I’m going to say three words that are not always easy to say. At least, they aren’t easy for me to say because I’d much rather choose to move pass the acknowledgement of this at all. Really just ignoring it all together. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s shame. But here they are, those three words. I was wrong. Dear God, was I wrong!
I was wrong about God. Not in the sense that He has not proven to be the true, almighty, living God. I was wrong about what He wanted from me. My relationship with God was based on the wrong things…once upon a time. Actually, a time that isn’t that long ago. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but it did. This isn't a church hurt confession. I'm not pinning all of this on any particular preacher or Sunday school teacher. Somehow, between the innocence of my childhood and being introduced to the splendor of who God is, introduced to His love for the world (every person and everything created) until nearly being a middle-aged woman with a husband and children of her own; I thought I could win God’s love through my well-intended actions.
As I think about the hundreds, scratch that…thousands of sermons and teachings that I have heard over the years I recall more than most times that I have been told that my attendance to church services, church events, etc. was the most important thing I could do in my walk with God. Next to attendance comes behavior. I was living the beatitudes through actions but not from the heart and exercising the fruits of the spirit as if I had a daily conduct checklist that would make me look better than others. Boy was I wrong!
I even thought fasting was the secret formula to receiving God’s favor for every prayer request that I was brave enough to share with Him aloud but condemning others if they gave in to temptations and didn’t commit to a fast plan agreed upon or assigned by church leaders. I thought that God’s forgiveness was granted only if I came to Him sorrowful and self-loathing instead of repenting and having faith in the power of His forgiveness and unconditional love. Does any of this sound familiar to you??? If not, I’m so happy that you haven’t had to experience this tainted gospel.
Many times, when the two words tainted gospel are spoken it has been my experience that the speaker is referring to extreme teachings about what people can gain physically from God or give to others to receive a physical blessing. But when I say tainted gospel, I’m referring to prideful teaching that my actions can earn me love from God and a reward here on earth and in heaven.
For so long, I was prideful as I considered myself striving for holiness and living up to the example of Christ when I was really behaving as the Pharisees and Sadducees and constantly comparing myself to others as if my salvation was by works and religious rules. This is why I WAS WRONG!
I thank God for rescuing my heart and soul from this lie I lived. The gift of God’s Holy Spirit guiding me to study the scriptures and inspired writings of authors as He has healed my heart and renewed my mind. If you have read this and it resonates with you, my prayer for you is that just as God has opened my eyes to the truth of His grace and faithfulness that He will do the same for you. I pray daily that my husband and I can raise our children to develop relationship with God instead of teaching them rules of religion. I was wrong, but I am so thankful that God continues to work on my heart and mind to be renewed.
That was so enlightening! We’ve all been there. Even now as old as I am I need a reminder. God’s grace is sufficient! I can buy, behave, or criticize others about salvation. It is a gift to be treated as such. Thanks sista Cawthon for sharing your gift❤️
Beautiful article my sister, that clearly reveals your heart. I see a well balanced approach to God and a desire to know Him and not get caught up in religious routine. I respect and bear witness with your words. Amen
Feel so free after reading this, trying so hard to show an please God, we lose ourselves, just being a good shepherd is enough, The God in you will shine if you trust and believe. Thank you for this testimony, love and miss you.
A liberating message! God is opening our hearts & minds to His truth…HIS!🙌🏽