Do you REALLY believe that God loves you?

If I believed that God loves me, I would not beg for love and respect from other people and would even be less likely to commit fornication or adultry. I would not seek solace in food, alcohol or another addiction. I would not put my trust in money or material possessions and would therefore be free from greed and attachment. I wouldn’t worry about the future, nor regret the past, nor worry about what other people might think of me. If I really believed that God loves me, I can’t imagine one thing that I wouldn’t gladly give up for him… and I can’t imagine saying one unkind word to the worst genocider that has ever existed if I truly believed that God loved me so much that God the Son died for me on the Cross.

So my question is: how can a Christian who (claims to) believe that God loves him still be unkind, greedy, unchaste, or struggle with what God is asking from him ? It just doesn’t make sense. :confused:

Why do you think belief leads to obedience?
Did Adam and Eve not believe what God told them in person?

  1. God invites us to love, but he does not force us. He wants us to respond freely to Him,
    not out of coercion but out of love—from the core of our being. That is how much He
    respects us.

  2. Despite Christ’s salvific act which weakened our sins, our tendencies to sin are still in us
    called concupiscence

Despite our double mindedness, that does not change the love of God.The perfect image of the Father is found in the Prodigal Son. He is above all a merciful God.

Everytime my younger niece would doubt he would be forgiven I’d tell him the difference between Judas and Peter: Both disciples betrayed Jesus. But Peter chose to forgive himself and love again while Judas thought he could never be forgiven and so hanged himself. Peter recognized he was a sinner, but he never forgot that God is also merciful despite his weaknesses.:smiley:

We are VERY good at compartmentalizing.
Yes, I really know God loves me.
Yes, I am an abysmal failure at demonstrating this.

I pray to be made worthy, not as one who has yet achieved perfection.

You’d think after Jesus allowed Himself to be scourged and nailed to a cross and killed for us we would get it, yet we still struggle badly with the concept that God actually loves us. From lay people to cardinals many consider this the greatest mystery of the Church- “God actually loves me?”

I used to get bullied a lot for being “religious”. I hated it because I knew if I ever messed up- which I ALWAYS did- it would be a huge scandal because aren’t religious people supposed to be perfect? And the stink wouldn’t just be on me it’d be on my Church. I actually started hiding in the chapel at lunch so that my faults and failings would be known to none but Christ- I was so consumed by shame, I couldn’t face anybody. I did not understand God loved me and for the most part I still don’t.
I’m just a coward like that.

We’re not perfect and we make no secret of it. In the old testament- for instance King David was an adulterer and murderer. Then moving on we have our first Pope St. Peter who denied Christ three times. St. Paul- used to be known as Saul and was an accomplice in the execution of St. Stephen as well as many other disciples of Christ. St. Augustine- used to be a drunk and had a son out of wedlock. St. Thomas Aquinas- brilliant mind but struggled with temperance- he was around 300lbs. St. Francis was having visions/dreams about what God wanted him to do but it wasn’t until he was captured by the Perugians, became very ill, was ransomed a year later, then ill again that he finally listened. St. Therese of Lesuix- literally went to Rome and tried to trick the Pope into giving her permission to become a nun while underage.

This is not an excuse for our imperfections- I hope no Christian and/or Catholic has ever hurt you. Please pray for them if they have- that they will respond to God’s grace and be redeemed. God can make each of us perfect like He did in those very Saints. Like another said before- it’s in how we respond. We can respond like Peter or like Judas. And you’re right if we responded properly- we wouldn’t be such terrible examples.
But even a coward Judas can be redeemed by God’s grace.

I hope the saints can serve as the example you are looking for since we have failed you. God does love you- He loves you so much He would rather send His only Son to die than risk spending eternity without you. He wants you.

Yes

Intellectual blelief does not lead to obedience.
But the experience that God loves me, i.e recieving that love and letting it fill my heart will wash away insecurities and fill the hole one might otherwise try to fill by other means such as social approval, sensual pleasure, power, money…It’s almost a mechanical thing, if you’re secure in the knowledge that God loves you, then you have no hole in your heart that you might want to fill through greed and lust and overeating and pride… for all these things are a counter productive way of looking for love and hapiness.

But how is it even possible to compartmentalize, when it comes to God’s love?

When it comes to my parents for example, if I really felt their love, understanding and approval (I don’t mean nagging, manipulating or unsollicited advice but geniune appreciation), if I had their blessings, their fundamental approval and appreciation of who I am, of my core being, there is nothing I would not do for them or would not give them, and I would be very reluctant to misbehave and wouldnt even be attracted to sin. I would gladly die for them. And these are my imperfect parents! What would it be if I believd God himself loves me?

I cannot help thinking that if you sin, it is because the hole in your heart that only God’s love can fill is still empty, you can intellectually believe that God loves you, but you don’t really experience it, so a part of you, the part that is attracted to sin doesn’t buy that god loves you…

Sometimes.

Isabella. A very good question, and I can see it is a big concern for you-- as it well should be! Your arguments are logical, but they are unfortunately not true-- the foundation of their logic is built upon fallacy, and so the logical conclusion is a false one also.

You seem to be suggesting a false dichotomy (either you have zero working faith or perfect working faith [where working is the fuller version of faith you are seeking, beyond intellectual]) and permitting no room in between. Either you are perfect in your love, or you have no love. This is a false dichotomy, failing to recognize a lot of in-between.

Take this from the Haydock commentary on a passage that is so rife with meaning that It cuts me to the quick when I read it. Notice both Ven. Bede and St. Jerome are the commentators.

First, the passage, Mark 9 22, 23
22 And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
23 And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears, said: I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief.

Ver. 23. If the man believed, as he said, why does he add, help my unbelief? It may be answered: because faith is manifold; there [sic] is a faith of beginners, and a faith of the perfect. The incipient faith this man already possessed, and he besought our Saviour to help him to the higher degrees of this virtue. No one becomes great and perfect all at once, but must first set off with small beginnings, and thus gradually ascend to the height of perfection. Thus the man, who, by the inspiration of grace has received imperfect faith, may be said at the same time to believe, and still to be incredulous. (Ven. Bede) — Here we are taught that our faith is weak, and has need of support and increase from God’s assistance. When tears accompany our faith, they obtain for us the grant of our petitions. (St. Jerome)

It is not a question of “is the light switch on our off?” For if it is off, the room is dark, if it is on, the room is lit. It is perhaps more one of those lights that adjusts on a knob. There is an ‘off’, which would be dreadful for our spiritual welfare. But there are a lot of shades of ‘on’ over which you have passed.

Because here in this life we’re in a process of coming to know and love God. Here we see “as through a glass darkly”, inspired by the gift of faith, but only then, in the next life, will we “see face to face” (1Cor 13:12). Here we struggle with whatever motivated Adam & Eve to disobey, to rebel, to sin: the notion that we might find greater fulfillment and happiness if free from subjugation to God, apart from Whom, Jesus tells us in John 5:15, we can do nothing. Here we’re to learn, gruelingly at times, of our absolute need for communion with Him, of the deceitfulness of those lesser, created, goods that attract us away from Him first above all else. We’re here, with the “help” of such things as the knowledge of good and evil, together with revelation and grace, to come to identify and learn to run, like Prodigals, to the Good alone. We 're here to come to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength-and to know why as our hunger and thirst for Him increases in this life. But that hunger also actually serves to increase our pain as we become more clearly aware of its source: our distance here on earth from the object of our love. Only in the next life, where evil is excluded and we’re in the immediate presence of sheer Goodness, will uncompromised, boundless, peace and happiness be ours and all pain and tears be eliminated. Here the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, here we struggle, while there the struggle is over; in His presence, in the actual presence of infinite Love, all is good, all is complete, all desire is fulfilled.

Hello Isabella.

I think you may be confused about a few things.

I love God and I believe He loves me, yet I still sin. No I do not sin mortally, but I still sin. If I could have perfect love for God, then I wouldn’t sin hardly at all because out of my love for Him I would no longer be able to imagine doing anything that would be against my Love. But I have not achieved perfect love for God yet. I can work on it and do what I can to facilitate that, but I am no Saint. Perfect love for God and the benefits of that most virtuous state is rare in this life. Saints like St. Therese, the Little Flower, St. Faustina, St. Mary Magedalen and of course Mary, the Mother of God are examples of persons who have achieve perfect love for God in this life.

The thing I think you’re confused about is that you think if you “believed harder” you wouldn’t sin so much. This is a common dilemma to those new to the spiritual life. We are all sinners. This is a fact. It is only the Sanctifying grace of God that can if He wills it, preserve us from sin. He willed this state of perfection for His Mother from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, but she is the only singular vessel of this action of God. There is none like her nor will there ever be, however she is also an example of what we will be like when we are in Heaven for it is there that we will have perfect love of God and will be sinless.

What the rest of us sinners have to do is work against our sins. We have to change our behaviors and seek help when it is called for. For, instance, if you were addicted to drink, you could seek the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous in overcoming your drink problem. Once there they would show you how to address the specific behaviors that lead you to drinking bouts. You would get help to change whatever it is in your life that keeps you drunk. For sins like gossip, you need to figure out that each and every time you talk to a certain person, you engage in gossip and stop yourself. Or perhaps another example would be television and the horrible stuff that is on it and your viewing habits. Avoiding sin there is as simple as changing the channel or turning it off altogether. But your love for God isn’t the problem. The problem is sin.

I hope this helped clear up some of your dilemma. Keep in mind we are all sinners called to repentance and all those who take their spiritual health and growth seriously get deeply bothered by their personal sins. This is necessary so you will see where you need to work to change. This is the road to sanctity. Do not get discouraged and give up. It is hard work. Pat yourself on your back for just beginning to try. That in itself is a big step some never take.

Glenda

Good point.

Adam and Eve knew that God existed. He was a very real tangible presence in their lives. They lived in a place.that gave everything they needed. They still sinned.

Yes, but they disbelieved God, believing a lie instead, plaicng their own agenda ahead of Truth. Why they didn’t value God’s opinion-and obey His command- is a lesson we all have to learn IMO.

That’s because our present state is abnormal, not normal, due to Original Sin.

Here on earth a saint is not a perfect person. A saint is a saved sinner.

YES!

he is probably angry at me for jacking off all the time
even so i cant stop doing it
i wish that you pray for me if it is not too selfish, but his will be done in all things not mine

How is it possible to *not *compartmentalize?
If I truly sat around trying to fathom all that His Grace imparts, I would be unable to move or to think; I would not even be able to breathe from the overwhelming glory of it all.

I know my parents “love” me- but from them it is a vanity. If I do well they take pride me; if I fail, it is somehow a reflection of them. It’s nothing like divine love.
I’m glad that you have a nice perspective on divine love from your parents, but that does not work for all of us.

I can say with absolute certainty that the hole in my heart is now filled.
Anyone who doubts needs to fast about it. I fasted for a year. I gave up coffee and all sweets. (Things I had turned to for comfort). Grace made it easy.

Still … I sin. It is not a doubt of God or God’s love, though, so much as it is a doubt of myself. A sloppiness in my execution of faith that I strive to perfect despite all of the negative feedback from the world around me.

If I had it all perfect, what need would I have of prayer?

That “Christian” is still a human being, it is that simple.

I know that my children knew I loved them. Were they little paragons of perfection? No way. Did they try to be good? Of course. Did they always succeed? Nope. Did they stop trying? Maybe when they were in their mid-teens:p. As adults do they try again? Yes. Did I ever stop loving them? Not really (I wasn’t always sure when they had major fits of teenage angst. I am human after all.)

We are like little kids. We try to be worthy of the love God has for us. We know we will never be the paragons of perfection we’d like to be. Will we succeed? Nope. Should we stop trying? No way.

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