I think one of the ways we get most messed up about how God relates to us is that we think that He is grades us. We see Him as up in heaven always looking down and judging how well we measure up. We imagine that He is always keeping track, keeping score, to see if we are being faithful enough, loving enough, obedient enough, giving enough, holy enough for Him.
I want to give you a word picture to think about: imagine a group of preschool children displaying their art for a parents day. Now imagine a loving, supportive, wise parent bending over their four-year old and saying “John, I’m so sad and angry at you. Sally’s drawing is so much neater than yours! And you’re not supposed to color a tree orange, that’s not right! And why didn’t you put whiskers on that bunny? You should know better. Do you think you deserve any dinner if that’s the best you can do?”
Of course no good parent would treat their child that way. Of course no good parent would expect their four-year old to be able to draw as well as they can. What would a loving parent do? Why they would be proud and overjoyed with every effort their child makes. They would love every little drawing and put it up on their fridge, not because it was a masterpiece, but because it was their child’s. A good parent cherishes their child, and treasures every creative effort that their little hands make.
So now, dear friend, do you really think it is any different with God? Do you not think He loves us and cherishes us as His dear young children? Do you not think in His wisdom He doesn’t realize that we stumble and mess up all the time in our efforts to be like Him and to be kind and loving in our hearts and in our lives? Do you not think He understands that we are so young at this, but we really are trying our best? Do you not think He is delighted with every effort we make?
Even if our young child comes to us and says “My doggie doesn’t look good. He looks stupid. I can’t draw.” what do we say? Do we not say “I love your doggie! It’s so creative! You are a becoming a great drawer!” We build up our children even when they mess up, we encourage and support them, always letting them know they are loved because they are our children, and it has nothing to do with what they do or don’t do.
Please, dear friend, let God be your Father, your Papa. Please hear Him when He says that He is proud of your art, and that He’s putting it on His fridge. God does not grade you, not even when you grade yourself and put yourself down. He is your Papa, and He is especially fond of you.