Raw and Real

24 08 2015

To know that we’re loved by God with the same love as His love for Jesus is amazing; heartwarming; unless…

…you’ve been abused most of your life…

…and you believe that God punished Jesus in your place;

that all Christ endured was God’s ‘heart’ for you.

He hated you that much.

Aren’t you so thankful that Jesus took the hit for you?

Don’t you want to become one of God’s children too?

Strong words?

Yes. I cringe as I type, for this is completely untrue.

Yet, I see that this is the ‘gospel’ most of us believe; is the reason why some Christians protest abortion clinics and homosexuality and other behaviors to which God is opposed by screaming curses and spewing hateful labels at those who participate.

‘Without Jesus’, they deserve wrath…ours, apparently.

In the loving name of Jesus, amen, of course.

(This is NOT my approval of their ungodly acts – just a comment about our ungodly treatment of them.)

I had many questions for God last year. Ones to which I needed answers if I was to continue in the faith. It was really messy, so I ‘unplugged’ from WordPress to spare you.

Utterly fed up with abuse of any sort, I was ready to ‘dump God’ as the worst abuser of them all.

Hell sounded pretty good: sure, it’s hot, dark, worms never die…but you are alone. At least I wouldn’t be mistreated by others anymore.

Jeremiah 29:13 reads, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

It was the ‘all my heart’ bit that got me into trouble.

Yes, His Spirit was dwelling in me, but it was ‘Standing Room Only.’ There was a crowd of ‘witnesses’ hanging out in there as well. People from my past whose words ‘dwelt richly in me’ – words I believed with all my heart:

Stupid, worthless, fat, ugly, lazy, ridiculous, good-for-nothing, inadequate, unwanted, unlovable, and many that I won’t type so as to not offend you. Their voices were so loud that I could barely hear the Spirit speak.

(Through the process of forgiving, most of them have been evicted this year. I’m doing much better. Hearing the Lord much better, too. 😉 )

If you tell a person who’s been abused that the cross was God taking out His wrath for us – on His beloved Son – they’re not going to want to ‘join your club.’

Just sayin’.

After all, children, believe that parents love. Everyone knows that.

The abused child assumes that this is what love does: Dad’s angry about an infraction of his laws. Mom interferes, deflecting Dad’s anger and receives what was about to be unleashed on him or her.

Which sounds a lot like what God’s love ‘did’ to Jesus…

…the innocent suffering wrath that was meant for us.

(Yes, this is what the mind of an abused person does with the ‘Good News.’)

Is this what we really believe about God?

More importantly, is it even true?

Have I rattled your cage? If this is the god you believe in, I sincerely hope so.

We will seek Him – and find Him – when we search for Him with all our heart.

*****

My next post will be a re-blog by Mel Wilde. It turns out, I’m not the only one on this quest. Being further along on the journey, he is better able to articulate what God has also been revealing to him. It was exciting to discover that what God was showing me, He is also revealing to others, and independent of others. Mel is one of many, I’ve learned!

For a more thorough, scholarly treatment of this subject, I highly recommend Healing the Gospel by Derek Flood.

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15 responses

27 08 2015
vonhonnauldt

Tami, you’ve said before that things I have posted have been a blessing to you. Thank you again, but just let me say that those things were posted out of a background fully believing about the wrath of God; things this post and the ones you reblogged say can’t be true, though not as you describe others in your life have expressed it. We cannot judge or understand God by trying to measure Him by our own yardsticks or experiences or the falsehoods others might teach. He’s greater than all of us put together. I once heard a radio preacher say something to the effect that if we multiplied humanity a billion times, then we might have a little understanding of how great God is. That is so not true. God is infinite. A billion humans comes no closer to what God is than just one of us. As for His “wrath,” most people stop at John 3:16. This is a glorious statement. However, we need John 3:36 to complete the thought. The “love of God” has been so prostituted over the last 150 years that John 3:16 has almost lost meaning. The early church in Acts never once mentioned it. Calvary is indeed a graphic portrayal of the love of God and the lengths to which He will go to save sinners, but it’s also a graphic picture of what He thinks about sin (His wrath), because the One on that Cross was the only One who has ever been able to say that He always pleased the Father.
I know this is a difficult subject and you have suffered wrongfully because of those who have misrepresented it, but I pray as you wade through it the message of 1 John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God.”

27 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

He’s a good Father, indeed. 😊
\o/

27 08 2015
Susan Irene Fox

Tami, it’s truly sad how pervasive this view is and why the continuous promotion of judgment and condemnation in Jesus’ name. We must turn this around, must reach out and, in spite of counterattacks, continue to speak and act through the Holy Spirit in love and grace. Love is the true gospel. Nothing short of that will ever open people’s hearts to Jesus.

27 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

I didn’t want ‘Angry God’, but what were my options? How wrong I was about His nature -loving, patient, full of mercy and faithfulness, s l o w to anger…just the way He described Himself to Moses! Go figure.

I’m doing all I can to represent Him more accurately…as Jesus did, now that I know the truth.

Thanks for your comments. 😊
\o/

26 08 2015
Mel Wild

Reblogged this on In My Father's House and commented:
I can’t think of a better reason why it’s important that we understand that God was not punishing Jesus on the cross than Tami Benson’s testimony here. We don’t have an angry, abusive god who must be appeased before He can forgive; we have a loving Father who never abandoned or rejected His Son for one moment, and He won’t ever abandon or reject us either. May this testimony draw you into Abba’s embrace.
Blessings,
Mel

25 08 2015
Mary S.

Yes, seeing God as an angry anything – except at evil and sin – would distort the gospel, for sure. I once read the following story that, true or not, is how I see what God did when He sent Jesus to earth (and remember, Jesus died voluntarily, He *chose* to lay down His life for us). Here’s the gist of the story.

A man had a job as a switch engineer near a railroad bridge over a river. He raised and lowered the bridge to let large boats go through. One day his young son went with him to work, and fell off the bridge into the bridge gears…just as a train was approaching. If the father lowered the bridge, his son would die. If he didn’t, hundreds of passengers would die.

With great anguish of heart, the father lowered the bridge to save the passengers. He knew he’d see his son again.

What I see from this is that the Father knew His Son Jesus was eternally secure, and He knew the end of the story: resurrection. So to me it’s a loving sacrifice on both of their parts, not a wrathful punishing act. I certainly don’t understand it all completely; this is where I am today. And yes, I have both physical and church abuse in my past.

Thank you for sharing, I’ll be pondering :-).

25 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comment. This year God overhauled my beliefs in Him. It’s been a hard process, but so needed. Don’t have it figured out yet myself, but certainly see Him in a more positive light! \o/

26 08 2015
Mel Wild

The story Mary S. is referring to was made into a film by a Czech film producer. It’s called, “Most” which means the “Bridge” in Czech.. You see the whole film here https://youtu.be/Q6kvV2qGWIg with English subtitles. It’s an excellent film.

I think it’s a valid illustration when we think that God ALLOWED His Son to be put on the Cross by us. That IS love, not the idea of an angry Father who must punish His innocent Son so He can forgive us. Regardless of what we know or don’t know, we can know we have a loving Father and a faithful Savior! Blessings.

26 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! I’ll watch it later today.

28 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

Wow!

24 08 2015
Mel Wild

Wow, wow, WOW! Did you nail this one! 🙂 Words can’t describe how powerful your testimony is here, Tami. What an important perspective about the problems inherent with our popular “angry God” gospel. Another reason why we need to know the right story about what God did for us. He never abandoned or abused Jesus; He will never do that to us, either. He’s a good Father. Blessings.

24 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

This perspective was ‘nailed’ (interesting choice of words. 😉 ) only because it was experienced. I really wish it was someone else’s story.

There is much more to the story…but I haven’t figured out how to write it without exposing others. For now I will content myself with giving a glimpse into the damage that can occur when God is grossly misrepresented.

What I’ve come to see is that religion today has become very much like what the Pharisees and Saducees promoted when Jesus was here. It took about as long for the ‘twisting’ of truth to occur.

I’m grieved by my willingness to accept others’ interpretation of the gospel, so skewed by my own distorted and damaged lens, without questioning whether what they said was, in fact, true.

I’ve scheduled you to ‘re-blog’ tomorrow. We *have* to tell them the truth!

\o/

24 08 2015
Mel Wild

“What I’ve come to see is that religion today has become very much like what the Pharisees and Saducees promoted when Jesus was here.”
That would be a pretty good assessment. Think about this: if Pharisee means separatist, and we have over 33,000 denominations (and non-denominations) and counting since the Reformation, what does that make us?
Thanks for the re-blog, btw. 🙂 My final installment comes out tomorrow morning also. Yes, let’s keep telling the story of a good, good Father! Blessings.

24 08 2015
tlhumphries

Thank you for making me think a little differently and helping me to understand an different perspective. I’m glad you are finding your way through the minefield.

24 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comments. 🙂

If Abba was not so persistent in His pursuit, despite my horrible beliefs about Him, I don’t know what I would have done. It is embarrassing to admit that I have such a love/hate relationship with Him.

Minefield…that’s an apt description. Childhood abuse, coupled with abuse by ‘religious’ authorities did extensive damage. That’s all being unraveled and transformed, but it is slow going. I’ll be glad when this season is behind me!

\o/

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