God loves you.
Let me rephrase that:
God loves you, but...
That's what I was taught, and that's what I believed. God loves you, but...
God's love and God's obsessive legalism are at odds with each other. God loves us, but God is required to send us to hell. But, you know, since God loves us, God created a way out. Through Jesus.
If we believe in Jesus, we can be with God forever. Otherwise, God can't accept us.
God loves you, but God doesn't accept you.
God loves you, but God is going to send you to hell.
God loves you, but in your current state, you are too dirty to even be near God.
God loves you, but.
In this ideology, "love" means "The way you are is not okay. But I care about you so much that I want to help you change and become the kind of person I can accept."
God loves everyone, but God accepts no one. It is only through Jesus that our sins can be covered, that we can hide enough of our intrinsically dirty and unacceptable selves, and sneak in to being accepted by God.
Evangelical Christianity has always taught me very clearly: it's not about what you do. Salvation is not works-based (in fact, we are so on guard against the idea that salvation might be works-based that we distrust Christians who place any importance on doing good deeds).
It's not what you do, because we can never be good enough to earn God's love. All God sees is our disgusting sin.
It's not who you are, because there is no such thing as a "good person." (The bible is clear on that. Also the bible is clear that people are made in the image of God, but that never seems to be mentioned when discussing whether people are basically good or basically bad.)
No, the one thing God can accept is an attitude of repentance. The only way God can accept you is if you say, "yes, I am unacceptable, and I will do ANYTHING to change." (Though of course, the DOING part isn't important, it's the attitude. But of course, if your attitude is truly right, then you WILL go do the right stuff. Nope, nothing works-based here.)
The way God loves us is "hate the sin, love the sinner." God thinks "everything about you is wrong- but come to me and I will help you change."
Did I go too far? "Everything about you is wrong"- really, everything? Yes- if you believe in the "all non-Christians automatically go to hell" view of hell, then you believe it is right to throw away the whole person because of finite sins. If God thinks I deserve to go to hell, it means God sees nothing beautiful, nothing salvageable about who I am now.
God loves you, but.
God loves you, but God can't accept you. God loves you, but God believes everyone is supposed to go to hell.
It was never a problem for me though- I never worried about God rejecting me or sending me to hell. Because I was saved. I had accepted Jesus into my heart or whatever. I was repentant.
And now I'm not repentant anymore, and that's the worst offense in the eyes of this God.
No, I will not change. No, I will not go back to believing your bullshit- about how "this is the correct Christian view on this topic, this is what God wants you to do, etc." I will not surrender myself to be made into a "good Christian" again.
If I had killed someone and then repented, I would be okay- I would go to heaven. God would accept me. But this, the way I am now, doing my best to care about people and search for truth, and ending up with a very different worldview than "the Christian worldview"... and, dear me, she doesn't even think she's done anything wrong- this is the greatest sin. This is what people go to hell for. This- being unrepentant- is the one thing that decides if God accepts you or not.
God loves us, but God cannot accept us as we are. God's love means that God would like to lead us toward change. God's love means that even though God correctly views us as awful and worthless, God would like to help us change that.
Now I'm not willing to change anymore, so, you can see where that leaves me.
(And you wonder why I'm in therapy.)
God loves you unconditionally, but unless you meet these conditions, God can't actually do anything for you.
God loves you, but God hates what you're doing with your life. Hates your sinful lifestyle. Hate the sin, love the sinner.
God loves you, but because you believe the "wrong" religion, God can't accept you. Oh, you never had an opportunity to believe the "right" religion? Oh, you searched for the truth and studied hard and are honestly doing your best to follow God, but it's the wrong God? TOO BAD. Hell.
God loves you, but.