Cruel to Be Kind

I’ve been trying to figure out how the majority of the branches of the Christian religion became so misogynistic. How did we go from Christ giving women equal footing to women being forced to be doormats for abusive parents and husbands? How did we go from a God who displayed His love for all people in His Son and husbands being told that this is the love they must have for their wives, to women being told that God created them to suffer under the abuse of a husband? (A friend was told that by a pastor and elders in a United Reformed Church, but it is a variation of a common theme throughout Christianity.) 

Somewhere along the line we went from a God whom Christ presented as loving and sacrificial, to a God who will take away anything you hold dear just in case you might have inadvertently placed that thing above him, or, as one woman recently told me, allow you to be betrayed by friends so that you will only trust Him.

This particular line stuck with me, and not just because its cruelty…that I should be used to by now. It stuck with me because I recently watched Casino Royale and toward the end Bond and M have a conversation about Vesper, the woman whom Bond fell in love with and chucked his whole career for. She asks him about trust and he responds that he doesn’t trust anyone. She tells him, “then you’ve learned your lesson.”

Of all the lines in the film (that part wasn’t in the book) this one is easiest remembered because it sounds so terribly cruel. Bond has learned from the deceit of a lover that he cannot trust. 

Is that really God’s design? That we become that jaded that we trust no one but an invisible entity?

I suppose the answer lies in why we think we were created in the first place. We can argue all we want that “the primary purpose of man is to love God and enjoy Him forever,” but in the end, Scripture says repeatedly that we are to bear each other’s burdens, feed the hungry, house the poor, touch the leper, stand up to corruption, among a myriad of other things. 

If we trust no person because we must only trust in a nebulous God, then how are we to help or be helped? 

Yes, there are people we shouldn’t trust, obviously I believe that. But if we live a life where we fear that God will actually remove anyone we live on the off chance we might love them more than God, how does this lead to trusting God? And what kind of God is this anyway?

Let me share some of the things people have been told by people who believe this crap:

God caused you to lose your job because you trusted money more than Him.

God caused your friend to turn against you because you trusted the person more than God.

(And my personal all time favorite…)

God caused your child/spouse to die because you loved them more than God.

I’m not sure how we arrived here only that it inconsistent with what we see of Christ. Christ never said to the suffering that it was their fault, that their lerprosy happened because they trusted their position in society more than Him. Instead he touched the leper and healed him. He didn’t tell Jairus that his daughter died because he loved her too much. Instead he raised her from the dead. He didn’t tell the woman with the issue of bleeding that she suffered because she trusted medicine more than she trusted God. Instead he healed her.

Christ was never cruel to the people in actual suffering. Nope, that was what the Pharisees did.

So, before you pass along your judgement as to why a person has suffered, you might want to consider whose words you have chosen to use. Are you speaking healing love as Christ did or are you casting judgement as the Pharisees did?

We claim to be worried about people leaving the church or not coming to church in the first place. But cruelty will not draw people to the true God. And it will only repel them from the church. Trust me, I know.

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