What if God is NOT Out to Get You?

Beth Demme Blog Leave a Comment

God knows you. In fact, God loves you because God knows you.

Some people have a theology that, at its core, is about how God is out to get them. Words from the Bible that are meant for encouragement and balm become weapons in theology like that.

Psalm 139, for example.

In Psalm 139, the Psalmist acknowledges that God is everywhere. God is inescapable. “If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol [the place of the dead], you are there” (Psalm 139:8).

The Psalmist also says God knows everything, EVER-Y-THING, about us. Every thought. Every intention. All of it. “Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely” (Psalm 139:4).

If God is everywhere and knows my every thought, then God knows I’m not always nice or wholesome or kind. If God knows that about me, then God knows the parts of me I try to keep hidden. I keep those parts hidden for good reason! I don’t like them. If other people knew “that side” of me, they wouldn’t like me very much.

If God is keeping tabs on me, waiting to pounce when I make a mistake, then God is not trustworthy.

Psalm 139 becomes menacing, not comforting.

In fact, in that view, God seems like … Santa Claus. You know the Christmas Song: He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. I don’t want to end up on God’s naughty list. Do you?

But there’s another way—a healthier way—to read Psalm 139. We can read Psalm 139 in a way that is more in keeping with what we know about God.

1 John 4 tells us that God is loving. In fact, it says that God abides in us and we abide in God (1 John 4:13). No wonder God knows our every thought!

The One who is Love knows me.

No matter what knuckle-headed thoughts and ideas I have, God loves me. Even when I am not at my best, God loves me.

God loves me because God knows me completely. God loves me because God knows those parts of myself I try to hide. God wants to redeem those parts of me.

The Psalmist says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). The Psalmist can say this because the Psalmist knows God is trustworthy. Having already admitted that God knows our every thought, the Psalmist guides us to invite God to help us see the parts of ourselves that need redemption.

Once I can see what needs to be redeemed, I can also see that God is already at work there, mending what is broken.

God is about soul-mending love, not gotcha moments. God is about the kind of loves that goes beyond mere approval.

God says, through the Psalmist, “I really know you. I know your brokenness, and I still see how valuable and lovable you are.”

What about you? Do you think God is out to get you? If you don’t think that now, has there been a time in your life when you did think that way? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.

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