Today’s Readings: Job 8:1-22; 1 Corinthians 7:1-9; Psalm 55:1-15
Many of us have experienced pain of some sort because of theological statements others have made to us. For instance, we might have lost a loved one prematurely and heard someone at the memorial service say, “Well, I guess God needed so-and-so more than we did.” We might have unexpectedly lost a job we loved – only to hear someone say dismissively, “Don’t worry. When God closes one door, God opens another.” We may even have had a cherished relationship end without warning – and heard a well intentioned individual say, “Get over it. God must have had other plans for you.” In today’s reading from Job, we even heard Bildad say to Job after Job had endured the painful death of his children: “It’s plain that your children sinned against [God] – otherwise, why would God have punished them?” (Job 8:4 from The Message). It’s no wonder so many people who hear these sorts of statements experience feelings that drive them away from a spiritual life.
So how does one overcome such hurtful statements and return to a meaningful relationship with God?
I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I can share an insight that helped me overcome such statement. The key moment for me was realizing there is a difference between God and those theologies we human beings formulate to think about God. When people use theological statements that are hurtful – those statements are not from God. They are simply attempts by finite human beings to make sense out of things that are far beyond their comprehension. Those human limitations are reflected in such statements and are the real source of the pain; not God.
Perhaps there is an old hurt that you are holding on to that is creating distance between you and God – a hurt born out of an insensitive remark someone in your life made in God’s name. If that’s the case, I would invite you to spend some time today in prayer/meditation as your work on letting go of that pain and opening yourself to long overdue healing. Til next time…