10 comments on “Can We Trust the God of Genocide

  1. Agreed Jennifer. Without relationship we only view others from a distance and really can never understand others until we come into proximity through dialogue and exchange. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Elizabeth, very well stated. You have a great way of writing that makes a very complicated subject more understandable. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Yes we can trust the God of genocide. Genocide is the macro of the micro..the very big example of the smaller events of pain and loss we might suffer in our own personal lives. I think people run in fear from a God who would command acts of violence out of His judgment for fear of being called unworthy themselves and then suffering some consequence from God as a result and so it is easier to compartmentalize their faith, or turn from God and the Bible altogether.
    The thing I have come to understand most about people is that we feel horrifically unworthy and not good enough. When things in our lives are going ‘good’ its easy to praise God and imagine that all of the good in our lives is proof that we must be good and therefore deserving of the good we have. This is also when we might choose to become very judgmental of people who live a very different life from us and condemn them as being ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’…our judgment helps to create an even greater distance from whatever we fear might come from ‘being like those people’. We justify our actions and we overlook our own sins because we rest on our external ‘good fortune’. (“I am a very good person because I tithe at church and Jesus gave me a nice car and a nice house which proves my goodness.”) Some people live many years of their lives this way and then when something ‘bad’ happens, we internalize it and feel massive amounts of shame but project those feelings back onto God and decide that its all His fault, or decide that His grace and mercy were a lie and therefore all of His church is a lie and we run. I believe we are actually running from ourselves and our shame, out of ignorance and fear. Fear of coming to an understanding and an awakened awareness of the much bigger picture.
    The true test of our love and relationship with God is when we can turn to Him in the midst of something painful and trust that we are experiencing this pain as a result of His love for us and not in spite of that love. Those of us who might judge the God of the Old Testament as being cruel are much like toddlers in our faith. If you give me a cookie, I love you. If you take my cookie away, I hate you and I’m going to live with the neighbors. As we mature in our faith we come to understand that sometimes God needs to send a forest fire ripping through our lives and destroying everything in order send nutrients way down into the soil of our soul so that something new and fresh and stronger can rise up and grow. And, as you said in church today, if we don’t get the lesson the first time around, we’ll keep encountering it…again and again…maybe the fires will be smaller and less intense, but they’ll still come as we continue to walk with Him.
    Jesus shows the genius of God. He’s like God’s interpreter, someone humans can relate to because he lived a human life and could demonstrate God’s plan and design in a way we could more easily understand. But even in the life and examples of Jesus’s teaching, we still struggle with our own sense of inadequacy…the ‘yeah but’ of our faith. Everyone wants to believe they are the exception to the rules so as to avoid the pain of punishment or correction..which is to say that everyone is deeply afraid of being cast out and going through life unloved, unvalued and unwanted. The more sick we are with our own narcissism, the less likely we are to turn to God in our weakness. Every time we dare to step out in faith, despite our fears of not being good enough…like you did today when you sang and played for us (which was beautiful and made me cry)..we conquer the enemy. Humility and vulnerability lead us to love and intimacy and that’s where we find Him..in our transparency..in the “deliberate destruction” or death of Self.

  4. The God of the Old and the God of the New will always be the same to me. He is the God who touched my infant son’s failing heart 54 yrs ago, the God in the ICU who answered the myriad of murmured prayers and returned me to my family, and the God who allows us to question and debate this very topic. If He were only an angry judge we would all be dead. I am grateful He is Who He is. I am grateful He was willing to give His life for me.

  5. I have some atheist friends and I always think; wow they have a point but…..I know God is good because of what he’s done in my life; and my personal relationship with him has helped me trust him. If you don’t have a relationship with him, why should you trust him? Starting point…inviting him to be my friend and then see where that takes me.

  6. “My pastoral instinct is that this all resolves at the Cross. All talk of God must filter there. All views of God must refract there. All theology must converge there. At the Cross, God’s own wrath falls on God. The God of the Old Covenant meets himself in the Christ of the New Covenant, and in a way superior to everything that has come before, he enacts a deep and lasting reconciliation.” These sentences are the essence of resolution. Through the Cross God says “trust me”, and we do. As Peter said “to whom shall we go?”

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