Is God Punishing Us?

Some time back I was reading an article in which the author mentioned that her parents always taught her time and again that God was watching us all the time. She felt that if God could watch, hear and love us, He could surely punish us for all our sins through the ages that humanity has existed and exploited nature as well as fellow humans. She felt that God was punishing us through the current Corona situation. Yesterday, I was talking to another friend and she opined that we suffer because of our past karma. She was sure that she was being punished for her mistakes in the previous life and that is the reason why she had failed in most of her relationships.
This got me thinking; can God really punish us? Yes, definitely. Will he punish us? I don’t think so. Humanity has been paying obeisance to Mother Goddess or a feminine energy since times immemorial. Check the internet for goddesses and you will find that every civilisation from the Mesopotamians to modern paganism has believed in some feminine form of God who has always been associated with love, kindness, generosity, motherhood etc. So, why would God be wrathful to us if He has a feminine side to him?
To me punishment is a very strong word. It means the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority, if one searches for its meaning online. Do we look upon God as an authoritative figure? I don’t think so. He is more like the mother who would act in a certain way so that the child mends his wayward behaviour. A mother does not punish rather she teaches her child a lesson. Likewise, I feel that God does not punish us but yes, He creates situations ensuring that we learn what we need to. So, this situation may be created by Him to try to teach us a lesson in kindness, empathy and humanity but definitely not to punish us.
As for the punishments for our past karma I don’t think that this can be the case either. What good would come out of punishing me for something that I am not even aware of? Would it make sense if I punished a student of mine for what s/he did in the last academic year? A timely reprimand is more beneficial than a punishment for something done so long ago that one does not even remember it. Taking it as a learning experience makes more sense to me. Now, in a class not all students enjoy learning what they are taught but those who do are able to make a mark for themselves. Learning is never limited to academics, some learn in the class room, others in a playground or music room or in dramatics or some other place but all those who enjoy learning grow and evolve. And so, it is with life, God keeps teaching us and it is totally up to us whether to enjoy the process or suffer through it.

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