Faith Lies (with Darrell Smith): Lie # 2, God is Angry and Doesn’t Like Me—Especially When I Sin

Today we continue our Thursday series with Darrell Smith, who is sharing from his book Faith Lies: Seven Incomplete Ideas That Hijack Faith and How to See Beyond Them.

Faith Lies with Darrell Smith
Lie #2: God is Angry and Doesn’t Like Me—Especially When I Sin

The God that holds you over the Pit of Hell, much as one holds a Spider, or some loathsome Insect, over the Fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his Wrath towards you burns like Fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the Fire... 
— Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God," 1741

What happened to you as you read through the Jonathan Edwards’ quote above? How do you respond? Is there something in you that rejects the philosophy behind Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?”

If you are like me, perhaps you have picked up a milder version of this philosophy. You may not think that God holds you over the “Pit of Hell” like a loathsome spider, but you may believe that God disapproves of you—or is disappointed with your life.

Whatever our response may be to the idea that God is angry with us and doesn’t like us, the truth is, too much of the Christian faith is built upon this corrupt foundation.
  • It is a foundation that leads to a world where punishment must be meted out for all bad behavior.
  • It is a foundation that not only empowers but demands judgment.
  • It is a foundation that distances children from their loving divine parent as they begin to believe what gives them divine value is the way they behave.
Behind the lie “God is angry and doesn’t like me—especially when I sin” is the idea that your relationship with God—God’s affection for you—is based on your behavior. The better person you are, the more God likes and loves you—the more God will bless you. The more mistakes you make and sins you commit, the less God likes and loves you—the less God will bless you.

Whether we recognize it or not, this lie requires God to have anger—or even worse, the dreaded biblical wrath—over the sinful behavior of people. This lie characterizes God as the cosmic scorekeeper watching our every move and shaking the Godhead in disappointment— wondering how we could repeatedly be so bad.

Actually putting these words to it may make this idea seem silly and easily dismissed, but the incomplete idea that God is angry and doesn’t like us when we sin is too prevalent and too important to leave unexamined. It must be exposed in all the little nooks and crannies of our lives.

If we can all admit that none of want to run head-long into an authentic, loving, relationship with an angry cosmic scorekeeper, then we can begin to receive the God we actually have.

Next week, Faith Lie #3 – The Devil is God’s Counterpart

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