Putting A God On Trial

godstrial

 

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever used an on-line dating service?

I tried it a few times, and it really, really did not work for me. I would read a man’s profile, sift through his pictures, and check OSCN to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer released by the latest clerical error. I’d exchange a few emails with him, trying to get a sense of his personality. If he passed through that process, I would agree to meet.

Without exception, the men never even approached the image I would have begun to form of them in my head. In most cases, there had been no explicit lies or deceitfulness on their part. I just had formed a different image based 50% on how they had described themselves and 50% on what I wanted them to be like. The first fifteen minutes of any of those dates would involve me wrestling my ill-conceived expectations down to the floor and forcing myself to keep an open mind.

We have imaginations, and anything that is described to us, whether it be a person, place or thing, onlinebegins to be constructed in our minds. We get a mental sense of something based on what our brains have seen or experienced in our pasts. Invariably, when we finally do actually see what we have been imagining, we find we didn’t have a clear picture.

I have not met God in person. I use a book to try to form a sense of who He is, along with what I perceive are His fingerprints on my life. And because He is not a normal human being in the sense that the rest of us are, I have even less of a real idea of how He could be.

It is my belief that a lot of people assume that God is just like the rest of us, and it is in this we all run into some pretty big problems. God is not motivated to do things based on the same motivations we have. In fact, it is often hard to defend to unbelievers some of what He has done just in the Bible alone.

I am a loyal person to those I love, and at the beginning of my walk with God, I felt a need to explain away things that He did. I used to do this for my kids, my spouse, my parents, siblings, friends…It just was a natural instinct I had. Quickly, I learned that some of the world’s questions about God, though, could not be explained away using human logic. Humans base their assumptions of problems and solutions through a common acceptance that things are generally universal. Babies dying is universally bad. Cold-blooded murder is universally bad. Happiness is universally good.

atheistGod cannot be interpreted correctly through our fleshly lenses. Most of us have never physically met a god before, and the ones who think they have, take lithium and live with other “special” people.

Simply put, God is not a human being, and He is not motivated by the same things we are. This common assumption by most people is the very reason so many people stumble over so much of what He has done.

I found myself stumped when I would be presented with questions by people about God’s seemingly cold behaviors. I could not present acceptable human motivations to explain why He would let babies die, or instruct His armies to destroy entire races of people along with their innocent livestock, even to myself. I had to do the same thing for God that I had to do with those men I had met from on-line dating sites. I had to return back to the beginning and start all over again understanding who they were.

Square one for me was Who (or What) is God?

The answer solved all of my problems with His choices. God is not a human. He is not motivated by lampeven the most basic things we humans are, and because we have no point of reference to understand what makes Him tick, we have no real idea why He does things that we think we’d never do. When He wipes out all the first-born children, we go to our Mind-Files and sift through all the possible motivations that a human being would have to cause this, pull the one out that seems right, and then judge Him accordingly.

The truth of our existence is that we only have vague shadowy ideas about a spiritual dimension we have not actually experienced yet. Some of us have faith that we have a grasp on the Being we serve, but it is foolishness to me to not allow for some mistakes in our interpretations. I can’t really imagine what this must look like:

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[a] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

I imagine I probably have it completely wrong. Does this make it inherently wrong then? Or is my limited human filter just ill-equipped to form a reasonably correct idea?

simsI stopped trying to defend God using human motivations a long time ago because I am ill-equipped. Like you, I too, have never seen God in the flesh, and my limited knowledge renders me unable to do so. Instead, I accept that God exists by a different, unknowable set of motivations and priorities. My faith is that even though I may not understand His reasons for doing something, He does, and they are good ones for Him. It simply does not matter if we agree or disagree with them…we are the pots, He is the potter.

“all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 ESV)

I run into a lot of assumptions by people who seem to forget God is a god, not a human. The probability that God will ever feel inclined to feel ashamed in front of His accusers is non-existent. Often I get the feeling that there are people who seem to think that God owes them an explanation for Himself, especially among unbelievers. 

That is never going to happen. God can not be put on trial and punished by any of us. The idea is patently absurd, and yet I find it a common theme among those who resist Him.

I found a real peace about God when I came to understand my own limitations concerning Him. My faith comes into play in that I can believe that He means only good for me, and not harm. Armed with that assurance, I often find myself looking towards the future for explanations or understandings. 

It is okay to admit that we Christians do not know much more about God than the heathens do. We Definition Of Atheismspend our entire lives learning, but I imagine, we will be surprised how much we got wrong. That’s okay too. We answer to God, and not anyone else. Remember, none of us come across intelligent when we try to be the defining authority on a subject we do not fully understand.

We humans seem to be inherently arrogant about our place in creation, but God is pretty clear about His place in all of this, and it isn’t about making us like Him. We aren’t a bunch of high schoolers hoping to eat at the cool kids’ table. This wasn’t all put in place because He couldn’t make friends.

He made some of us as vessels of wrath, and while that seems patently unfair in all of our books, it is not in His. 

Note:

10. ….When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins.f 11But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; 12he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”g 13In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”h

14Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15For God said to Moses,

“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,

and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”i

16So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

17For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”j 18So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

19Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

20No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

It is probably wise to take a look at the lens you are using for life in general, and God specifically. Expectations that He should act in a certain way based on human motivations is always going end up with you being disappointed and probably disillusioned.

You can trust that God has His reasons, and is best able to determine what should or should not be done. We do not have to give anyone our guesses at what His motivations were for things others find unacceptable. If they need Him to explain, best let Him do it.

God will never again be put on trial….. And even if He was, we probably wouldn’t be picked for that jury.

Have a great day!

~ Bird

What’s It Like To Have A Spouse Cheat On You

QuoraToday, I was goofing around on the computer, and I found something that really moved me. I thought I’d share it with you guys.

On Quora, a question was asked, “What’s it like to have a spouse cheat on you?”

This question has been asked and answered in every way possible on that site, but this time, I was moved by the answer Desmond Hardy gave. I think you’ll like it too. It’s long, but it’s worth it.

He writes:

“It’s like driving your car and having someone cut you off, which runs you off the road; your car flips multiple times before coming to a stop. As you come out of a traumatic trance, you only to begin to take inventory of the real damage in the aftermath of the wreckage. My wife had been cold for months. We were in our fourth year of marriage, but each successive year seemed to be an unraveling of our love into something that I could no longer recognize. 

While we were dating, my ex was the BEST girlfriend I ever had. She saw me through an estrangement from my brother, my mother, the loss of a job, and even helped me financially while I was unemployed, just to name a few. It was then that I was convinced that a woman who saw me endure such adversity should only expect to reap the benefits of my success and accomplishments. I never had a fleeting question or doubt about marrying her. Even moreso, I prayed that God would only give me eyes for her, so I wouldn’t be tempted by other women to cheat on her and mess up my blessing. It was the only relationship where I was in love with her as much as she was in love with me. Anybody who’s ever had a relationship like this knows you may only get 1 or 2 of them in a lifetime.

Fast forward 4 years, and she treats me like a transient roommate in our own home. I knew she was either emotionally separated from me, or she was engaged in another relationship, because nothing bothers you anymore when you’re getting your needs met elsewhere. She also dressed a lot better for work than what I’d been used to for a long time. She always dressed professional, but she put an extra 25% of effort into really looking appealing on a daily basis, which definitely raised my suspicions. 

Although I had my suspicions, they weren’t evidence of anything other than a nadir in our emotional closeness until I got a mysterious phone call one evening. It was a woman who claimed to be the wife of the man she was seeing. My heart skipped three beats, yet, I felt no anxiety talking to her. For the next 45 minutes, she told me almost every detail about their relationship that explained the deficiencies in my marriage. 

They met in college 18 years ago and developed a hot and heavy relationship. he was a newlywed, but that didn’t stop them. For 10 years they were on-again-off-again, until she finally cut ties with him. She decided to make vast wholesale changes in her life, and for the better. She committed her life to God, focused on healing, and her son, and putting behind her a relationship that was forbidden from the start. 

I entered her life a few years later, and appear to be everything that she thought she deserved; hard working, industrious, God-fearing, engaged with her son, and “a nice guy.” At least nice enough not to hurt her like the other guys in her past did. I was, in retrospect, a safe business decision. 

As the dirtbag’s wife told me of her experiences with my wife as the other woman for so many years, I immediately knew that virtually all of our marital problems were so far beyond me, that there was no way that I could ever compete with an 18 year relationship. I knew in that moment that NONE of our problems started with me (although I contributed my fair share of imperfection) and they couldn’t possibly be addressed or resolved without a major commitment on her part. 

As I sat and listened on the phone, I also got a glimpse of what I didn’t want to be, which was the male version of the woman on the other end of the phone. She was devoutly religious, devoted and dedicated to her family, and a fighter, who refused to give up on having a real family. These are all great qualities unless you apply them toward someone who’s unwilling to change. This woman suffered for years behind this man’s selfishness, arrogance, and myriad affairs with multiple women. Having that conversation allowed me to see that I didn’t want to be that person. 

Then my wife came home, and that’s when the fireworks started.  Elizabeth Kubler Ross coined the grieving/coping stages when we or a loved one faces eminent death, but we also are confronted with the same emotions as we encounter the death of a marriage.

Denial

This was my first reaction after processing the truth that most of our marriage was a lie. In 5 years of being in a relationship with her, I’d never called my wife a derogatory name until that night. I had no filter. It was shattered into a million pieces along with my dignity, and she wasn’t going to come off easy after all that her lies had put me through. After trying to save face while putting up her best defense, she finally simply admitted to being “fucked up,” when she realized that I knew too much. This didn’t provide me any comfort or solace, but it provided me with enough resolve to walk away for good.

The next morning, I packed up only my clothes and what was left of my dignity as I said goodbye to that residence forever. A good friend stopped by to help me fit everything into his truck, and I didn’t feel anything until I put the last of my things into my trunk, and it hurt so bad that I fell to my knees sobbing (and I do mean SOBBING, blubbering, balling,) uncontrollably.  

One of the most arduous things about dealing with your spouse’s betrayal that the cognitive dissonance of missing someone who betrayed you so deeply. You will still long for this piece of sh*t, and then feel guilty for doing so. When you commit your heart to someone, it takes far longer for your feelings to die than the time it took to end the relationship. 

It’s a lot like stars in the universe; any one of those stars may have already died, but it may take millions of years for the last of the light emitted from that star to reach us before we realize it. This is when I was immediately confronted with my second emotion.

Depression

If the anger was useful for providing a needed kick in the pants to walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship, then depression was completely counter-productive. Tears would flow at the drop of a hat for anything and for everything, because you don’t realize how much of your world revolved around this person until you associate some of the most insipid things to them. Seeing her favorite cookies in the aisle at the grocery store, hearing “our song” on the radio, subconsciously taking the exit to go home, only to realize that it isn’t YOUR home anymore all act as 12 inch knives slowly drilling their way into your heart at the slowest pace possible, yet with the maximum effect for torture purposes. 

You can experience waves of sadness like the changing of the tide on the sea shore; it can go from low to high, or high to low, but sadness will be a cloak that will never leave you for some considerable amount of time. I have often compared the pain to having a limb amputate with no anesthesia and with a dull knife. Regardless of the medical emergency that necessitates amputation, the pain is equal parts excruciating and constant. There is no way around this. 

I couldn’t sleep for over a month. For someone who falls asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, this a HUGE deal. I couldn’t focus at work. Simple tasks would get lost in space, as if I were afflicted with no short-term memory. I also had what seemed like a million colds that waited in line to infect me consecutively for the next 6 months. With the tremendous effect of stress on your body, it only makes sense to become a walking Petrie dish. 

Bargaining

This is the mind fuck of all mind fucks, as you, the victim, will rack your brain trying to rationalize how it’s possible that you somehow enabled your spouse to cheat on you.  I’ll let you process that for a minute.

 It’s like you’re constantly trying to balance an unbalanced equation, and you still cannot wrap your mind around it. You ask yourself did you show enough affection, or did you consider them enough, could you have been better in bed, or what if you didn’t do that thing that annoyed the crap out of her so much even for one less time, would it alter the course of history between you two. 

You will run countless simulations in your head of how you could’ve done myriad things differently to perhaps bring out a different outcome, only to be faced with the damning reality that you’ll never know if it would’ve worked any better anyway. But here’s the mind fuck; you continue to run the simulations ANYWAY!!!!!!!!! 

Anger

As you come more to terms with the amount of damage and loss you’ve sustained in this failed marriage, you won’t be able to avoid the rage that comes with the realization of how much time you wasted with this worthless $%*^**!  

Your trust,your hopes, experiences you planned on looking forward to, your every big and minor plan for the future involved her, and now that’s been completely stolen from you. Now you have to start over, and you’re in worse condition than when you started the first time. At least back then you were a lot more optimistic and hopeful; now, you can’t trust the opposite sex or yourself anymore, due to the fact that you were so sure you picked “the one” in the first place. 

You’ll expect her world to crumble around her feet, but it will surprisingly go on without a hitch. This makes you even angrier!!! I mean .38 HOT!!!!!!! If you’re not careful, you begin to realize that the longer you remain in this phase, not only will their quality of life remain the same, but yours will vastly and quickly deteriorate. And that’s why you have to reach a new plateau. 

Acceptance

This doesn’t mean that you’re okay with what happened, it means that you accept that everything you used to believe about love, God, relationships, true love, and marriage don’t have to be false just because your dreams didn’t come true through this marriage. This is the place where, after performing a thorough autopsy of your marriage, you can exhale with the assurance that comes with knowing you gave it your best shot, while taking note of your shortcomings for future relationships. 

It means that just because somebody cheated on you, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It means that It means that you’ve proven that you can be humble, selfless, sacrificial, patient, committed, and steadfast.  And more importantly, you’ll know how to do those things even better the next time that true love comes around.”

Beautiful. Thanks, Desmond.
` Bird