My parents always told me I needed to be good, because God was constantly watching and would punish me if I did anything wrong. I know I'm supposed to love God, but I don't. Can you understand why I feel like this?
No wonder you feel this way; since childhood, you’ve been taught that God is like a harsh policeman or cruel judge, just waiting for you to get out of line so He can punish you.
No doubt, your parents sincerely wanted to encourage you to do right and avoid wrong, but I’m afraid they ended up giving you a distorted or unbalanced view of God, and as a result your feelings have deceived you. Yes, God is holy and just, and sin is an offense to Him, but God is also loving and merciful. The most important thing I can tell you is that God loves you far more than you and I will ever love Him.
How do I know this? I know it because of what Jesus did for us by His death and resurrection. Jesus came into the world for one reason: to become the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. He was without sin, but on the cross, all our sins were placed on Him, and He died in our place. Would God have allowed this to happen if He didn’t love us? Of course not.
Ask God to help you overcome your feelings with facts — the facts of Christ’s life, death and resurrection for you. Then ask Christ to come into your life to forgive your sins, and He will. The Bible says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).