God is Not Mad at You
By Jeannie Cunnion
One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture has always been Romans 8:38-39.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow— not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed— nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)
What I love most about this verse is how committed Paul appears to be in ensuring that we don’t miss the “nothing” part of this verse. Do you see it? He created a short but meaningful list of things that cannot separate us from God’s love.
- fears for today
- worries about tomorrow
- the powers of hell
- power in the sky above or in the earth below
It’s like he is saying, “Just in case you think there is anything you have done, are doing, or might one day do that puts you in jeopardy of losing God’s love, let me assure you that you there isn’t!”
And yet, I am going to assume I am not the only one who reads verses like Romans 8:38–39 and still thinks, Surely it’s not that simple. Surely there is something we bring to the Cross that falls under the “everything but that” category. And you know what we do? We put a but right in the middle of Paul’s assurance.
We read, “Nothing but _________ can separate me from the love of God.”
Now, maybe you put one big thing on that line. Or maybe you put several smaller things. Maybe you put both.
Can we get uncomfortable for a moment? Can we pause here and be honest with ourselves about those small and big things we have been holding on to—the things we fear have piled up and built a wall between us and God’s love?
- your dark past
- your dark present
- your doubts
- your temper
- your prideful heart
- your anger
- your eating disorder
- your financial failure
- an abortion
- an affair
- a substance addiction
- a pornography addiction
- your divorce
- your dishonesty
- your lack of empathy or action for those suffering injustice
- your jealousy
- your imperfect parenting
- your lack of gratitude
Even as we read Paul’s assurance, we hurry to fill in that blank with the painful “truths” about ourselves, with our shortcomings, our sins, and our sorrows. In other words, we fill in that blank with all the things we believe make us unworthy of the welcome and affection of God. We fill in that blank with the “too dirty” things—the things that we believe are so deeply embedded into the fabric of our being that His blood cannot possibly reach, nonetheless wash clean, as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
We don’t see ourselves through God’s lens of mercy and grace. Instead, we see ourselves exactly as the enemy would have us see ourselves—through the lens of condemnation and shame.
Of course this doesn’t mean that our sin and rebellion don’t break the heart of God. They absolutely do. But because of Jesus, our sin and rebellion don’t make us less lovable to Him. That’s the difference! The truth is that because of Jesus, God is not mad at us. How do we know? Because He’s not mad at His Son. And when we are hidden in Christ, God loves us as He loves His Son (Romans 5:9–11).
You, dear one—the one who fears she has disappointed God—you bring your heavenly Father great joy. You are marked by His love—not by your mistakes, not by your failures, not by the sins you’ve committed or the sins committed against you. You are God’s deeply loved daughter.
God, who sees into the deep recesses of our heart, welcomes us at our very worst. And by His grace, He changes our identity from rebellious sinner to radically loved friend of God (Romans 9:25).
And here’s the beautiful thing. As the truth of God’s great grace penetrates and transforms our hearts, our desire to love God outweighs our desire to sin against Him. That’s what grace does. It makes our hearts break over the same things that break the heart of God. It melts the hardest hearts and inspires us, as new creations in Christ, to stumble toward authentic holiness through life in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So I need you to know this. Whatever it is that you insert on that “nothing but _____” line, His grace is big enough (Ephesians 1:6–8).
The Cross outweighs all of our offenses. The big ones. The little ones. And all the in-between ones. So we are free to get honest with ourselves about ourselves, and we are free to get honest with one another about whatever it is that makes us feel we are unworthy of God’s affection and unwelcome at His table.
Jesus doesn’t offer us a “nothing but _____” kind of love. His is an “even that” kind of love.
Today, we celebrate the recent release of Jeannie’s latest book, Mom Set Free. This is the book that will help moms parent in the confidence of God’s grace.
Kathie Lee Gifford says of the book: “Mom Set Free will empower you to push back the pressures of parenting with the truth of God’s Word. Don’t miss out on the relief waiting for you within these pages.”
Mom Set Free should be the book that sits on every mother’s nightstand. Read this empowering message, and walk in the freedom you are made for.