Saturday, January 7, 2012

Losing Faith

Someone I love with all my heart has lost her faith in God, because she can't believe in an all powerful God who allows such horrible suffering in this world.  But when I talk to her, she talks about how she can't forgive God (for feeling abandoned and rejected, because she is gay) -- which of course betrays the fact that she really can't stop believing there is a God,  regardless of how hard she's trying.  But trusting Him is a whole nother matter.  She most likely associates God with Christians, (and the horrible, hateful things they say and do in the name of Christ) and she hangs onto these hurts and refuses to forgive...keeping herself in her own prison.  As much as this saddens and troubles me, I understand it.  I also know I can't fix it.  But I do trust in a God of peace, a God who is faithful to draw her to himself somehow--in ways I will probably not understand. (may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him...the one who is calling you is faithful and will do this.)

I can't help but hear the voice of my Christian past..."God wishes He could save everyone.  But we have free will.  He made a rock that is just too big for Him to move.  If people reject God's love and grace, that is their choice."  But have people really rejected God's love and grace, or have they just not experienced it yet?  Was Paul given a 'choice' to have Christ revealed to him while he was in complete and utter rebellion against him?  

Yes, we all have choices to make, and there are consequences to these choices.  Eternal consequences though?  How could I live another day believing that if this wounded soul I love so much doesn't repent of her 'unbelief' (or her gayness...they are both tickets to hell, after all) before she dies, God will punish her without end?  How can people believe that?  

One word fixes mistranslated word.  And yet the church won't acknowledge the error.  Or even worse, they acknowledge the word doesn't translate to eternal, (in the ONE* place it refers to punishment..."These people will go away into eternal punishment" Matt. 25:46) but they don't think it matters.  I still can't wrap my head around it...sometimes I really think it's going to drive me crazy.     But I have to hang onto the faith that has been given to me...the belief that God has got it under control and that His mercy NEVER ENDS.  I will end with a very personal letter I wrote to God.

You see my heart.  I see it too, though not very clearly.  So many of my thoughts and attitudes are so very wrong.  The hurt I feel...that seems to be the root of it.  It's so very hard to be alone.  How can I be part of the Christian community, when I see things so very differently?  I don't know how to look at my old beliefs and not feel disgust.  But I cannot look at my brothers and sisters and feel disgust, I need to feel love and oneness.  I can trust you to show your people what you want to show them, when you want to show them.  Somehow I need to be able to live at peace in this lonely place.  Please help me take my defenses down, help me to completely open up my heart.  Guard my mind, and keep the judgmental thoughts from getting in.  Show me how to live in grace, every moment as a gift.  Everything good comes from you, and there is no darkness in you at all.  I can trust it.  It's going to be alright.  Thank you. 

* Ok, I found another place in 1 Samuel 3 " For I have told him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. " But again, in the YLT, "for ever" is translated "to the age".  And it makes sense that Eli understood this, because his response when he found out that his house would be punished 'forever' was ‘It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.’