The Bible and The Church Never Taught Me Unconditional Love
I started going to church with my family at 5 years old. For 30 years, I attended church every week. I read my Bible every day. My life was Christianity, the church and the Bible.
At 35 years old, I WOKE UP, spiritually speaking.
I left it all…but I didn’t leave and say FUCK YOU, GOD.
Why? Because I knew UNCONDITIONAL LOVE all my life. I felt God’s love in my life even in the midst of reading in the Bible that I’m a sinner. Even in the midst of being told by my pastors that it was my dad’s fault that I was gay. Even when my church mentors told me that I needed to immediately get away from living with my mama. Even when my Christian peers just stopped talking to me because their disciplers told them our friendship was unhealthy. I watched the countless times, how my church would love with conditions, and I would go home and weep…in the quietness of my room.
All along. I knew unconditional love, but it DID NOT come from reading it in the Bible or listening to thousands of hours of sermons in church. It came from listening to the still small voice within my heart. It came from the positive feelings I would feel from loving and being loved.
I am 43 years old now and what I undeniably know about love, is that it resides in the heart. In the church, I learned to think that I should always question the motives of my heart. I was convinced that I was born with an evil heart and only God, with my persistent, daily pleading could make it pure and clean. And even then, it was up to Him to decide. He could harden it if He wanted to like he did many people in stories in the Bible.
How can our hearts be deceitful above all things and in the same breath be where we are supposed to Love? Really God, Really Authors of the Bible? I may not be a scholar, but I certainly studied it within a community of others who studied it, shared it, and preached it. I am supposed to Love My Neighbor as Myself with my heart and it is a wicked and deceitful heart and then I’m supposed to give it back to God? This sounds heavy…this feels heavy…and it felt heavy when I was living it.
I don’t know why I believed this dark, depressing rhetoric for so long. Maybe because A BELIEF IS SOMETHING YOU TELL YOURSELF EVERYDAY. What is even more amazing to me is that the Real God of Love, whispered to me all that time, helping me see there is so much more Love than what I’d seen. So many people to love, so many different kinds of people to love, such greater depths of loving (myself and others). When I say the Real God of Love, I am talking neither about the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit, nor Alpha, nor Omega, nor Yahweh, nor Abba, nor Daddy, nor the Lord, nor any other title that I learned to call “Him”. I am talking about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE when I speak of the title God, which can be the Universe, Energy, Source, or whatever you have personally termed a higher power.
The “God” I’m talking about that has always resided in me is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. And what does that look like? Well, it’s really as simple as it sounds.
Unconditional: not limited by conditions; absolute
Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
To me, it means a thread of BEING that flows in and out of me without conditions. It is a Presence that pours love to me without telling me that I need to be heterosexual, skinny, polite, submissive, quiet, apologetic. It prods me to speak kindly. To accept others journeys as their own. It nudges me when I have hurt someone’s feelings and leads me to apologize. It reminds me that IT see’s me and is listening to my hearts desires. It pokes me gently when I engage with something or someone who is not bringing me to my higher self.
Only I can take myself out of love by my behaviors and reactions. If I am connected to Love, then I will feel positive emotions. If I stay connected to my Source of Love and am conscious of my emotions, then I will be guided within to a continuous path of pure love.
God is LOVE. Love resides within. It is our choice to BE LOVE.