For my regular readers it should come as no surprise that I am an unashamed, evangelical Christ-follower. I strive to look at the world through a “Jesus Lens”. I live my life not just from a perspective of “What Would Jesus Do?” but what would he think, say and teach others to do as well. But sometimes I have to admit I really hate the bible, and here’s why.
For me following Christ begins with the understanding that God IS Love (1 John 4:8), Jesus is God, (John 10:30) and that as Little Christs, which is what Christian means, we are to be just like Jesus. If we track the logic backwards therefore, as much as it is possible we need to be Love incarnate.
But what is love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. [1 Corinthians 13:4-7]
Or maybe it’s this.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love: joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. [Galatians 5:22,23]
The point is that if I am to be Love, like Jesus and God, I cannot be impatient, unkind, envious, boastful, proud etc. Neither can I be violent, out of control, our lose hope.
But here is where I fall down. As much as I want to be all these things I am also faced with the reality that in our world we are surrounded by unspeakable evil. Just turn on the news any day of the week and you will see examples of brutality, oppression and prejudice, bullying and hopelessness resulting in the murder and suicide of innocents. As well as all manner of depression and anxiety you can think of. I want to cry out: Where is the mercy? Where is the justice? Where is the punishment for those who perpetrate such evil? And yet as a person of Love I am called not to offer retribution but the very things I see as lacking in this world. Where indeed is the mercy, justice, hope, honor etc, not just for the victims but also the perpetrators? Do I have it in me? Can I show love to those I deem as evil?
Jesus said “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). Paul got even more practical and explicit when he said “Feed your enemies” (Romans 12:20). But who is my enemy and who am I to judge in the first place?
Paul leads in to his suggestion by saying that God will judge and repay the evil doers, (Romans 12:19). It’s not my job. It’s not even really my job to decide who is evil and wrong in the first place. No my job is to simply love, God will do the rest.
Sometimes I hate the bible for its ambiguity in the face of our on modern reality. What about gay marriage, nothing specific. What about aborting a diseased fetus, nothing specific. What about ISIS, nothing specific. Other times I hate the bible for the things it is perfectly clear about. What about the gay gym teacher; love him. What about the mother who made the agonizing decision to end a pregnancy that would have resulted in a disabled child; love her. What about that jerk in cubicle three; love him too.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [Matthew 7:1-2]
So yes, sometimes I hate the bible and I’m not afraid to admit it, but it’s my love for Jesus, God and my community that keeps bringing me back. Does anyone else feel the same way?