I had a fascinating conversation with my 11-year-old daughter the other day. She was telling me that her classmates and teacher were discussing their relationship with God and his commandments; her friends were saying that they must observe the commandments otherwise God would be angry with them, and that they fear God. My daughter responded to them, “God doesn’t want you to be scared of him, rather he wants you to know that he loves you and is guiding you with his commandments. Furthermore, if you are doing it because you are afraid of God, God wouldn’t want you to perform the commandment at all”.
Lastly, she said to me, “It’s okay to have a healthy fear of God– it’s just like a healthy fear of one’s parents; we don’t want to disappoint them, yet it’s really unhealthy to have such fear that you think they will be angry with you if you make a mistake, or if you don’t always live up to their expectations”.
My first thought was just, “WOW”! How did I merit having a daughter with such a brilliant mind? When I grew up– and even today– I have had a truly complicated relationship with God, and it’s only recently that I understand God is my father in heaven, he loves me more than any being can ever love anyone, and he just wants me to live my best life.
I’m curious: what are your beliefs? Firstly, do you believe in a higher power? If so, what do you think God wants from us and for us? Secondly, if you were raised with certain misconceptions surrounding God, did you overcome those beliefs? If you did, how? How did you learn to see God and faith as the beautiful light it was meant to be?
This week, why don’t you ask your friends and your children what their faith and belief systems are? Be curious, and make sure you truly listen to their responses and you may learn something new– I know I’m constantly learning from my children and my friends, and for that I am truly grateful.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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