneth Gray

        Yes, everything in the Bible says that God loves us. So why does God not show that love? Before you say look at what God gave us in Jesus, look at what God does today, nothing. A mom tells her child that she loves them but never shows that love. The child won’t believe she loves him/her. Love needs to be demonstrated not just said. I have never seen, heard, or felt anything from God that demonstrates His love. God’s silence and inaction doesn’t speak of love. Instead, it speaks of indifference. To me that indifference screams , God doesn’t care. This complete lack of involvement doesn’t feel like God loves me. Thanks and God bless you, in Jesus name, Amen.

        Reply
  10. Jess

    I think this can be especially hard for women sometimes because of how theologians and pastors like to always remind us that man was created first, that “man is the glory of God but woman is the glory of man” and they always have to go back to submission and leadership and make it about rank. Then they say things like “but we all have equal worth to God, just not equality here on earth” or things to try and make women feel better when they are talking out of the other side of their mouth saying that men are more important, that God gives them unique callings on their lives but not women, and a lot of the other issues you talked about in your submission series. I spent a long time (and am still recovering) thinking that God wasn’t the God I thought I knew when I was younger when I got older and all of this emphasis got placed on men and women and roles. I felt like God was the leader of some boys club and we were just lucky to be allowed to look in the window sometimes. But every person who taught me said that I shouldn’t feel bad because God gives us our worth anyway and that is just how he made things and he knows best. Sometimes I still struggle with feeling valuable to God or not being angry or distant with him because of how he seemed to make things so much harder for women and put men in a better position. I realize that sin did that, but some pastors like to remind us that even before sin Adam was still “in charge”. I am still learning and searching and regaining my relationship with God back, but I completely agree that it can feel like God doesn’t like you, and sometimes I feel like it is just because I am a woman.

    Reply
    • Melissa W

      Jess, I am so sorry that this is the picture of God that you have been given. Unfortunately, whoever is telling you these things about men and women has a really twisted interpretation of the Bible and you are right to be skeptical of it and even to outright reject it. I love this quote by Os Guiness, “Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect. If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier. Other people have a concept of God so fundamentally false that it would be better for them to doubt than to remain devout. The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol.” Good for you for listening to the Holy Spirit and seeing the error of what you have been taught. However, you have to do the work of finding out who God really is and that can be tough when you have been filled with so many lies about God. I would highly suggest the book “Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller. I’m leading a Bible study on it right now and it is incredibly challenging and eye opening at the same time about what the gospel really is and what it isn’t. I pray you continue to search and ask questions and I am confident that God will show you the answers.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jess, I really do get it! I think so much harm has been done to women in the name of Jesus, and this does not please Him at all.
      I think it’s so neat how much Jesus elevated women in Scripture (even though those around Him at the time usually missed the lesson). Even the fact that He could have appeared after the resurrection to Peter and John first, but he chose Mary, out of everyone. That’s really cool. Many theologians choose to dismiss that, but Jesus did it for a reason. And He does notice, love, and cherish women. We are not afterthoughts or less than.

      Reply
    • Kenneth Gray

      Jess, I think that you may have the wrong impression of women’s worth to God. Both men and women were created equal in God’s eyes. He just gave them different callings. Today’s society says that “equal” means to be exactly the same. God didn’t make us identical, but just as worthy as each other. I personally think that a lot of the world’s strife is caused by this modern equality definition. Hope this helps. God bless you, in Jesus name, Amen.

      Reply
  11. Sarah

    I don’t normally listen to Christian music radio, but I jumped in a car that had been driven by someone else the other day and it was tuned to that station. I listened to a few songs that talked about how awesome it is that God loves us, even though we’re so wretched. I wanted to ask someone, “Doesn’t God ever just think we’re awesome?”
    I had a pastor once, that said if you’re thinking about God gets screwed up, try to get back on track by thinking about how a loving, earthly parent would behave and realise that God is infinitely more capable of love and grace than an earthly parent (I know this is a hard one for people who do not have loving parents, but it helps me).
    If we are ADOPTED by God and he is our PARENT, then he is madly in love with us. I think about my relationship with my awesome parents. Of course there was times they disciplined me as a child and there were probably some times I really screwed up and I was grateful that they offered me grace and forgiveness, but that was only really a small part of our relationship. Most of the time I knew I was loved, cherished and special. I think my parents genuinely enjoyed spending time with my brother and me, and we them. I do feel blessed to have the parents I do, but didn’t spend most of my waking minutes thinking how worthless I was and how lucky I am that they deigned to love me. God is like my parents, only he knows me even better and loves me even more.
    I know it’s a both/and situation–we are continually in need of forgiveness and God’s mercy, but he also just thinks we’re wonderful. Thanks for posting this Sheila. It was timely for me.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad, Sarah! And I think your pastor’s advice was right on target. Sometimes theology gets in the way, and we forget to just look at Jesus (which is theology in and of itself, as well). And get back to what you know about how a parent would act. That tells a lot about God!

      Reply
  12. Chris

    Sheila, to your point that kids loved jesus and that kids don’t like people who are serious all the time: I believe that one of the things that caused a lot of women to be early followers of jesus was exactly this! They saw how he treated and spoke about children.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I love that! I think you’re right. A woman really appreciates a man who loves kids.

      Reply
  13. Laura

    My early years as a young-adult new Christian taught me in a very subtle way that, although my salvation through faith was secure, if I didn’t do A, B, & C (read my Bible, pray, confess my sin constantly, etc), then I was breaking my fellowship with God, and he couldn’t bless me. After all, “your sin has separated you from God.” I constantly felt guilty and not in touch with God, because I struggled to even want to do some of those things, never mind keep them up regularly. I did love God, relied on His Word, served Him in full-time ministry, but I was miserable and alone.
    Ten years ago, I finally learned that the word “Guilt” has no place in a Christian’s vocabulary, that Jesus promised me that there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God. Instead of dreading trying to confess my many sins, I could be encouraged by the fact that he was standing with me, not above me, and promising to help. So now, I can have conversations with God about my sin: give thanks for His forgiveness and grace, ask for advice on dealing with weak areas, and live “rejoicing every day”.
    Don’t get me wrong — I still have a lot to learn about *experiencing* a close relationship with God. But that burden of guilt is gone, as it should be, and I am free to know that I am loved. I can now love Him because He first loved me, not have to love Him first in order for Him to love me now.

    Reply
  14. Sandy in Los Angeles

    I just think about the fierce love i have for my own children…who make mistakes…and I love who they are. I love to watch them and get tickled by the things that come out of their mouth. I loved watching them grow and am so proud of who they have become. They are an extension of me and I love them so much.
    In the same way you are an extension of God and he loves who you are and who you are becoming as you grow in Grace.

    Reply
  15. Hannah

    I can so identify with this. I was thinking a couple of months back about the teaching that God can’t stand to be around us because he can’t stand to be around sin (which I strongly disagree with for other reasons, but I won’t derail on that here), and I had a lightbulb moment that it can’t be true. Not only did he spend time with people in the OT (“I’ll dwell among you” in the tabernacle and so on), but he spent decades living here in close community with people. You don’t choose to live with people you can’t stand the sight of. You choose to live with people you like.
    Realizing that totally reoriented my thinking, as I knew somehow that God really does like me, but I was still stuck in a lot of bad teaching and couldn’t quite grasp it.

    Reply
  16. Lorel

    I think C.S. Lewis’s perspective is useful here. He points out the Christian comparison to salt; when Jesus is in/over us, we aren’t less us, He makes the best of us more potent. God isn’t looking at us through Jesus because he can’t stand us; he’s using that lens to wash off all the betrayal and bring out all the glory and uniqueness of each of us. When we pursue Jesus and “die to ourselves”, our unique gifts, quirks, and personality shine forth better, rather than being blotted out in normalizing worldly ways. Think of a lens, think of salt, but don’t think of Jesus as a replacement in how God views us (except as the replacement sacrifice, of course).
    My personal example of this is my expressive passion for anything I throw myself at. When I focus on myself and how the world views me, I tend to push that passion down, hide in a corner, and try to be like everyone else. When I die to myself and focus on just what I can do for Jesus, that passion explosively pours forth, kind of like Paul (I haven’t been publicly beaten, yet, fortunately!).
    God really does love each of us specially and uniquely. When we let Jesus cover us by His grace, we get to be both more like Him and more like ourselves, as glorious reflections of Him!

    Reply
  17. ads

    I have felt like this woman and I guess I still do. 4 years ago I got burned out because I tried to be the best christian. Fasted constantly, prayed all the time , worked in the church and etc. I hit a wall and couldnt go on. Couldnt pray for more than a minute, couldnt read the Word. Every sunday was torture and I felt exhausted. I was so out that I got into porn just to feel some “freedome” from the burden it was to be this “perfect” christian who was never good enough.
    Its sound stupid but it was like porn was the only thing that didnt demand anything from me. I felt awful doing it but came back to it. In retrospect I think it was much because I saw myself as a failure, a loser and turning to porn gave me some rest and also just proved that I was really a piece of crap. It has taken a couple of years and I am now starting to live a pornfree life. Its the beginning but I havent felt this free in a long time. But I am still not the christian I used to be. To get here I got a lot of therapy from secular people who hasnt condemned me or made me feel worthless. I have a amazing wife who has never put me down. But even if the porn problem is solved I still am not the christian I used to be.
    I am still not burning with fire, preaching the gospel and trying to be the best christian ever. I still struggle with praying or reading the Bible. I am to tired to try to be “the best”. So I still feel like God just tolerates me. On my worste days I worry that I am going to hell. I am trying to live a good life but I am not what I used to be. And I cant see that God is pleased with me. And seeing other christians that are better just makes oneself feel even worse. Not just people you meet but others that you see in other churches and online. I look at them and I can only think off course God is happy with them because they are doing everything right. Off course they have fought for it but I cant. I have tried but it almost killed me.
    This feeling of worthlessness affects all other aspects in my life. I for example havent been on this blog on a long time. I started to ask myself why and I realized that(and this isnt Sheilas fault its on me) I feel like an awful husband everytime I enter this blog. I constantly feel like I am not good enough. I try really hard. I left porn. I do more chores than my wife. I take care of her. I speak her love language. I support her in everything. I do as much or sometimes more than her when it comes to the kids. I provide. I stay faithful and etc. But I still compare myself to Sheila and her husband who seem to have an almost perfect marriage. I read one post where she was honest with her marriage but it wasnt anything bad compared to my life and marriage. I mean just to have a husband who never fought with lust is like, “CAn you get closer to God?”. I know this is silly but thats often how I feel. So the feeling of worthlessness and never being good enough is still there. No matter how much I try. I am still seeing a therapist, a secular one because they are the only ones there are here and I guess I am happy because of that. They dont judge you. They see you as a human being. Not someone that has to be perfect. Hopefully I will someday see myself as someone who deserves to be loved,even by God.

    Reply
    • Molly

      I don’t know if you’re going to see this, but i will be praying for you specifically. It sounds like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

      Reply
  18. Irene

    Learning about the covenants helped me with these feelings. A blood covenant (seen in the sacrifices and ultimately in Jesus’s sacrifice) was necessary before a salt covenant could be made. A salt covenant is talked about in Leviticus 2:13, Numbers 18:19, and 2 Chronicles 13:5. It was a covenant of friendship. Jesus said, “I have called you friends” in John 15:12-17. So you see, Jesus wants to be your friend!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      As a child, that was my favourite thought in the world–that Jesus was my friend. It was very real to me, even when I was 6 or 7.

      Reply
  19. E

    When I am feeling far from God, I like to listen to the gospels as an audiobook. It is so easy to get caught up in ‘rules’ when reading the OT, or the epistles, especially if you aren’t doing an in-depth study, including the context behind what was said, why it was said, and who it was said to. But the gospels are an excellent way to get to know Jesus (and therefore God). It becomes so much easier to see Jesus as a friend when we hear/read how he actually treated people he met with, not some theoretical rules that we have to work out whether or not they app,y to our situation. I also find prayer to be easier if I just chat to God like the loving Father He is, not an abusive one. Some churches have had such a huge hand in turning peop,e away from God, instead of helping people see Him.
    I think a lot of bad theology is all about control…like ‘do this or God won’t love you’and similar messages. God gave us free will, and I don’t think that being separated from God is necessarily Him punishing us, but Him respecting our choice (even if it is a crap one). And like a loving parent, He welcomes us with open arms when we do make the choice to turn to Him.

    Reply
  20. Tabita

    The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
    He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
    Truly encouraging!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s one of my favourite verses! 🙂

      Reply
  21. Jason

    I completely identified with the womans letter about being tolerated by God. In fact, it often seems that God only shows up once in a while to asses how bad I’ve been since the last assessment and to bring some much needed punishment in to my life. I’ve even wondered if God is irritated that I’m going to heaven because I accepted Christ and He can’t deny me now because He doesn’t want to go back on His word. I’d like to believe what you’re saying about Jesus laughing and enjoying people but to much of your basis for this is assumption and not scripture. The Bible says Jesus laughed and God angry but it never mentions that he laughed or even smiled to the best of my knowledge. I don’t even understand the point of humanity. God needs us for nothing. All we are is disappointing, naughty, helpless toddlers yet were suppose to have a relationship with him and love him with everything we have and more than anything in life, but through a book. I feel like I lost before the game even started.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jason, I’m sorry. Can I also say that if your church teaches you this picture of God, your church likely has a faulty view of Him and is preaching lopsidedly? Just think of how tax collectors and sinners gravitated to Jesus. Think of what kind of person He must have been to have that happen. to me, that’s one of the biggest proofs of what I’m saying.

      Reply
  22. Tommy Riley

    I know for a fact that God don’t like me how do I know, actions speaks much louder than words I know that for a fact God shows me everyday that he dont like me Everyday

    Reply
  23. Jessica

    Reading this in 2021. I love that letter from that woman, because she was unapologetically honest. So many times I’ve gotten so much lip for sounding like I doubt God’s love for me. It’s always my Christian friends that judge me the most for it. I’m almost 29, and I feel like I haven’t caught a real break at all in years, which has made me question if God even likes me at all. I wish this blog topic was longer, but either way it did help. I know I truly need God to embrace me spiritually somehow, to get to that place where I truly feel he loves me.

    Reply
  24. Jerry

    I agree I’ve felt like this for a long time now, but I have more questions than what presented here. When looking at Uriah the Hittite, am I to understand that this is how the house of David (which Jesus is descended) repays loyalty? What price did David really pay since BathSheeba gave birth to Solomon? Also, in revelations chapter 11 I find that as a gentile I’ll only be allowed in the outer courtyard, not able to be next to God. A few chapters later God states, “the dogs are outside” apparently referring to the gentiles. In chapter 12 of revelations I find that God threw the Satan down here with us and when looking at the last supper it would seem we’re fed to Satan, why? At the last supper Jesus states, “you should know that the devil has asked to sift you.”, why is that even a question? Why doesn’t he tell him no? Do I get to sift the devil too? That would be fair at least. Yet I am asked to believe. All I have gotten for my faith is misery and the only reward according to scripture is that I’ll constantly be fed to the devil (because the devil can’t do anything without permission) condemned for it and maybe get to stand in the outer courtyard (the nose bleeds) in his new heaven. Why? I feel like God has held set me up failure, forgotten me and abandoned me. Everyone references Job, yet at the end God asks Job, ” would you lift yourself up to darken my council?” Is that not what God just did to him? I’m really sick and tired of this whole good vs evil thing altogether. I Honestly feel God has brought me nothing but ruin and I feel conned out of my life by him. And the only answer people seem to have is fairytale stuff. God doesn’t do any of that anymore! My God has aggrieved me and maybe the truth is, he just doesn’t like or care about me. He says there will be no pain in heaven yet we know there is war in heaven so how can that be? Why does everything with him have to be such a spectacle? Why can’t he just talk? English! He invented it why not use it? It’s got to be less exhausting than parting seas or giving extravagant signs and gestures. I’m spiritually exhausted and tired of waiting on him just so I can “stand in the outer courtyard “. If God’s not there at the end of this then it’s just not worth it and judging from revelations chapter 11 I guess he won’t be for the gentiles.

    Reply
  25. Ken

    I feel like God Loves me, but doesn’t Like me. Extreme Tough-Love, like a Marine Drill Instructor. He knows that by kicking me in the teeth over and over, I’ll be a better person 100 years from now, and then I’ll thank Him.

    Reply

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