Worthy of His Disappointment?

It was a short exchange, but hopefully a fruitful one. A man had written me about the hope of getting together some time. In his email he expressed some thoughts about a previous blog that gave me pause.

When you ask the question, “Are you worthy of Love?”, I had to think about it.

Until Papa wagged “her” finger (in THE SHACK) and said, “I am especially fond of that one”, I would have said that God was disappointed with me… He did die for me, so mentally, I get the gist of John 3:16. (But) I am worthy of his disappointment. (Emphasis mine.)

My response: I’m not sure how you meant, “…worthy of his disappointment.” For God to be disappointed he would have to have expectations of you that you could meet by your own strength. And yet he knows we were “helpless” in sin.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that God was never disappointed in you? Of course, he’s been disappointed in choices you’ve made and things you’ve done, just as you have been with your girls. But never disappointed in YOU as his child.

That’s the key, I think….

Then he wrote back:

Your email gave me reason to pause and think.

My comment about being “…worthy of his disappointment” comes from being raised that we are basically bad in the sight of God… From that “programming” I realize that it is my expectation to disappoint him.

Being helpless in my sin is such a different way of thinking.

While it would be GREAT to know that God was never disappointed in me, I have to get that to my heart. Mentally I can get that I am loved, not a disappointment, etc. I think that mental knowing causes obligation, where really knowing in your heart causes peace and rest and a returned affection.

So what really caused me to think was that I HAVE been disappointed in my girls as people… NOT just in the choices they made. My religious upbringing caused the expectation that you could not “sin” if you just tried hard enough. Therefore if you do, then you “meant to”…

I am this same way with the few relationships in my life that have gone sideways. I have a relationship where a church friend lied to me to get me to join him in work. Then he continued to lie, cheat, and steal from me. I had higher expectations of him, so I hold him responsible and I am VERY disappointed with him as a person. Forgiveness is very hard here. I have a similar issue with (a relative). She isn’t a nice person to me. Again, I realize that I have higher expectations of her. I don’t think of either of them as being “helpless in their sin”, but mean people who purposefully hurt me. I AM very dissapointed in them… not their actions.

Over the past several years of thinking what it means to live loved, I really do see other people differently than I used to. Maybe I just realized that I have different expectations of them. I have started to apply this to my daughters. It may need to extend further.

This is a great journey to explore for him, for his daughters, and for everyone else around him. Religion has pounded into our heads for so long that we are a constant disappointment to God. He is offended and angry with our sins and mistakes. Only Jesus’ death made us bearable to him. But none of that is true. God sees us as powerless against the brokenness of this age and the brokenness of our own souls.

The process of healing and freedom begins when we realize we are a treasure to God. Our failures don’t make us a stench in his nostrils, but the victims of a tragic fall, even more endearing because of the darkness of our struggle. That’s why he came to rescue us, not so that he could love us, but because he already did.

I know some see that as making an excuse for sin, as if God doesn’t care. Oh, he cares. He sees the destruction of sin in each of us individually and in the larger human experience. He abhors the pain and suffering we cause each other by our self-indulgent ways and the unintentional fruit of our coping mechanisms. But he also knows the only way out is to return to his love. People who are loved well by the Father will find increasing freedom from sin’s tentacles and become a reflection of his love and healing in the world toward others.

If God is disappointed in YOU, then you have to find your way out. If he was never disappointed in you, then you have a Father to run to and a process to engage that will set you increasingly free to live as the beloved son or daughter of a gracious Father, because that’s exactly who you are!

So in your listening to the breath of the Spirit today, see if you hear something like, “I know you’ve been through some rough waters and made some hurtful choices.  I am disappointed for the pain it has caused you and others, but I have never been disappointed in you as my child. I’ve held you in my heart every day, waiting for you to turn and embrace my love.”

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7 Comments
  1. Ruby Neumann January 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

    My understanding of disappointment is this.. it comes from unmet expectations… expectations indicate a lack of knowledge. We don’t know… so we expect… How can God have any expectations when he knows everything.. So no expectations, no disappointment. Either in me or in anything I do. Maybe a better word is saddened… Maybe God is saddened by our choices, but disappointed… doesn’t even make sense.

    Now Human beings.. with limited knowledge… lots of expectations and plenty of disappointment. But if we are going to believe that God is all-knowing.. then it makes sense to believe that nothing we do, say or are… will EVER disappoint him… sadden him… maybe, but disappoint him… NEVER!!!

    Ruby from Calmar.

  2. Mike January 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

    This makes so much sense. I knew I was just being selfish when angry at my children after disappointing rather than more hurting because they were hurting themselves. Why would a perfect God be any less of a lover than my ideal self? As you say feeling loved seems the only way out of habitual sins. Accountability and guilt hasn’t done much for me.

  3. Wayne Jacobsen January 24, 2018 at 9:18 am

    One of my favorite quotes of all time I heard in Wales and quoted it as an epigraph in HE LOVES ME: “God has never been disillusioned with you, because he never had illusions about you to begin with.” Love what that says!

  4. Don Johns January 24, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Your commentary for 1/24/18 was spot on today. As a pastor for 25+ years, I know the opposite is taught regularly and there are many in churches eager to push that to conform all to their thinking. You stated the freedom in Christ. Thank you!

    Don

  5. Kevin January 24, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    That’s right on Wayne. Great reminder. I think all of us parents, need that reminder from time to time.

  6. Amistigoso January 25, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Worthy of disappointment. Hmmmm. It comes to me that this idea has merit but can be “overmilled”. Ground too fine.
    Ahhh. The”grid” component. Condemnation is a favorite tool of the wicked one. Let’s look at this from the perspective of our legal standing before God as compared to our vital standing in our walk with the Holy Spirit.

    We know that Jesus is seated at the right hand of The Father where He “ever lives to make intercession for us”. Therefore as we are legally in Christ, God sees us as He sees Christ. “Jesus Christ has been made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption”. As well as “there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus”.

    Then there is the vital standing. We have innumerable faults and failures that God through Christ is working on us and in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a lifetime process, reconcilable only when we “see Him, for then we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is”.

    The key here is taking enough time in our daily lives to know that we know the voice of the Holy Spirit and are willing to respond to that Voice the moment He speaks to us. A lot of times we resist, but God has infinite tools at His disposal to “help” us to give up and give in. This again, is out part in the whole equation. Is our reverence for God and His Holiness fine tuned to the degree where we’re willing to “turn on a dime” from something that offends the Holy Spirit?

    I think someone, maybe Wayne, said something to the effect that “worthy of disappointment” was the ultimate oxymoron, or something to that effect. Surely we disappoint the Holy Spirit often and scripture speaks specifically to that. And many a failure He does not bring immediately to our attention as He has bigger fish to fry. If He showed us all out failures simultaneously we would surely die “no man can see God “fully” and hence themselves fully” as the shock of that would result in death. “No man can see God “fully” and live”.

    Not sure if I missed the point on this, but I would hope that there are as or more meaningful topics in the offing.

  7. Karen Fulton January 26, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Very timely post for me to read. I have been working through a journaling devotional that walks the reader through asking the Lord questions based on scriptures. I have realized that I am blank when it comes to the questions like, “what do You delight in about me?”and “Does Your face light up when You see me?”
    While I know in my head that God loves me. I realized that I have most often thought He loves me as an obligation. I see now that even in my relationships that much of my “love” is out of “obedience, commands, and duty.” Is that even love?
    I have been a Christian for over 30 years but am really a baby in my true knowledge of Grace and Truth.
    I am excited to be learning new ways, His ways, to see and think!

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