In my seminars I often ask people to write their definitions of God. Typical answers are intellectual, philosophical, and abstract. Then I ask the participants to write a letter to God, starting with “Dear God, I always wanted to ask you…” I request that they write with their non-dominant hand to simulate the experience of writing as a child, because the object of the exercise is to get at the earliest point in their lives, when they acquired their image of God.
No matter what the person’s intellectual understanding of God, their childlike emotional baggage is revealed by letters like:
• “Dear God … why did you take my grandfather?”
• “Dear God … why do you allow wars to happen?”
• “Dear God … why there are so many bad people in the world?”
All negative associations, suggesting an unfair, merciless, punitive image of God.
Imagine if the way you dealt with money today were based on the way you understood money when you were five-years-old. What would you be spending your money on? Or, if your present diet were based on your understanding of nutrition when you were a child, how would you be eating today? So you can imagine that if your spiritual life is based on a childhood understanding of God, you will probably find your spiritual fulfillment seriously challenged.