Belief #6: God is Love.
This one takes a lot of defining, because love is such an ambiguous word in our culture. Fortunately, Darin Hufford already did a stellar job in his books, The God's Honest Truth and The Misunderstood God. I HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy. The book The God's Honest Truth changed my life.
Here is a summary of my belief system about love, and how it would look for God to be Love, most of which are revelations from Darin's writings with my own personal twist (based on 1 Cor 13):
Love is Patient. God is in essence patience. He NEVER looses his temper. It's not even possible; he's patience itself.
Love is Kind. God is not manipulative. He does not give gifts so that we'll GIVE THEM ALL BACK. He's not looking for or needing our time, talent, treasure, glory or life. He gave us those things freely because he's KINDNESS, not to get something out of us. He wanted to touch our hearts with them.
Love is not jealous. AMEN. God is not a jealous God in the sense that he craves and deserves all the gifts he's given us back again. He doesn't want all the glory, either. Can you imagine a father saying, "I'll love you and raise you, but everytime you accomplish anything in your life, make sure to give me ALL THE GLORY." God is glory, he's got plenty to spare and lavishes it on us. If you've accomplished something, go ahead, take credit. And he doesn't envy your love and attention on others. To love is to be God to those people. He is everywhere in that.
Love does not boast. A boaster is codependent. They need the approval of others to feel ok. I think Jesus is proof enough that God is not concerned about his reputation. He doesn't want to make sure you know at every moment the difference between you and him. That creates a gap. He came as Christ to close the gap. Going beneath us as a poor, dirty vagabond carpenter, so that he could lift us up.
Love is not proud. Pride indicates a core belief that you need no one. God needs us. He is infinite creativity, the muse for all artists. Artists need to create. He is LOVE, relational, and needs children, like a young married couple that hopes for children. His creation and family are what dwells in his heart.
Love is not rude. God doesn't "tell it like it is" without concern for stepping on the heart. Every move he makes has our care in mind. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not put out.
Love is not self-seeking. It is relational. God is relational. He is father, you are child. The father looks out for the interest of the child. The father didn't have children so he could take advantage of them for his own interests. That would be sick.
Love is not easily angered. So you can quit worrying about a God that "gives up on you", "looses patience" with you, "turns his face" from you, is "grieved" by you, etc. All bullshit. All the wrath God has ever had was dissolved in the person of Christ and his sacrifice. There is no more wrath. It has been satisfied.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Thank God. I used to do that. Every time my husband was late, I thought he didn't care about my time and felt free to waste it. He's late a lot. I built up over the course of our 19 year marriage quite a case against him. I had a mountain of evidence. When I learned God was not doing this oppressive, destructive habit with me, it set me free to set him free.
Love does not delight in evil. He doesn't punish, use fear tactics, guilt and shame people, or give and take our salvation depending on our behavior that day. He doesn't take vengence. Like before stated, he died and rose to conquer all that.
Love rejoices with the truth. God is Love and Truth, so he deals with us according to both. Gently guiding us to discover what is real and what is the fiction in our minds, he matures us by exposing us a bit at a time to truth. He chisles away like water carressing stone at the walls in our hearts. Never jack-hammer style. Such a God sets us free to respect where other people are on their own journies and leave them be.
Love always protects. How does God always protect? God's love is like a blanket hiding and treasuring the deepest, core truth and essence of who we are. Often in yoga, I guide my students to "go inward" to that part of them which is perfect, pure, stable, still and complete. It is you, and it cannot be molested by the outside world. Why? Because it is covered in the love of God. No matter what happens, when we take the time to go inward, through the layers of ourselves to our very core, we find it untouched, content, and complete. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." The true self is never in want of anything, for it has LOVE to protect it.
Love always trusts. God always trusts you, because the first step in loving someone is to trust. You cannot love fully when part of your heart doesn't trust. His heart is all yours, and his trust is complete. He trusts in your way of being, learning, growing and becoming. The huge amount of freedom we have to act and become shows a lot of trust. Its the exact thing Church, Inc is so uncomfortable with. They want to box you in, so Christianity isn't just a big free-for-all. They don't trust Christians to find God and grow in love simply on their own, with nothing but the assurance of God's love for them to guide them.
Love always hopes. Hope is a trust placed in truth. Hope placed in falsehood is just wishing. Hope looks forward to what WILL be. Our value to God is not only who we are now, but who we will be. He knows our outcome, and is never without hope for us.
Love never fails. God never fails. That's why I don't believe in Hell. No matter how grim a person appears to be, they have a core self that wishes for freedom and redemption, that wishes for love. And they ARE loved. If they can't get connected with that enough to break free from their earthly hell in this life, then they'll be set free in the next. Love won't break them or snuff them out.
So there it is.