I have everything a man could ever want. A beautiful wife, a wonderful place to live, a great job, fantastic friends, all the money I need, all the food I could eat, yet there is one thing gnawing at me and it has been for the past fifty-four years. Where is the love of God that is talked about by people who say they are believers?
When I was young, I saw my father physically assault my mother and when I was a little older, he physically assaulted me. He was a very violent man, and an alcoholic and gambler. I was so afraid of him that I would walk on tiptoes so I wouldn’t upset him. There was a deep-seated fear associated with this man and later, with my oldest sibling, who took over with the abuse when my father left. I was ten years old. When I was twenty-one, I had a Christian salvation experience and started to follow God as a Christian, going to Church every week to hear a message that I thought or felt was going to help me in my walk with God and heal the deep hurt I had experienced in my life.
I think there is one thing that no Church, Mosque or Synagogue could do for me and that was to help me really know in my heart how much God loved me and wanted to heal me. I ascribed a lot of my understanding toward God as though he were some hard-nosed task-master who would hit me, like my father would, when I did something wrong.
I have been told that he accepts me just the way I am, yet in most assemblies I was in, I felt like a social outcast. I had a very close friend in a Church I went to and he stopped being my friend because he didn’t approve of the woman I married.
I reached out to a retired Pastor, when I was in my early to mid twenties and asked him if he could spare an hour a week of his time, because I was confused about a lot of things and had a lot of questions. He answered me by saying he was too busy for that and walked away from me.
I don’t hold anything against these people, but I think they left an indelible mark on me and that mark was, “You’re not worth it, Paul.” I have had so many give up on me and close the door to me, and, yes, I was quite a handful and still am today. I ask the question: Does love still exist today? And if it does, what does it look like?
I was told by a new believer, at the time of my conversion to Christianity, that God is much like a yo yo. You can get so close to him, but the cord can always be cut. This is how I lived my life for thirty years. Uh oh if I do that, God is going to dump me for it, or uh oh, if I don’t do that, God is going to forsake me for it.
In recent years, I have noticed severe discrepancies with the Christian God, the Muslim God and the Jewish God. To be honest, I don’t want to follow any of them. I want the real God. The one that Apostle Paul said was the ‘UNKNOWN’ God. Many of us don’t know if God loves us because we DON’T KNOW GOD!!!!! What I realize, now is that no one knows the real God, if they did, they would be the most sought after person in the world.
This is what I have learned from the three false gods of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
In Christianity, their God is all about the money and making a show. God goes broke every weekend and needs a whole pile of cash to support his needs. He tells us to do whatever we feel is right and we’ll all make it in the end!
In Islam, their God tells you to impose your religion on other people and if they don’t follow you, tax them, or cut their heads off, or do some other terrible thing to them.
In Judaism, their God tells you that you must live with an ever-growing amount of tradition. They have added so many commandments to following God that aren’t commandments at all.
So… will the real God please stand up? I’m tired of the fake and phony gods. I’m tired of the fake and phony people who follow the fake and phony gods. I’m so sick of religion and the lies that goes along with it. I’m done. In the twenty-eight years I spent in religion, no Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, or Imam could put Paul back together again. Why? Because no Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, or Imam cared to do so.
Am I angry? It’s more sadness than anger now. How can I reach out to a hurt and dying world and tell them, “Yeah, come to God…he loves you?!!! When many of his people don’t have the time of day for you and could care less about what happened to you. If they feel that way about you, how do they truly feel about God? I mean do they really have a relationship at all?
How does a fatherless generation recognize the love from a father, from God or anyone else, for that matter? Many of us grew up with abusive and violent fathers who beat us, yelled at us, hit us, in some cases sexually abused us. How can we ever think that God the father is on our side and won’t hurt us? The sad reality is that he IS on our side and wants us so desperately to come to him, but because of misrepresentation from Pastors, Priests, Rabbis and Imams, and fellow congregants, we tend run from him. This unnatural fear of God leads us down many wrong paths, making the wrong choices over, and over again and reaping the fruit of those choices.
How can I tell a thirteen-year-old girl who has been raped repeatedly by her father, that God loves her? How can I tell a man that was beaten by his father that God loves him? Who is this God that loves everybody? What does his love look like? Where does one cross the line when God says to them, enough is enough, you’re done, I don’t love you anymore. You may say that the real God is not like that, but that is what many have been taught about him and have experienced the same treatment at the hands of his followers.
For a person who has been abused sexually, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, how long does it take before you know that God truly loves you? How long?
Listen to me: I know you may like to go to Church, Mosque or Synagogue, but let me ask you a question. Is your religion doing anything to help the world or is it just maintaining the status quo? If we really looked deep into this matter I think we would find that all religious institutions have failed miserably in truly bringing people into oneness with God. Islam is empty, Judaism is empty, and so is Christianity very empty. You might not like me saying that, but it is true. These three religions are responsible for millions and millions of unnecessary deaths. Wars, fighting, torture, beheadings, rape, pillaging, and the list goes on, and on. Yes, I know God promulgated a lot of death in his day as well, but most of the people he wanted dead practiced terrible rituals like burying their first born under the door step or burning them in fire. The Hebrew people also adopted many of these pagan practices and were driven out of the land of Israel, just like the people who preceded them.
If the truth be told,
God does not want your money,
God does not want your Pastors or other religious leaders teaching you about him.
God will teach you all that you need to know about him.
God is not impressed with the size of your building or your congregation’s financial status.
God does not like, and in some cases, hates, your tradition.
God would much rather a couple stay home and congregate as a family then to go to an assembly where gossip, backbiting, flaunting and carousing are the norm. Sorry, but that is what I saw in some of the assemblies I attended. Such assemblies are emptier than a wine bottle in an alley way.
If you truly want a relationship with God, you will eventually have to leave religion behind. You’ll have to shake off all the traditions associated with your religion and start the process of seeking God on your own. You will go through very arid and lonely times and many will choose to mock you and make fun of you. You will leave the beaten path, or what is called the ‘wide road’ that leads to destruction and follow the path that leads to life. Not many people travel this path. They, instead, want to pad the pockets of their Pastors, or other religious leaders in exchange for some pithy sermon, or message that will never change anyone who hears it. You can’t buy your way into the Kingdom of God. God is not moved by money, regardless of the amount. He is after an honest and true relationship with you. Your money will perish, your job will perish, your cars, homes and other material things will perish, the only thing that you will take to the other side is your relationship with God. Depending on how much effort you put into that, you may find yourself in front of a very angry person, who has little or no rewards for you. Believe me, living for eternity empty-handed doesn’t sound very good for anyone.