My Picture of God: Above our Pettiness

In How to Know God, Deepak Chopra discusses various stages of human interaction with the divine. In the first two stages, we see a reliance on God as a protector and provider. In the later stages, however, we see less apprehensive approaches, which are more contemplative than they are fearful. One stage emphasizes arriving at a state of peace, wisdom, and tolerance, regardless of one’s surroundings. Another focuses on human creativity, which mirrors the divine creator. Virtues such as love, forgiveness, and understanding also enter the equation at certain points.

In my first post on Deepak Chopra, The God Mirror, I asked if I am a reflection of the God that I worship, or if he’s a reflection of me, or both? My answer to that is pretty complex, and I find that I disagree with myself in a number of ways!

Let me say this at the outset: there are people in my life whom I cannot stand. Bitterness actually wells up in my mouth whenever I think about them. But do I believe that God hates them? My answer to that is “no, I do not.” I think God’s above all our petty disputes. I may not desire for my enemies to prosper, but I hope that God wants what’s best for them. He wouldn’t be God if he’s a big version of me!

But do I want God to punish my enemies? I’ll admit: I’d like for God to put them in situations where someone made them feel the same way that they made me feel. Maybe then they’d learn compassion, or at least their punishment would show me that God cares about my suffering. In addition, I’d be pretty upset if I saw them prospering, especially if I were not. Something would be wrong with that picture! The Bible tells us to leave vengeance up to God (Romans 12:19). My problem is that God doesn’t always do his job. Often, to be honest, I wonder if anyone is minding the store!

But, again, I’m not sure if I want God to curse someone just because I don’t like him. There are people who don’t like me. Should I be cursed on account of that? Again, I’d like to think that God is above our little personality clashes. God seeks to work things out for the good of everyone. He’s not my personal hit-man!

Does that view make me love my enemies more? Yes and no. Thinking about a God who loves everyone allows my mind to take a break from its uninterrupted bitterness, and that’s good. But I still feel hurt if a person doesn’t like me, or if someone has hurt me. That doesn’t go away.

And so I do not really reflect my image of God, which says he desires the good of everyone, including my enemies. And my God is not my personal hit-man, for I see him as someone who’s above all my pettiness. I can view God as loving, yet I still have problems exercising love myself.

But there’s more complexity to that, as I’ll show in a coming post.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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