Is God like the Men who Have Hurt Me?

 

Aslan

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Cheetah 100

“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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Comments
23 Responses to “Is God like the Men who Have Hurt Me?”
  1. S. Rowley says:

    Really powerful post, Ruthie. I’m sure this wasn’t easy to write, but you’ve hit the nail on the head as always. As a man, I hate how men have hurt the women in my life. I want to remind all your readers that there are good guys out there.

    Thanks.

  2. Sarah S says:

    Oh exactly what I needed to hear. I’m curious about that book (what a racy cover!). I LOVE ASLAN! Much to think about here, Ruthie. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Sarah! Glad to see you on here. I don’t love the cover of the book, but I did like some of the messages inside. Angie (the author) was kind enough to send me a copy.

  3. Jenny says:

    “But my rules didn’t keep me safe. They kept me silent.”

    Something to think about. I wonder if all rules keep us silent? I grew up in the church and loved this post & your one on our bodies (Your Body is Not the Problem ….I think) because I too was blamed for men’s lust and was constantly worried about my body. I think I still see my body as dirty, shameful, etc. because the church teaches sexuality is dangerous. Sigh*

  4. Adam says:

    I’m like Scott, I hate seeing how men have hurt the women in my life. My wife was abused by her high school boyfriend and we still have to deal with it in our marriage. I would do anything to take the pain away…

    Thanks for another great post.

  5. Jess says:

    Yes I have discovered that God isn’t like the men who have hurt me……NOT even my biological dad. In fact it’s in God that I have found refuge and comfort and the grace to love and trust again when that time comes.

    So, to me God is a good dad!

    He is NOT to be compared to any human being…..

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Glad to hear it, Jess. Yes, He isn’t to be compared; just sometimes hard not to associate with God based on our experiences. He’s a good Dad!

  6. Ruthie, this was my favorite of your posts. Love your strong, clear voice!

  7. AshleyB says:

    As usual, a beautifully written challenge of current culture. Thanks for speaking out against what is so readily accepted in churches, but too rarely questioned. I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of that book!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thank you, Ashley. It was a little difficult to write, because sometimes I fear people’s reaction to my posts.

  8. mark says:

    I always enjoy your posts. They’re always thought-provoking. God’s love is unconditional but many people have little experience with someone else loving them unconditionally so it’s difficult for them to associate any feeling with the notion of unconditional love. The call of the Christian is to give the people in our lives that experience of unconditional love.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I love this, Mark. So true that unconditional love is so hard to find. What a challenge for us as believers to love radically, fully, and thoroughly.

  9. Alli says:

    Ruthie! I LOVE the bold stand that you take for Christian women! Your blogs always leave me with so much to think and pray about. It took a long time for me to question the hurt the church has caused aside from just assuming it’s natural. As I get older, I begin to stand up against it and it’s so great to know I’m not alone in these thoughts!

    I love the picture of God as a lion that comes TO us, seeking us to gently lay next to us where we need Him. We can choose to let Him get close to us on the couch or kick Him off in fear, but regardless, He continually puts Himself out there for us to love. That alone is far different than most men! Wow! What an incredible God!!

    Thank you for the picture of God’s love that you bring to this blog!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Alli,

      Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for reading. Such an honor for God to use my words in people’s lives.

  10. Timothy Wright says:

    Hi,

    Really good, I work with University Students in the UK and their perceptions of our Father is most strongly influenced by their earthly father first and all other men are mere layers on top of that. If the Father is not there, it is very hard for them to know their value, they may come to faith, but their intimacy is hindered until a real revaltion of the Love of The Father is deposited within them.

    Our daughter whom we adopted from China is still reeling from her abandonment and we are walking alongside her with this ache and through Inner Healing Prayer-Theophostic, she is slowly laying down her false beliefs about herself and her worth. Thanks for this.

  11. Elena says:

    This is so good. I wish more girls could read this. I remember hearing this truth in a sermon by my pastor and it just rocked my brain because I realized that I was treating God like any other man when in fact He is perfect in unfailing love. This truth helped me to see Him as a Perfect Dad

  12. Elle says:

    I am weeping. Your last paragraph truly hits home more than I could ever explain. I’m so thankful I stumbled onto your blog recently. I’ve started going through and reading through a handful of old posts every night before I journal and spend time reading scripture. I almost always end up in tears because you so clearly describe the insecurities and struggles I have with my past. I’m in such a state of brokenness lately and it’s like your the voice of a big sister that challenges me and points me back to scripture. So thankful for you and your writing.

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  1. […] always be asking myself if I am causing someone to stumble. I would like to echo what blogger Ruthie Dean writes in her entry titled “Is God Like the Men Who Have Hurt […]



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