Wow. What a day!
I got a call that Steve was in a pursuit, and it freaked me out a little. He’s fine, the bad guy is in custody, and nobody got hurt, but it’s always a little surreal to hear about these things, and know that your husband was involved.
I’ve been a part of an interesting conversation today, but I must admit, it leaves me bemused and a little sad. I can definitely understand being confused about God and the Bible and how they relate to me. I’ve been there. I’ve even written about it [the major entries about my struggle with my faith start about June 17, 2007].
I’ve spent quite a bit of time being frustrated with God, angry with God, even hating God part of the time. And the anger just seemed to lead me in never ending circles. I wanted to understand, but I couldn’t make it make sense, so I’d get angry and try something else [a different religious philosophy or school of thought within Christianity], hoping maybe that would make more sense than the other did.
And the whole time, I was trying to make something make sense that simply can’t be put into human terms. There’s just too much, and a lot of it is understood at a level where there aren’t even any words, let alone a way to put those feelings into them.
So that last day, the day where I came to the crossroads between putting away faith forever and denying what my heart told me was true, or coming back to Jesus, even though I was never going to be able to learn it all, or understand it all, there was only one choice for me to make.
See, I’ve experienced something that I can only describe as a relationship with my creator. I’ve felt his love, and known his presence, and I can’t leave that behind. It’s too precious to me. When I looked at what my life would be like without my faith, without that relationship with God, it scared the living shit out of me. There was a bleakness and despair so much deeper than any depression I’ve ever struggled with, it was indescribable.
Maybe it isn’t the same for people who have never experienced a relationship with God. Maybe for them it’s no big deal to look at Christianity from the outside, see that there are some serious problems with some of the people who follow this religion, and draw the conclusion that because some of our people are bad, our God is bad.
Maybe it’s easy to look at some of the hard stories in the Bible, and instead of seriously studying and trying to figure out what it means, deciding that it’s all just stupid, wrong, and evil, and screaming that opinion from the rooftops.
From the outside, without sincerely asking God to help you understand what He’s all about, it’s impossible for anyone to get it.
This is true for Christians, too. A lot of us see a piece of Him and think we’ve got it all sewn up, so we don’t have to study anymore, or keep asking him to reveal himself to us. That’s a mistake, and many sincere Christians have gone to ruin because they thought they’d ‘arrived’ and were no longer able to sin.
Some people watch Christians, and when they fall short or act selfishly, they crow and scream, “SEE! I knew it was all a fake!”
But how can you seriously judge an entire group of people based on one member [or a small faction] of that group?
And if we were seriously talking about a real and living God [and not just agreeing for the sake of argument] a God who created the universe, how can you seriously tell that creator that he’s been unfair to his creation?
Where did you get your yardstick to measure him by?
If God created the world and everything in it, then he also created our brains. We can’t have a thought without him first giving us the capacity to think, so who am I to judge God?
We’ve been talking about Christianity as though it’s one of many possible religions, and I’m guessing that the atheist position is that it’s one of many fictional ways for man to explain his existence and what happens after death.
If that is true, then Christianity is no more impressive or logical than any other religion on the planet, and we’re just talking about smoke and imagination, rendering this conversation moot and retarded. But what if there is something to this religion? What if this God is real?
Sure, some Christians are batty and operate on hatred of everything non-christian, but then, a lot of the atheists I’ve seen online are just as militant and angry as the Muslims who are fighting jihad right now, or the people in Topeka who spew hatred in the name of Jesus, or any number of other members of militant fundamentalist groups who have completely lost their minds and hearts to rage.
Maybe it’s a battle of words instead of actual killing with guns and bombs, but it’s the exact same hatred that fuels both battles.
I don’t hate anyone who doesn’t believe in Christianity. I don’t hate anyone, period. I get irritated and I shoot off at the mouth sometimes, but my intent is never to try to prove my superiority, or degrade anyone just because they don’t believe what I do.
I don’t have all the answers and I never claimed that I did. My study of the Exodus has revealed to me a God who, in spite of what some people think, showed mercy, even to the Egyptians. He could have killed them all, but he didn’t. He could have given them one warning, or no warnings and taken the firstborn the first night, but he didn’t, he gave them ten, and over a period of several weeks [maybe months].
There are other places in the Bible [Jonah and the story of Ninevah is one example] where God told the people what would happen to them if they didn’t stop hurting each other, and the people listened and repented and were spared. He could have smote [smited?] them and started over, but he didn’t. Why?
So seriously, I can see how you could take the passover out of context and see a cruel hearted massacre, but when you read the rest of the story, the proof really isn’t there.
And I get it that nothing I’ve said has swayed any opinions that were set in stone, but then, I wasn’t aiming for the stones anyway.
I was aiming for the people who are open-minded enough to entertain another perspective, try it on, and see if they can see through different eyes, even for a minute or two.
So why does my conversation today make me so sad? Maybe it’s because I know I’ve failed in a way. It’s not really my responsibility to change anyone’s heart, but I still wish I could say something that would help ease the pain that I know is in there. Anger generally either comes from hurt or fear, and since I know both of those emotions entirely too well, my heart aches to make it go away in others, too.
I don’t know if I can say this without sounding condescending, but please believe me when I say that’s not my intent. I really do love the people I’ve been talking to today, including the people who’ve been reading the comments and rooting for the other guy. I wish you all the best, and I pray that God will show you the incredible love and peace I’ve found in him, and help you to reach out and take it. Anyone is always welcome here, and welcome to comment [although being mean just to be mean is, well, mean, so don’t be mean, okay?]
My relationship with God has changed me in ways that I never knew was possible. Made me a better person, and helped me to love people and forgive things that were done to me that it was beyond my capacity, as even a relatively good human, to do.
I don’t understand everything about God, and I never will, but my most sincere prayer is that my life will be a reflection of his love. I’m not too great at that, but that’s my fault, not God’s. I’m definitely a work in progress, but still, I know that God is with me, he loves me, and he’ll never leave me.
For today, that’s enough, you know?