Remember those billboards with “quotes” from God. I made up my own.
Do as I say not as I do. – God
If you read the last post about the sneaky Emu this post might be another one of those moments so keep a look out.
For many Christians, to have someone hint at any sort of contradictions or inconsistencies in the Bible is a major taboo.
We dare not question or re-think or re-build our framework of the faith and the belief that we were handed.
The problem is there’s no way we’ve got it all figured out correctly and I’m not sure that trying to be the most correct is the proper way to hold all of this anyway.
So my question for us today is this….. What about when God doesn’t do what God says?
Or maybe you could say it this way… What about when God contradicts himself?
Here’s what I mean.
In Luke 6:27 Jesus says “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Here’s some more words of Jesus.
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Here’s some more words of Jesus.
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
Jesus, the word made flesh, the presence of God who moved into the neighborhood says Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you , and don’t be angry at other let alone consider murdering them.
Oh also Malachi 3:6 God says this about himself, 6 I the Lord do not change.
These instructions show us a better way to live and give us insight to the nature of who God is and they let us know that God does not change.
But what about this…(Yes, I know I used this one last week.)
Deuteronomy 20:17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.
Here’s another one.
Joshua 6:21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
SOOOOOOOO……… Let me get this straight?!?! The God who never changes, who in the New testament say love your enemies and who also says don’t murder is commanding the murder of his enemies?
And we’re ok with this?
What do we do here?
We sweep this under the rug?
We ignore it?
We pretend that God isn’t saying do as I say not as I do?
We over look the contradiction and hypocrisy of the one who we also proclaim to be the unchanging God of love?
We chalk it up to “God is a mystery”? (ps See my post from 3 weeks ago about how to always be right.)
Or…… maybe we need to rethink and re-build the framework of the faith and the belief that we were handed.
Could it be that we’ve come at this whole thing the wrong way? Could it be that we’ve been so far removed and have such a minimal understanding of what kind of book the Bible actually is that we’ve jumped to some dangerous conclusions?
Conclusions that have led us to misunderstanding things like the nature of God, justice, redemption, salvation, who’s in and who’s out, potentially even the question of what is the greater purpose of the Church that Christians seem to continually hang their hats on.
If I have to choose between the God of the Bible, who is described as being love, being contradictory to himself to the point of murder and genocide or….. accepting the idea that maybe something has been lost in translation and misinterpreted by humans over the past 2000 years these stories have been passed down…… believe or not…… I’m going to suggest that the error here is not with God.
I love the quote from Meister Eckhart where he says – May God rid me of God – the idea is that it’s a prayer that whatever ideas we have of God are simply our best attempts at understanding that which is beyond understanding.
As such we need to be continually re-examining our ideal and our prayer should be that divine help us understand him in a deeper and more real way than we currently do.
May God rid me of God.