Is God Punishing Me?

About a year ago my family and I were staying at a homeless shelter. We had a lot of challenges before we could achieve self-sufficiency. During this time we fixed a lot of things in our lives, such as getting our driver’s licences back, getting jobs, recovery, etc. Out of the blue, a charity selected us – a needy family – to receive a car. It was the nicest and most beautiful car we’ve ever had. We knew it was God and that he blessed us with it because he was proud of us.

Recently, I got into a car accident. Though I’m grateful nobody was hurt, I now feel like I’m being punished. I don’t understand why this had to happen?

– Lisa, Mather CA

There are as many ways to look at God as there are people talking about it. Most Christian sects speak of God as some kind of personal agent of creation, but there are countless millions who see God as an impersonal creative life-giving force — not as a personality that is paying special attention to human activity, but as a resource that is always there for us (and not judging us at all). On the fundamentalist end of the spectrum, people believe in some kind of super-parent — an omniscient and omnipotent ruler — who is super aware of ALL our thoughts and behaviors, and is actively rewarding or punishing us. And there are many gradations between these two views.

A problem with fundamentalist belief systems is that they infantilize people. In fact, it starts very young with shaming, guilt and fear — including fear of the divine itself (as in “God-fearing”) — all of which stunts spiritual growth. Convince children there is something wrong with them, teach them about eternal torture unless they tow the line, convince them that you are the voice of God … and for the rest of their lives you can get them to do all kinds of things. Popes and ministers know this.

Fear has been used to control populations for centuries. Moving past fear takes faith — real faith — in yourself, in your own divine capabilities like intuition, and in your belief that you can solve problems with Creative Power operating through you. In your case, you have already shown that you CAN do that — which in fact may be why the charity chose your family in the first place — congratulations!

Bad stuff happens to good people … and good stuff, too. Focus only on what you can change (starting with your beliefs and attitudes). Open up to new possibilities and more good things will be allowed in. As to why good or bad things just seem to happen … well, while it’s fascinating to think about, figuring it all out is not our job — or even within our human capacity. Our best move is to channel Creative Power in order to make better choices — not to worry about what a hyper-critical God supposedly thinks of us. “Judge not.”

You’ve come a long ways … don’t give your power away — it is your divine heritage. Stay creative, adaptable and ever resourceful!