When my children were little, they used to love to paint me pictures. Well, I am not sure that if we were adults we would call them pictures. They were more like little blots of color here and there on a page.
It was not uncommon for one of my children to come to me with these little Rorschach tests. They would walk up to me with big smiles on their faces. They would reach high and hand me these pieces of paper with the color blots on them and say, “this is for you, Daddy!” I would look at the page and say, “This is so beautiful! Tell me about it.” Then the child would say, “It is a house. That is my room.”
Before they got away, I would kiss them on the top of the head, smile and say, “Well, we should put this on the refrigerator door so that everyone can see it when they get things out of it!” After we firmly attached the little Rorshach test to the fridge with a magnet, and after another hug and kiss, off they went to conquer another project to make Mommy or Daddy happy.
Recently, while I was giving spiritual direction, I used this example to demonstrate a truth about the spiritual life. 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love.” 1 John goes on to say that, “perfect love casts out fear.” It also says that “we ought to stand with confidence at the judgment” because of God’s love for us. The spiritual life is a life lived with the assumption that God loves us. The prerequisite for being spiritual is to have a positive view of the relationship between God and humanity.
God is not against us. God is for us. His whole purpose in sending Jesus Christ is so that we are not judged. The focus of God toward humanity is on the relationship, the deeds will follow.
Too often, those who strive to do good in the world do them to achieve a status of lovability. They are working so that God will love them. We are they. We are striving, striving, striving. We are striving ourselves into the grave with the Devil laughing the whole time. He has convinced us that we were not worth loving. He has convinced us that God would only love us if we made ourselves worthy of loving. He has convinced us that we would never be able to make ourselves worthy of loving. All the while, the truth is that the love of God comes first.
All of the things we do for the Lord are like our own little Rorschach tests that we bring to the Lord and say, “Look, Daddy! I made it for you!” The truth is that no matter how bad it looks, if we have come to offer it because we love him, he will pin that offering on the Heavenly Fridge for all to see. It may not be good. It may not be the best. It may be feeble, lowly, and even just not of any quality of which to speak. Yet, the point of the relationship between the Father in Heaven and humanity is to be sincere and outward focused. The point of the relationship is to love Him, love others, and to be loved by him.
He loves us BEFORE we draw our pictures for the Heavenly Daddy. He rejoices over our little scribbles BECAUSE they are from us, not because they are going to be hung in the Louvre. We approach our Father in Heaven with confidence because we know he has not sent the Son to condemn us, but to help us. So, as we do the things of the Father for the Father in Heaven, if we are doing them to serve Him, then we draw our strength from the mercy, the kindness, the generosity, and the approval we know awaits us when we offer them to Him. So, wake up. Get up. Walk up. Reach up. Give. He loves it already.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian
“The spiritual life is a life lived with the assumption that God loves us.”