I had a rather trying time with my son. He was given consequences and he didn't think they were fair. He proceeded for two hours to inform me of how unfair I was being before he finally caved and did what was needed.
It wasn't done willingly. It was done in a state of anger, and we ALL knew it by the noise that accompanied the begrudging obedience.
The rest of us were trying to go about our normal business and pretended to ignore the fit that was going on down the hallway. My other son happened to catch a glimpse of photos on the computer that were of our fun at the pumpkin patch the day before. He noticed on my blog post there were words amidst the photos and requested I read them to him aloud.
It was a scripture verse. Twice I read the post to him, emphasizing the words and trying to personalize it to him with my delivery. He loved it.
Little did I know that the scripture verse was the cause of the quietness that seemed to settle on the house. After you've listened to ranting and raving for so long, the quiet seems almost eerie. I wasn't going to question it. I figured my son had finally come to terms and was ready to accept his punishment.
Dinner came and everyone was gathered together in peace. I could tell my son had been crying. This is unusual for a fit of anger. Normally the eyes are very dry. I thought perhaps he had done some deep thinking and reflection.
I was surprised at his question. "Mom. Do you love Zech more than you love me?"
I answered him and asked, "Why would you think such a thing?" I had already drawn my own conclusion but wanted to hear his response. I figured it was because of the unfair punishment that he felt his brother should have been joining in on.
"Because I heard you talking to Zech. You said, 'I have better things for you.' You must love Zech more than me." He said this with tears in his eyes.
A simple misunderstanding. He believed I must love his brother more because of the words I was saying. He had no idea I was quoting the scripture from my blog post. I was simply reading words that were written years ago.
How many times do we misunderstand others? And how often do we misunderstand God? We draw our own conclusions based on what we think we know is true. We assume we have the facts correct.
When my son was certain of my love, he lashed out in anger. He was trying to test the boundaries to see how far he could push me. When I pushed back, he was certain of my love. He knew I wouldn't stand for that behavior. He might have been fighting me the whole time, but in actuality he felt safe and loved.
As soon as the fear crept in, and he began to question my love for him, the anger disappeared. He was no longer fighting me. He was desperately trying to earn my love back that he felt was lost. He had perfect obedience. Not necessarily because he felt the error of his ways, but because he was trying to "earn" back the love he desired.
We do the same thing with God. When we feel He's being unfair, we rail at Him, telling Him exactly how we feel about what He's done, or hasn't done. Are our facts always straight? Not necessarily. We're seeing it through tinted lenses, the lens of our life experience.
We're expecting God to be exactly like the people around us who have let us down, or left us hanging there. We see Him as human full of flaws. We figure we have all the answers and must know better than He does.
In essence, maybe we're just like my son. We lash out in anger because we understand His boundaries and feel safe within them. We may not enjoy our anger, but maybe our anger can show us how much He truly cares for us. We are feeling the loving boundaries of a father's hand.
"Don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this."
Proverbs 3:11-12 (The Message)
When the anger is gone, and we start to worry that God's love is gone, we need to stop and check the facts. Why are we suddenly trying to "earn" God's love back? Are we looking through our own tinted lenses, or are we seeing things for how they really are?
God has a favorite child. You. God loves you as an individual. And it's never been about what you have done for Him. There is nothing you could do to "earn" His love. It is freely given.
"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love."