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Getting Rid of the False God of Punishment

In John 8:12-19, we read a remarkable quote by Jesus: “… because I am not alone: I have at my side the Father who sent me.” It begs the question, how did Jesus feel so un-alone when the Father was so invisible and intangible? We all have times of feeling alone. When we’re judged unfairly by those around us, we feel quite alone, even within our community of friends and family.

God's fatherhoodIf we are doing our best to live a holy life, repent of our sins, and grow in our ability to love everyone, the Father is definitely standing at our side. He is so there, so real, so close to us, that if we COULD see Him (in some image we’d understand), we would melt into the love He’s pouring into us. All our fears, worries, anger, and hurt would dissolve in His embrace. That’s what it will be like when we die and enter into the glory of eternal life, but hey, we need it NOW!

In our earthly bodies, we can’t see Him and we’re not fully aware of His closeness. We don’t sense His stick-to-it-iveness as He remains tightly present at our side. He’s there, but yet we feel so alone.

Read the Gospel passage through the eyes of Jesus, in order to get in touch with the relationship He had with His Father:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:12-19 NIV, italics mine).

Because you have given yourself to Jesus, He has given you to the Father and the Father to you. Through Jesus, you have the same wonderful Father-Child intimacy that the Son cherished.

This Father is your Dear Daddy, your Perfect Daddy (i.e., the Fully Loving Parent, which includes all the nurturing traits of motherhood), and He believes in you. He not only loves you, but He likes you. He appreciates you. The Father cries with you when you’re hurting and comforts you in His big, soft, secure lap. He knows how hard you’ve been working to improve yourself. He understands your shortcomings and has unending patience for you. He admires you for the efforts you put into overcoming your sins.

If you see God the Father as a Punisher who’s always on the look-out for you to do wrong so that He can slap you on the knuckles and ground you in your room of misery, you’re believing in a false god. When Jesus died on the cross for you, He took the punishment you deserve for your sins. When the Father gazes upon you now, He sees your sins nailed to the cross and He sees you as the beautiful gem He designed you to be. Even before you repent in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He is enjoying your inner beauty, which is the real you that He had made in His image. Confession and forgiveness clear up the mess between you and Him, so that the gunk on your gem is no longer clogging up your relationship, but He never stops smiling at who you really are.

To grow in your awareness of how alone you really are not, meditate on how loving and perfect as a Father God really is. Get very familiar with this, so that the next time you feel alone due to the unfair judgments and wrong perceptions of others, you are more able to sense how very close at your side the Father is. It’s not easy to notice an invisible Father and to feel His non-physical protective embrace and to hear His quiet reassurance that He knows how good you really are, but we need this! It takes prayer time, much prayer time spent cuddled up on Daddy-God’s lap. Start increasing that time. Go sit in His love right now!

© 2001 by Terry A. Modica


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Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay is a Catholic adult faith formation and evangelization ministry in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. We offer events such as seminars, retreats, courses, and parish missions. Our speakers for Catholic adult education specialize in teaching the Church documents, Bible study, the Vocation of Marriage, and prayer. Our services include daily Good News Reflections on the readings from Catholic Mass, WordBytes e-magazine, Virtual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Online Rosaries, and much more. As a non-profit charitable organization, GNM charges no fees but accepts donations to continue ministering. Catholic Digital Resources is Terry Modica's writing services company. Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay, Inc., is an equal opportunity agency; we never practice discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, other than as allowed by law.