He gets such a bad rap. Religion has shamed him and made him out to be a grumpy, stiff-necked curmudgeon who cares nothing for grace and shakes a finger at all our foibles and mistakes and sin with no offer of true freedom from the burden.
Then feel good religion makes matters even worse when it sits around the campfire singing God is love and let's just sing kumbya while we're at it hoping to repair the damage religion has done without cleaning out the heart that Jesus is waiting to abide completely and fully.
I wish you knew how safe he is to say to him,
"I have really messed up, God. I have not just sinned, I've lied. I've cheated. I've murdered. I've hated. I've been prideful, arrogant, and so afraid to admit the truth about who I really am."
He can handle that confession. It won't surprise him.
And best of all, when you agree with God about what he already knows is true about you then you may hear him say things like this:
I know you did those things. But I love you anyway. Now, come and sit on my lap and let's clean out every little corner of your heart that doesn't have me in it and we'll set up my chair right inside you. When I'm inside you, I make sure those things that trapped you in the past have no more room for you there.
I'll keep a close eye on your heart. I'll let you know when you're close to crossing those lines you used to cross that separated you from me. I'll give you an escape route when you're tempted to cross over into those deserts with no oasis in sight.
I'll give you what you need to continually make choices that are on my freedom trail. I'll put everything you need inside you to face the consequences of choices you can't change and consequences I won't allow myself to stop. I'm a good father and as much as I hate to see you suffer, I love you enough to let you taste the discomfort of my discipline so that you never want to suffer from those consequences again.
I'll help you walk away from the things you thought you could never leave, the things you thought loved you more than I did.
I'll cheer you on when you put one foot in front of the other, and I'll come back and get you when you fall behind a few steps. I'll carry you when you need carrying, I'll walk ahead and behind you. You may lose sight of me, but I'll never lose sight of you.
I am for you, not against you.
I have better things planned for you then any of the lies you believed about yourself would ever tell.
You are my child, my royal prince or princess. You are a part of my kingdom and though earthly life is bittersweet for now, in my invisible kingdom, the fruits are delicious and plentiful.
Only one thing is ever required of you. Just believe.
Believe that you are my child.
Believe that as my child I don't want you to suffer from bad choices or sin.
I will let you suffer, because a good Dad is not afraid to discipline the child he loves, but it is not my first choice for you. If I could teach you some other way in this sin laden world, without compromising who I am, believe me, I would.
But I love you enough to not force you to love me.
My first choice for you always is to trust me.
Just trust me.
See, when you trust me, the temptations and bad choices won't have the same power. Oh sure, they will try to woo you and make you go down a road that is rocky, but it is never my first choice for you. Never. Ever.
Trust me with your secrets. Trust me with your confession. Trust me with your freedom.
Just try me, let me prove myself to you. Let me prove my trustworthiness is true. Don't listen to what religion has said about me. Don't trust what the Kumbya singers say either.
Check me. Confirm my actions with my words and my words by my actions.
I know it's uncomfortable facing the truth. But you don't know the whole truth about yourself like I do.
You are not your sins or your mistakes or your bad choices.
You are my child. Holy and dearly loved.
Trust me. I'm safe.
Just trust me.
Those are the kind of things I've learned about him. I hope you take the chance and find out for yourself.