(The heading is taken from 1Cor 13:5)
We have probably all heard that God is love (1Joh 4:8), but what does that really mean?
Some believe that God only has love, it's only one of his attributes, and he will show it to us when we deserved it or when we have behaved good.
Some believe he only loves me and will hear my prayer when have repented from all of the sins I have done, and they maybe even think: All sins I have done since I was a child and I need to know exactly what I did.
There are a lot of people who are not very confident in their prayer, fellowship and communication with him, because they believe that God keeps a record of wrongs.
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There are a lot of people who are not very confident in their prayer, fellowship and communication with him, because they believe that God keeps a record of wrong.
It's like he has a list, and he is writing down every sin you do and have done, and he is holdningen it up against you, and saying like: On the 5th of September 2012 you did this sin, you gossiped, and you have not asked me for forgiveness for it, or repented for this yet.
So I have not forgiven you for it, you need to pray this prayer first: God please forgive me for this sin of gossiped I did on the 5th of October 2012 at the time 2:13pm, and I deeply regret and repent.
I know I exaggerated a bit, but it's close to what many believe.
Is this God? Is this love? According to 1 Cor 13 it's not.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I want to tell you this: If your heart is constantly condemning you, you will not have confidence in that he will hear your prayer and in your communication with him (which is still prayer).
1 John 3:20-21
20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
If we should wait until we have all the ducks in a row, where we have remembered to confessed all our sin, done all the right tings, and prayed all the "right" confessions prayers, non of us would get any answer to prayer at all, because it's not really about these tings. It's about having confidence in God despite of our shortcommings and that we not always get everything right.
We need to ask this question: What is really love about?
When some read 1Cor 13 they think that this is what God has commands us to do and walk in.
If 1 Cor 13 only applies for us, and not for God, how can he be a trustworthy God? How can we ever approach him with confidence? God is love, and that is what he is, it's not a part of him, one of his attributes or something he has, he is! And if he is love, he is 1Cor 13 too!
There have been times when I didn't have confidence in prayer, and it was mainly because of condemnation. I sometimes believed that God heard other people's prayers bettert than my own prayers, because they were able to live more holy or they were able to do all the confession parayes perfectly, I believed
By the way, let me also say this: I don't talk about that confessions are bad. It's healthy in a relationship to see our own sins and shortcomings and to confess them to one another, and even to God, this is good. But God does not have a list you need to do before he can forgive you or hear your prayers, you are still his child and he still wants to give you answer to prayers even though you have not behaved perfect. And also remember: God forgave you FIRST!
Because I have had this experience I have explained over with condemnation, I also went into another ditch called indifference. Were you get so tired of trying, that you just don't care anymore.
I also had some bad experience with some other Christians, they were very occupied with what I had done wrong (even though they didn't find a lot, and not any "big" ones), and that even did something with my confidence with God again and added it to my indifference feeling.
Maybe you have had this experience too, and it might be especially connected to leaders.
In an indirect way we automatically see (Christians) leaders as more God like than we, and they should know more about him right, and should show more of God's character. But you probably know also, and remember I am leader too, that they (and me) doesn't always get it right either.
When we get disappointed with leaders, our confidence in God can often suffer too, especially if it's a leader that we trusted in.
But it is important for us too, to not keep a record of wrong in what they did or said to us, or about us. They didn't represent God in the way they hurt you. God is bigger and better then they are, so just let go of the hurt they have done our said to you! Forgive them and let go of the hurt.
God still loves you and he does not keep a record of wrongs!