Part 3: I Hate God | An Ugly Truth

Well it took awhile for me to get to Part 3 of this series. Will there be a Part 4? Man, I hope not. 

Wow. What a winter.
If nothing else, it’s been real.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’ve been angry with God. Driving-around-in-my-car-from-midnight-to-2:00am-screaming-until-I-lose-my-voice angry. Yup. It’s been real, alright.

Just Show Up
In April, I attended a women’s retreat with our church, which wasn’t easy to do. The theme of the retreat was Love: Intentional, which made me laugh (maybe scoff is a better word) when it came across my desk for promotion. Just a few weeks earlier, when my pastor tried to remind me that, despite appearances, God loves me, I looked him in the eye and said: “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

So what would 42 hours of chatter about God’s love be like? Not much different than the “wah wah wah wah” of Charlie Brown’s teacher, I figured.

Just show up, I kept telling myself. Just show up. Those were simple words God gave me decades ago, and they have served me well. Just show up. So I did.

During one of the sessions the speaker gave us time to pray and journal throughout her presentation. We also had the freedom to move around, sit on the floor…or hide in the sound booth…if, you know, like me, you think better in cramped, secluded spaces. So thanks, Autumn, for sharing your space with a journaling maniac.

Here’s how it went down:

I started by scratching out “Hard to love when we’re too busy” and ended with “WHAT IS REAL?” Sometimes I get a little existential…even with a pink pen.

But somewhere in the middle of the madness, I wrote this:

…and what about forgiving God for what He’s allowed? What does it mean to let Him “off the hook”?….

Forgiving a Perfect God
OK, flash back with me for a sec: About 20 years ago, during a difficult time, a friend asked me, “Do you think you can forgive God?”

What a strange question, I thought. God doesn’t sin. He doesn’t even make mistakes. How can you forgive someone who’s perfect? 

Flash forward: That question has never quite left me, persisting all the more in recent months. Because I am angry at God. So angry that sometimes I hate Him.

I know He hasn’t sinned. I know He doesn’t make mistakes. I know He’s perfect. But that doesn’t always make me feel better. Because that means He’s alllowed everything that’s happened. He has allowed it all. And He’s left me to deal with the mess…the broken hearts and crippled relationships and shattered innocence.

Some days, I catch myself saying, “You and me, God? We’ll never be OK again. I will never let you off the hook for this.” Which is really just another way of saying, “I will never forgive you.”

So what are the chances that a Christian retreat about love will include the topic of forgiveness? Good? Great? Try like a hundred, thousand, million percent.

Which is how I found myself on the floor of the soundbooth scribbling:

…and what about forgiving God for what He’s allowed? What does it mean to let Him “off the hook”?….

And for the first time in my life, I began to see what forgiving God might look like.

On the Hook
Now hang in here with me while I flesh out this metaphor… Often, we hesitate to forgive others because we believe that doing so means we’re letting them “off the hook”, letting them get away with what they did. We keep them “on the hook” – maybe because we desire to punish them, to make them pay. And we often do punish them – with anger and hatred, vindictive words and hurtful behavior, by rejecting their friendship, or even simply, quietly closing the door to our hearts.

Or we may refuse to forgive because we think forgiveness says “I’m ok with what you did, with the damage you caused.” Which we know isn’t true and so we wear our unforgiveness like a breastplate, as a sign and shield against our offenders.

But unforgiveness is insidious. The hook on which my offender hangs is fastened to my heart. The longer I let him stay, the more that hook tears at my own flesh. And the breastplate of unforgiveness walls off my heart while trapping the offender inside.

That’s why God invites us to forgive: to protect us. The beauty of this invitation is that God doesn’t say “Set your offender free. I’m ok with the damage he’s done”. Rather He says, “Give him to Me. Set yourself free. Put him on My hook. And let Me take care of the mess.”

Off the Hook 
All of this went through my mind in about three seconds as I sat on the floor of the soundbooth, and I began to wonder, if forgiving a perfect God is not about absolving Him of a sin or mistake perhaps doing so is really about letting him off my hook for the all that He’s allowed?

What if God is not saying “I don’t make mistakes so you can’t be angry or depressed or disappointed. Suck it up and deal with the mess.”?

What if, instead, He’s saying, “You’re right, I allowed this and it sucks. It’s a supernova-size mess. You hate it and I don’t blame you. But I’m not asking you to be responsible for this mess. I’m not asking you to clean it up. As far as I’m concerned, this is My mess. Give the mess to Me and let Me take care of it.”?

Maybe then forgiving God is possible.

Maybe I can stop punishing Him with anger and hatred and closing the door to my heart -because that’s how I take revenge on God, by keeping myself from Him. Is there any other way? (Yes, I know, I know, I know! Noses and spite and faces. I know!)

Maybe – knowing that He holds Himself accountable to handle not only His own messes, but the messes of others – maybe then I can let Him off the hook for this winter, this year, this rubble of broken hearts scraping at my tired feet.

Maybe then I can stop trying to pick up the pieces, and leave the pebbles that are too many to carry, and the boulders that are too heavy to bear, there at His nail-scarred feet.

Maybe I can take Him at His word and let Him claim this mess as His own.

Maybe then, unhooked, uncaged, unburdened, this broken heart can heal.

 

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12 thoughts on “Part 3: I Hate God | An Ugly Truth

  1. LOveD it…. Looking forward to reading more! You could’ve created the definition for bitter-root-expectations syndrome ( a real psychological term ) apparently all on your own. And solved it, in it’s only known way, through Him. Best, Thania

  2. You’re getting closer to breaking the shackles of unforgiveness, to lowering your shield enough to let His love flow over it to wash away the hate-YEAH!
    You & I are among those slightly twisted, creative people who often find themselves contemplating eternal truths in the midst of a fictional work of art- even better when it’s a musical! So you will understand when I say I could hear a song from Wicked as I read Part 3. D’s death pulled you out of orbit, off your moorings, dashed you against a boulder and dropped you into freefall. But it also made you look at God from a different perspective. It’s been a most painful journey, but a deeper, sweeter relationship with him is within sight.
    “Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun,
    Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood,
    Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea,
    Like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant world,
    I do believe I’ve been changed for the better.
    Because II knew you, I have been changed for good…
    So much of me is made of what I learned from you.
    You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart.
    And now whatever way our stories end,
    I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.”

  3. LOOOOOVE IT, Nichole. As usual. You just hit that nail. On the head. With the hammer. Right square… (maybe you did hit your finger once or twice, sorry about that). Love you, sister.

  4. WOW. I really want to send this to 2 people who I dearly love . You were just so CLEAR. I am blessed to be able to be a part of such a raw and self exposed human journey
    in a world of much “performing”. Love you. Keep em coming! gail

  5. This is pretty much how I feel towards God. I try and reason this with logic. My logic goes something like this:

    If God loves me, he will help me.
    If you will not take away or change these circumstances, at least be with me and comfort me.

    Both of those he fails to do so far.

    How can he only be responsible for the good and not the bad? Are we SOL when bad comes? Is our definition and his of “Good things” different? Why not our whole damn lives be a huge trial so we make it to heaven and have good rewards. And of course there is people surrounding you who have what they want, their prayers and blessings are met.

    So at the end of my logic I’ve concluded this:

    God allows bad things to happen. We need to keep trusting in him in his goodness. What good will it do? Absolutely nothing. Life still happens. He’s better off not trusting then he is trusting. Both take the same amount of energy. Why not trust? That way at judgement I can say “You knew I trusted you, I did my best to focus on you for help and not in my own ways. You left me in certain parts of my life.” He can’t say anything back to that, so when we give him the responsibility it lies with him to follow through.

    Funny thing though, is that he is in control anyways, so what does it matter? I would like to think my dreams and desires, needs and wants are important. But I guess making hell on earth every now and then to make us more like Jesus is more important. Do I love God? Of course. He is good. I see his blessings. Do I like him? No, I truly can say I do not like him. Parents don’t treat their kids as bad as he does sometimes. Can I see the whole picture, should I have faith? Yes I need faith. I can’t see the whole picture.

    I especially am dreading the end times, he is allowing it on the righteous who have done nothing wrong for the punishment of very evil people and leaders of this world. Almost like when he killed 10,000s in a city because of a sin David committed. Make sense? Nope. But I honestly don’t care anymore.

    Today I was saying I am just done following you. I am so sick and tired of being a broke unhappy Christian. Barely getting by and my only excuse is “God is good, or has a plan” I’m fed up. I thought I heard the holt spirit pleading with me “you need to live for him! There is no other way!” So I felt convicted. Might as well live and keep believing. But to be honest when people talk about how good he is I get angry. Mad. I am happy for them but I either am silent, angry, or self accepting that he blesses others, has favorites, and treats us how he determines is fair and good. I get sad. But what can you do? I don’t wanna hear about you bragging. Shut up already.

    We are his dumb little game pieces. Once he has his little ego game with Satan hopefully heaven will be a little better then earth.i said Hopefully.

    • Hi Jonathan. Thank so much for sharing. You and I have had a lot of similar thoughts. I think sometimes we know in our heads that God is good and perfect but our hearts feel differently. I want to believe and be positive but I also want to be real. I think I’ve landed in a place where I can say “Do I believe God is sovereign and in control? Yes. Do I know what He wants, believe He’ll work it out? No.” It’s a terrifying place to be but it’s the truth. God is unpredictable. He refuses to stay in the lines we draw for Him. My hope of course, is that He is truly good and that eternity with Him will be a blessing. May God bless and encourage you Jonathan and lead you in His truth.

      • Yes. But let’s trust in his love. When we have to give an account God can’t be the one to blame. Only us trusting and bein humble. I messed up and probably will but today is a new day. Gonna trust and know he is good. He loves me. Is my only hope

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