You Are Loved
I can remember being afraid to sleep at night when I was a young child.. for fear of not waking up.
A fear of death. And worse.. Possibly going to HELL.
Hell is a scary thought for a child (adults too really).
These memories all came flooding back to my thoughts last night as I watched Jim Gaffigan’s latest stand up “Mr. Universe”. (Hilarious btw!) He was talking about how children never want to go to sleep.
I cannot help but wonder how many other children have had similar thoughts to mine. Maybe that is why they don’t want to go to sleep (the ones that were raised religiously anyways..).
Fear of going to Hell!
I definitely did not want to go there!
So what did I learn?
I was taught that in order to earn God’s love, I needed to behave a certain way in order to avoid going to hell.
Hell, forget getting to Heaven, I was fine with ‘purgatory’, I just didn’t want to go to hell!! Flames! Burning flesh! Gnashing of teeth! My young imagination imagined the worst!
I was raised to believe that love was conditional. That I had to do good deeds, and avoid bad deeds in order to receive the ultimate gift: God’s love, entrance to heaven, eternal life.
This seems like a sure fire way to get a child to behave (or again, an adult for that matter). Talk about being grounded.. Forever!
So what am I getting at here?
I can remember being very young in Sunday school, my friend Pam turning to me and saying, “God loves us all, he’s not going to send any of us to hell.” I was probably around 8 at the time, if I have to guess.. 18 years of being forced to go to church, and the one thing that TRULY stuck with me was that thought. Immediately in my head I agreed with her. That made perfect sense to me.
If God created life, then he would certainly love that life (lives), because they are all his children. It’s safe to say that parents LOVE their children. If a parent could choose between sending their child to ‘fun camp’ (heaven) or ‘jail’ (hell), forever, whether that child is well or ill behaved, I’m willing to bet the vast majority would send their kids to ‘fun camp’. Those that wouldn’t.. Well, that’s a whole other conversation. But I will comment that those who wouldn’t must have been raised to believe love was conditional.
If God is love, and God is all that is, then that would mean that love is all there is, and that there’s nothing we have to do in order to be love(d).
You are loved.