As a little girl, I asked my parents what God was like. They told me that God was love, but also that God would send people to hell if they weren’t saved or if they did certain things that my parents thought were bad. I was heartsick hearing this. I loved my neighborhood friend Natalie with all my heart and I also knew for a fact that she and her family didn’t go to church. At that very moment, I realized that God couldn’t possibly be what my parents told me; that had to be someone’s made-up god. For God to be God, God had to be perfect love that included Natalie and everyone.
God is Love, or put another way, Love is God. And what is Love? It is not the capricious emotion that characterizes many human relationships. It is not a sentimentality or a belief, for Love IS whether we believe or not. Love’s activity is compassion and kindness, service, cooperation, and interconnectedness. It unites and not separates. Love is the eternal Principle that holds together this Universe, the creative principle that created you and I out of Itself. Love is what you and I really are. God Love has no limitations. We are the ones who have put limitations on Love. The real God is Love and is described in I Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.— I Corinthians 13: 4-8
If every one of us were taught, from infancy, that God is the Love that unites us, guides us, protects us, surrounds us, fills us, and is the solid Principle of our life, we would love God. We would love God as our self, love God as each other, and love God as all forms of life. We wouldn’t fear one another because we’d know that we are one; interconnected and interdependent.
We would know God as Love; our love. And we’d trust that Love. We’d get up each morning with an open heart, eager to live another day, filled with gratitude for the Love that fills our hearts and our lives. We would know how to love others – without conditions or exceptions – and we’d celebrate the differences in each other and delight in the diversity of Love. We would pray for those in our culture who were ill in mind or soul. Our days and nights would be filled with the assurance that we are cherished and never alone, for the Highest Power would be our beloved and our dearest friend. Most of all, we would not fear God. For you cannot fear what you love and you cannot love what you fear.
The god That Man Created
Man, created in God’s image, has instead, created god in man’s image. And most of us were conditioned from infancy to accept and to fear the god that man created. The god created in man’s image has human qualities – and not very good ones at that. This god condemns people to hell and sends others to heaven. This god plays favorites. This god rewards only those that please him. This god keeps a scorecard of wrongs committed. This god judges diversity as wrong. This god has been used as an excuse to kill, to enslave, and to commit every atrocity of human history. This god does not exist.
Coming to Love
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay, “The Over-Soul:” “When we have broken our god of tradition and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the heart with His presence.”
It is only when you and I reject the god that man created, that we can at last come to know the God that Is. God is Love. Let us be willing to reject the tired, old concepts of an angry, fickle God – the manmade God. These ideas live only in our conditioned minds (read ego) and their “reign of terror” ends when we go deep enough within ourselves to listen to the still, small voice. We will then know what is true and we will desire only that God fire our hearts with His presence. The Kingdom of Kindness will be created on this planet by those of us whose hearts have been so fired.
“Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.” – I John 4:8.