Is God like the Men who Have Hurt Me?
“How have the men in your life treated you? What did they expect of you? If you were beaten, raped, or abused then you probably loath God. If you were manipulated or cheated on by men, then you probably think God has the same agenda, that he’s only interested in what He can get from you before tossing you aside.”
Angie Schuller Wyatt‘s words breathed a sense of heaviness into my living room last Sunday. I never thought about how my experiences with men, shaped my view of Jesus simply because He came to earth as a man. I thought I worked through the past, the pain of living up to Christian expectations and failing miserably.
Let me explain.
When someone told me to live out the Great Commission, I uprooted my comfortable American life and moved across the globe to China. When I was instructed to share the Gospel with everyone, I pulled up chairs next to people at Starbucks and picked up drunk girls on the side of road. I read my Bible every day and did prayer walks and “died to myself”.
During the most formative years–those years when you want to be someone, but feel like no one–I was told that I blessed with beauty, so I needed to be ‘extra’ careful.
Extra careful in the church translated into a list of rules. Rules for purity, rules to make sure I wasn’t causing men to think about me naked.
I made sure to put my hand on my shirt whenever I bent over; I didn’t show any tan lines, because I was told those made men think about me in a bikini. I apologized for the time my underwear showed and the time I made ‘married men stumble’ because my jeans were too tight.
I’ve been hurt by men. I think in some ways we all have just like men have wounds from women. For me, I went through periods where I swore off men all-together or lived in fear of making men ‘stumble’. I followed the rules the church gave me and falsely believed I was promised the best.
But my rules didn’t keep me safe. They kept me silent.
On Monday, we talked about getting our primary view of God from our fathers. But I never thought about because Jesus was man it can be hard to believe that God isn’t like the man or men who have hurt us. Quite a thought to ponder, isn’t it?
My friend recently shared that because of her the sexual abuse she experienced in the church she had to create a new picture for God with her. Why? Because she noticed that she kept Jesus at a safe distance like she did the men in her life. Listen to her words:
“I started picturing Aslan, a huge but very gentle lion, stepping onto my couch and lying down beside me. He isn’t safe, but He’s good. He’s not a man, God is a lion.”
I wept later when I thought about this beautiful picture of our Dad.
The answer is “no”. God isn’t like the men who have hurt you, used you, left you, blamed you, or abused you. He doesn’t want you to be silent. He isn’t afraid of your feminity, your beautiful body, or your sexuality. He won’t shame you; He’ll give you a white robe of righteousness. He doesn’t want you when you get your act together; He calls messy, inconsistent YOU His beloved daughter.
What about you? Have you discovered a God who isn’t like the men who have hurt you? Or does the whole notion of God just make you cringe?
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