Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I hate God the way I hate my father. Their failings stem from different strictures in their natures, but the damage they have done is analogous. Words are insufficient of course to communicate my meaning. God, and father, are easy, but hate is a tough word. Hate the sin not the sinner. But the agent of failure is accountable. Can we judge God, then? Language is insufficient.  We can't even argue with him.  Because he doesn't argue back.

God cares about only one thing. Righteousness. That’s the only thing God cares about. Nothing else. Only that. Love, and mercy, and justice, and grace -- it all falls under this broadest description. His character. Of righteousness. The world stands or falls on that. Well, it falls. And then, because of his righteousness, he provides a way of grace. And to demonstrate his holiness he puts himself, as his son, through infinite torment. There is no consideration that will cause me to believe that if he will do that to himself, to his son, he would hesitate for an infinitesimal moment to judge and condemn us. There’s a way out -- take it or don’t, and be damned. Does he suffer in his heart because of this? Sure he does. But more important to him than even his own suffering, is his righteousness.

Thus, there is no forgiveness, for the unrepentant. Didn’t take your chance? Too bad for you. There is no deal, no bargain, we can make with God. I’m sure he doesn’t laugh at us, in his heart or before his assembled angels at our rabbinical attempts to pursued him. We do not mock our children. But whereas no human father is righteous, God is, and he cannot compromise, when it comes to the greater good. What after all do we have to bargain with? I’ll be good from now on if you give me such and such? No, be good for the sake of righteousness. I’ll put away this sin, that vice, for a time or forever, if you give me some particular blessing? Thus was Sodom destroyed. The meteors were already blazing towards a set intercept point, latitude and longitude, minute and second. It was foreordained that there should be a Dead Sea. We converse with God, in our prayers. But prayer is where we listen, and God does not. He knows what he wants, and he cannot deviate from righteousness.

God cannot conceive that he might need to be forgiven. He is so very righteous after all. Part of it is that we have only language, human language, and God isn’t human.  Human speech is not his native tongue. He needs a mediator.  So when we formulate our anguish and dismay and despair into words, something is lost in the interpretation, and in any case words are mere approximations. We can’t out-argue him, and we can’t articulate our emotions, and we just have to depend on his seeing our hearts, brokenness and pain. Well, yes, he sees. But what can he do? Only what righteousness allows.

So we suffer in a fallen world, for our sins, for the sins of others, for happenstance, for reasons and for no reason at all. And God watches, utterly, completely, unyieldingly implacable. Does he wish to comfort us? How? Through the beauty of the world? Grief robs the world of its beauty. Through the revelation of scripture? Words are what we use to tell lies with -- at best they are reflections, and too often ambiguous, confusing, comforting only in the way that soothing noises to a child might be. Where else are we do find comfort? Sympathetic humans -- family, friend, community, fellowship -- surely here, but this is to say nothing at all, given that sometimes our hearts are too broken even to allow eye contact. There is no comfort where there is no trust.

So yes, I trust God. I trust him to do as he pleases. I trust him to send even more pain, even more harsh and bitter lessons, to hector and beat and pound at us until we are ground to dust, nothing left of our will save that which conforms to his. Well, it’s a good thing to agree with truth. And it is good that all necessary energy should be expended, to teach lessons that must be learned. If I am stiff-necked, as I am, it is only fitting that I should have my neck broken. This is the chastening that a father reserves for his son.

We are commanded to love God. I do not. I hate him. I would rather never have been conceived, than live in this world. I hate this world. I know I’m doing it wrong, the way I live my life. I know I’m trapped. I know there is a madness in my soul that poisons every moment of self-reflection. I know that when I say hate, I mean resentment and unforgiveness and unrepentance and dishonesty and self-righteousness. I realize that I am withholding my trust as a bargaining tactic, and I know that when I surrender everything I have, that will have to include everything that I want. I want to be happy. I want to feel well. I want to be loved. It may be, that when I finally succumb to the pain and give in to God’s demands, it will be at the final moment of my life, and I will have lived a meaningless life, utterly solitary, needlessly defiant, futile and a waste. As one through fire.

Before that, then, I would hope, if hope can mean something other than trust, that God takes pity on me, and places his hand on my shoulder, and draws me to his breast, and consoles my broken spirit. Because I’m too unsociable for human company, and the revelation of nature and of scripture seem to be insufficient. It’s just a little fantasy I have, though. God appears only to prophets.



Will C. said...

I don't suppose you believe in coincidence but...I just happened to read your last post just before watching the 2nd act of It's a Wonderful Life. You know, right about the point where George wishes he'd never been born? Wouldnt be surprised Harold pays you a visit in your dreams tonight.
Bet you taught a lot of kids over the years. I wonder if you affected any of them in a positive way? I'd bet on it.
And your son...I'd imagine he appreciates being in existence...and having a good father that was loving but a straight shooter. That's a rarity in these days. Shall I go on? How bout me? Jack to me is proof that there are geniuses that are Christian. Intellectual like CS Lewis. Another rarity. Also tormented at times. Perhaps thorns in the side happen to others as well as Paul's.

bob k. mando said...

ah, Jack.

i wish that words were adequate, that i could say something that would provide solace.

but, as you say, words are what we use to tell lies with.

bob k. mando said...

there is one thing:
your explication of borderline personality has helped me to understand what's going on in my life.

so, not a 'permanent' impact. but, at least so long as i'm alive, you'll have made a difference.

Anonymous said...

Thank you kindly, both. I think of myself as a comedic morality tale, Foolish Jack from folklore, who kills the golden goose, or uses up his magic wishes turning his nose were a sausage and whatnot. There is an honored place in literature for the buffoon. This shall be my immortality!

Anonymous said...

God doesn't demand our righteousness; He demands only our honesty.

If only we all would deal as honestly with Him.

Jack H said...

God doesn't demand our righteousness because he knows we don't have any. He cares about our honesty only insofar as it informs us of this fact. Well, not *only*...