She ended her comment with a question. My response included a topic that I had intended to write about. And so, I thought maybe now would be a good time to do that.
The following is Kelly’s honest comment and question:
“I saw where someone commented that after all you have been through you still have this unshakable faith. I know my belief in God is not shaken, I KNOW God but my trust of Him has taken a huge hit now that I am dealing with the memories that I have. I know I am not in control of my life and it doesn’t look like God is in control of this life on earth (I mean, if He is in control, then why would He allow rape, childhood severe mental illness, kidnappings and tortures?) So if He isn’t in control then what is my belief about God now?”
And here are my responses:
“You have been through something that would shake anyone’s faith. And God can handle your honesty! And so can I and I thank you so much for being authentic and real with your comment.
You are not alone in wrestling with these thoughts and feelings about God. Believe me I have been very angry at God and even afraid of Him because of what happened to me and for the very reasons you mentioned. I think your feelings are understandable and valid.
A few reasons I think we struggle so much are: because I think God has been falsely represented to us (some innocently and some not); and because sometimes those who are doing the abusing are pastors and leaders of churches; also I think our culture has a great deal to do with our misconceptions of God. The following is an example.
We are being fed lies about life itself by the media and the leaders of our countries that we can do whatever we want, take whatever we want with no one telling us what to do or pushing their morals on us. Not that I am advocating this. I believe we do need to self govern.
And while all of this is true, the deception comes in that it all kind of implies there also are no consequences for these behaviors and choices (something I really want to write about). Not only is there no compassion or superiority in this way of thinking, but there is another interesting dilemma. With this thinking of doing whatever we want with no one telling us what to do, when the consequences come, this is where we all lose it with our concept of God.
We don’t want to be told what to do, we want to do whatever we want, and when things fall apart, we expect God to clean up after us, as though now if He doesn’t, everything is His fault. God doesn’t have the immaturity of thinking that we have.
Now, I know that what happened to us was horrific and not our fault. What happened to us is the consequences of others’ choices and behavior. And this is the other hard truth to the consequences side of life, others often suffer for our behavior and choices.
God is not a genie and if He did our bidding and calling, we would be ruling Him and we would be god. What we are experiencing and seeing in the world is a result of our denial as a people of the consequences of our actions, both singularly and collectively.
It is in the end when man screws everything up, God is our scapegoat. We are all so afraid of values and morals and this is the end result. When everyone does whatever they want with no accountability this is what we are left with.
I am VERY passionate about this topic. Not with a judging heart, but one that weeps with compassion for how much we have lost our way as humans. Make no mistake about it, if we are honest with ourselves, the suffering in this world is a human issue not a God issue.
We want freedom, well God gave us free will and as a society the real tragedy is that we are willing to even look the other way when our children are being sexually terrorized. And not only that, we don’t help them heal.
Personally, I am angry at the selfish men and women who do these things and also angry at those who, for whatever reason, do nothing.
This would be like your neighbor robbing a bank and all of society being angry at you because he did this.
And if you don’t agree with anything I said here, I get that too. Your feelings are more than understandable either way.
I do have compassion for your struggle and for what was done to you. And I am deeply sorry for all of it. But I want my anger put where it belongs and where the real change needs to happen. Again, thank you so much for your honesty!”
Later I added:
“There is one thing I do want to clarify in my first response to you. While others do often suffer the consequences of our actions, I meant to say something different here to you. We are suffering the consequences for the actions of others. There is nothing fair or just about that.
Also, I want you to know that I have struggled for many years with these same issues you address. And I did not like the conclusions I came to one bit. But over time, they did help me to see God differently and see His wisdom. And I did see where I spent a great deal of time being angry at Him because society has chosen to ignore His advice. He really has tried to help us.
You are on your own path and your conclusions may be different than mine. I shared with you mine with some hope that they would be helpful to you.
For many years the things people would say about God would make me angry. I don’t want to be one of those people to you! So wherever you are on your journey I can accept that. And please know that there is nothing wrong with you struggling with these issues.”
To continue a little further, this is a topic that I am very passionate about for several reasons. The most important one is that I have discovered in my own life that there was a huge difference between the way I thought life and God should be and what life and God really are.
It seemed insane for me to spend my time fighting and focusing on what I wish it would be rather than face the realities of life. And my experience has been, that they are often bitter realities. Mostly because it is not how I want them to be, not even close. But in being willing to face what is the reality rather than an illusion, I have discovered lots of beauty as well.
Many times I have actually felt sorry for God. This sounds funny and I am aware He does not need my empathy. But really, we all must come across as a bunch of entitled brats at times. It must be exhausting.
Asking where is God, is a valid question. I believe He is right beside us crying with us, feeling our pain. He is giving us strength to endure, if we hold on to Him.
We are His hand, His voice, His love in the world.
The point of this whole blog post is, “Where is man?”
Sometimes, instead of wondering where God is, I am amazed at how patient and loving He is in spite of how much we screw up in life. That He still walks with us in spite of all the bad choices we make. And remains with us when others abandon us and hurt us.
God has given us a free will. We want Him to stop evil, rescue us from evil, well, even prevent it. But none of these would include us having a free will. In reality they all would violate this concept.
I find it interesting what we all see as restrictions and control, I see as compassion and guidelines. We are free to break any of God’s laws, or guidelines as I would rather refer to them just for the sake of this post and so not to rattle everyone’s cages too much. I think God’s blueprint for life is very compassionate. He knows that we have a free will and without some order, we will end up with chaos.
Well, we are living in this chaos and now we want Him to fix it. This is unfortunate for several reasons. One, it just makes us all angry at God. And two, it keeps us from dealing with the real culprits for the evil in this world. And it keeps us all spinning in circles going nowhere with no solutions or fixes. I think it is a huge reason why we are all fed up and frustrated with what we see going on in the world today.
Maybe it is about time we become intolerant of evil and the people who commit evil. The people who are wreaking havoc in our lives.
We are blaming God for what man does. And it is unfortunate that we not only suffer the consequences of our own behavior, but too often we suffer the consequences of other’s actions. Again, this is the area in which we seem to lose it with God.
And look where we are. Perpetrators are not paying and victims are often blamed. Putting all of our anger and attention on God is not working out very well for us (illusion vs. reality). We are it, we need to learn to deal with evil people and deal with them harshly.
It seems maybe we have taken the idea of tolerance too far. Sometimes I fear this was the goal. It sounds lovely, but has had damaging results.
I am not talking about not tolerating each other, I am talking about not tolerating people who do evil things. We have taken tolerance to the point that we view punishing them as harsh and evil. But not punishing them at all and blaming victims and not supporting victims as okay. I would rather see us err in the other direction.
They all may have an excuse for their behavior. But whatever that excuse is, there are a multitude of people who have been through what they have and worse and don’t do the things they do to others. Something is wrong with them. And they should have to suffer the consequences of their actions, not find sympathy that causes us to ignore the evil they have done.
We have somehow ended up in a society that has more compassion for those who do evil than we do for those they harm. And society seems to believe that if the scale was tipped in the right direction, somehow that would be evil and harsh. This is crazy to me!
This has gone on for so long that we have evil ruling our world. We have corrupt leaders and we look the other way at their bad behavior. I believe the root of this is because if we were all honest with ourselves, none of us want to be held accountable for our actions.
And to a large degree, whatever it is we do is never all that bad. It is what everybody else is doing that is bad or wrong. And as long as we continue on like this, we will have this chaos. But one thing I know for sure, it is not God’s fault!