Sunday, February 21, 2010

Accusing God for the Sins of our Parents

Ever since the age of eight, I strongly have maintained that my parents favored my younger brother over me. Don't get me wrong: I knew my parents loved me. I was just convinced that they loved my brother more.

Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that my recollection of my childhood is shaped by my own bias. I have discussed this issue with my parents at length throughout my childhood and adolescence, and they never agreed with my assessment. (It wasn't until my brother and I were both adults that they began to see some credibility in my claims.) But nevertheless, whether the alleged favoritism was real or perceived, the result is the same: it had a major impact on my view of my parents, and I transferred that over to my Father in heaven.

The main thing that used to upset me was that I felt my brother and I were not equally disciplined. Name any transgression of your choice: coloring on the walls, breaking an expensive vase, throwing a temper tantrum, etc. My position has always been that my parents would discipline me harshly for my behavior. But if my brother were at fault, my parents would find a way to excuse it. "He's so little, he doesn't know any better!" was the justification I was given when he was only three years old. As my brother grew, that line was not going to work, so my parents found other reasons to indulge in his every whim: "It's just easier to give him what he wants than causing a scene in the store," or, "We only gave in because he doesn't deal with disappointment as well as you do." Whether or not I was assessing the situation accurately, it caused me to resent my brother and distrust my parents' love for me. Every discussion about this with my parents would end with my mother saying, "Just remember, you are both my children, and I love you equally." I would think (and sometimes even vocalize): "Yeah. Sure, mom. That could be true in theory, but it really doesn't feel that way in practice."

So Christ died for the little wretch. SO WHAT?Fast forward to today. I hated my sister in Christ. People tried to reason with me in an effort to bring me out of this sin, saying, "Can't you just view her as someone Christ died for?" Honestly, I could see where they were going with this, but it meant nothing to me. So Christ died for the little wretch. SO WHAT? Christ died for me too, didn't He? Does this mean I get to misbehave too? Look, I get it in theory. But when I see people making excuses for this sister's inappropriate behavior, it certainly doesn't feel true in practice.

What did this do to my walk? It drove a wedge between me and God. I did not go to Him for my needs. I figured it is pointless for me to ask Him for things, since there are other Christians asking for the same things, and He'd probably just give those blessings to them instead of me. The Bible says "You have not because you do not ask." But I did not ask because I was convinced that all parents are the same, and that included my Heavenly Father. I read passages of Scripture which describe how God loves to lavish blessings upon His children, and I believed it. But I was convinced that these passages were referring to His other children, not me.

I hated this sister in Christ because I saw her doing things that I judged to be inappropriate. Did God do anything? Nooooo. He just let her get away with it (or so it seemed). But if I were to do those same things, God would discipline me. Yes, I knew the Bible says that those He loves He disciplines (Hebrews 12), but I felt like that's only half the story. I felt that the Bible should also mention that that those He loves more are the ones He apparently lets off scot-free. Never mind that I deserve hell and I'm getting off scot-free myself. All that mattered was that this other person appeared to be getting away with things that I wasn't getting away with, so that meant God loves her more. Makes sense, right?

To make matters worse, I also spent years of my life thinking that God loves His sons more than He loves His daughters. The simple fact that He chose to put me in a woman's body was an act of cruelty, as far as I was concerned. The souls He favored were created as men, given to rule over those children He didn't love as much, created as women. If you are a woman, I assumed that was because He just didn't like you as much. It's just the way it is, because parents aren't fair. I grew up in a very old-school Italian-American family. The women exist to wait on the chauvinistic men. In God's economy, "submit to your husband" couldn't possibly be any different that what I witnessed growing up, could it?

Well I do not deserve it, but God has had mercy on me. He has shown me that these ideas are complete garbage, manufactured in hell's great factory of lies. God is perfect, and human parents are not. Human parents are going to fail us every time. If we insist on judging the character of God based on the actions of our sinful parents, we will never understand God. If we really want to know the true character of God, we must base our understanding of Him on Scripture.

Perhaps you were the victim of physical or emotional abuse. Perhaps you were abandoned. Perhaps your parents repeatedly broke their promises to you. Friends, this has NOTHING to do with God. And so now when Satan tries to feed me this trash, I lash out with my sword. My Bible tells me that God is not a respecter of persons, "for there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). Is God a hypocrite, that He would show partiality but instruct me not to do the same? (James 1). NO. I will come boldly to my Daddy's throne! My requests are not insignificant to Him, for if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe me? (Matthew 6:30). Furthermore, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). How can I possibly cling to this preposterous idea that God favors His other children over me, when He poured out the wrath meant for me upon His son, with whom He is well pleased? (Matthew 3:17).

It pleased the Lord to bruise Christ (Isaiah 53:10). Jesus could at any time have protested and cried "Foul!" It is not fair that He was punished for something I did, yet He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53:7). How then, can I complain that God has treated another Christian unfairly by letting them get away with bad behavior while I supposedly suffer under rebuke? How can I hate another when Christ died for me, while yet a sinner myself? (Romans 5:8).

Perhaps you did not experience favoritism in your family (real or perceived), but your parents sinned against you in other ways. Perhaps you were the victim of physical or emotional abuse. Perhaps you were abandoned. Perhaps your parents repeatedly broke their promises to you. Friends, this has NOTHING to do with God. God is not out to hurt you. God will never leave you or forsake you. God will never lie to you!!! When the accuser tries to condemn us, we know there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) So why would we willingly believe these ridiculous, unfounded accusations against the Lord Himself?

This is a call to brethren everywhere to fight the good fight of faith. Sling those swords, sisters. It's time to cut these lies up once and for all and defend the truth about our God, even if it is only to ourselves! That being said, I'd like to report that I HAVE OFFICIALLY BEEN SET FREE OF THE SIN OF HATRED!

4 comments:

Geraldine said...

Jen,
You know how amazing this is because God has been showing me the very same thing at the very same time! I cannot agree more when you said, "Honestly, I could see where they were going with this, but it meant nothing to me." I felt the same. It was the same when they quoted scripture references. THEN, one day I COULD SEE IT! I got it!!! The light came on and those scripture verses meant everything to me!!! Only this morning I was reading how David, a man after God's own heart passed on the baton to his son but no amount effort on Davids side could produce the same kind of love and passion in Solomon. He had to get that for himself! Much like us. We have to have our own experience in our relationship with God. People can encourage us, be there for us etc but not give us their own experiences. God knows whats best for us. We each have our own blueprints. This is why grace is sooooooo important in our friendships and in the body!

Tom Gabbard said...

It seems that we all have to pass through this crucible called life in order to really "see" the glorious truths of the gospel. How great the Father's love for us!

Renee said...

Jen;

This was an interesting post. Like I'd mentioned before; I've been reading through these posts about anger and so on and so forth. Anger is a good topic and this post is maybe just a little different bent on the same subject matter. I'm thinking of doing a post on my own blog about it; but anyways.

It's interesting to see a little different perspective on this God / parent issue and maybe understanding where some other people are coming from. Ironically with me and my own background; confusing the God / parent thing was never an issue - since my experiance between the two was so vastly different. It was very easy for me to see that God didn't act like my parents. The only questioning of God I've ever really had in regards to my parents and family is - how did it get so bad? How did my family get so absolutly warped? Outside of the "theological answers" - it still boggles my mind.

As for "hatred" - for me it's still a very sobering all around "thing". I've seen it take on dimensions beyond emotion. It's one thing to be angry at your parents for their lack of discipline of your brother. It's another thing to hate the brother who'd you'd witnessed raping your sister on a few occasions and than comes after you - (and have parents who fail to do anything about it). That's a totally different perspective on hatred!

As hard as this may seem for some people to believe. I never mistaked God for my parents. None of that was ever God's fault. It was just too evil. And I was certainly aware of people who'd survived worse circumstances than me. And they'd talk about how God had gotten them through it - (as opposed to blaming Him for it). When I'd hear stories like that - that was the God I wanted. The One that was going to make me sane again. The One that was going to stop the cycle of destruction. The One who'd keep me from killing myself because I didn't know what to do with the intense rage.

Not only is that a different perspective on hatred - that's a different perspective on God!

Daughter, Arise! said...

THANK YOU for this article...I so need this!