I tend to be rather "hard" on myself. It is easy for me to be understanding and forgiving with others, but I hold myself to a much stricter standard. I can give others "slack" but I find it difficult to extend that same "slack" to myself.
I found that I also applied that same standard to my relationship with God, somehow assuming that He was as "hard" on me as I was on myself. One night, in a conversation with my son, I saw a "mirror" of myself as God sees me. Let me explain.
I was talking to my son, a (then) normal activesix year old. We had gone through a situation earlier where he intentionally disobeyed me, and as is my custom, we talk about it. I believe it is important that he understands what he did and what he should have done instead.
As I was putting him to bed that evening, I was explaining to him the concept of "choices" -- that he had a choice to do the "right thing" or the "wrong thing" -- the choice was his. I explained about the rewards of making the "right" choices and the consequences of making the "wrong" choices.
I then said to him, "I want you to always remember that I love you all the time. That does not change. I do not stop loving you because you made a "wrong" choice. I always want you to make the "right" choice, but I love you even when you make the "wrong" choice."
I wanted him to understand that my love for him was unconditional and that there was nothing he could ever do to change it. I wanted him to understand that my love for him was not based on what he did or did not do.
I know God's voice. Before I was even finished speaking, from deep within, I heard these words, "Now, listen to what you just told your son. Do you think I feel any different about you?"
In that moment, I was set free. From a simple "father lesson" that night while putting a little boy to bed, I found a new confidence and security in my relationship with God. I began to look at how I loved my son, and understand that my Father loves me even more than that. Infinitely more.
Our God is a "big" God. When you make the "wrong choice" (and most likely at some point you will), He is not devastated. He knows you will fail. He has anticipated your failure and He has already made provision for it.
There is nothing You could do that would stop Him from loving You. And I hope there is nothing you will do that will stop you from loving Him.
When You make the "wrong" choice, do not be afraid to come to Him and make it right. His love for You is still the same. It has not changed. He is more eager to receive You than You can imagine.
G. Randall Vaughn