So what we believe is that Sin is bad, God is good, Jesus is unique, and righteousness starts on the inside.
I might as well call this part Hard things the Bible teaches.
Let me go back now to the person claiming the Bible is too old to shape how we do things.
This person wasn’t a Christian, or even an orthodox Jew from what I could tell, but they aren’t alone. Christians have said that too.
Most specifically about how we discipline children, and view sexual immorality. Both between same sex and opposite sex couples.
They claim that the Bible’s advice to spank children is outdated and part of the mindset back then. They claim this, even though that advice comes directly from Solomon, who was the second wisest man to ever live, according to God Himself. And whose proverbs prove true in every other circumstance. No one argues that laziness leads to poverty, a nagging wife is worse than no wife, and fools can’t be cured by stripes or sound reason.
But we chafe at the idea of hitting Children.
Okay, I’m not a monster, I know it sounds sick. And if I wanted people to agree with me, I could pick almost any other point of contention to discuss and get more open minded responses.
But in true Jesus fashion, I’m going for the most problematic thing.
The reason is, if we discredit God’s view, then we are saying God can be outdated.
The complete arrogance of us, if we claim that God is real, to say that we could be more progressive than Him, is beyond belief.
But people will support gay marriage and ignore what the Bible clearly teaches on it in favor of what the world says, and they will ignore what the Bible says about children.
Now to be clear, the Bible does not say Children are wicked. Jesus encourages us to become like children, but be adults in understanding. And that is why discipline is encouraged. Because Children do not start out wicked. But if neglected, all human nature tends towards it’s worst parts, because we can’t help it. We are born into sin.
I’m going to be fair and admit that thousands of people have been physically disciplined by parents, and it made them worse off, and bitter, and left a scar.
But the only time I was ever mad at my parents truly for spanking me was when it was for something I didn’t do. Injustice is what stings.
Which is why many people do find spanking traumatizing I believe, it’s not the spanking itself. If pain itself equaled trauma we would all hate our siblings who slapped us, or even our friends or our pets.
But when trust has been broken between parent and child, physical discipline, or any discipline at all is fanning the flames.
The issue is trust.
The Bible says that God disciplines those He loves, using suffering often far worse than a spanking, to teach them not to sin, or to teach them patience. It’s not fun.
And people hate it, possibly more now than they ever have. Life is too easy for some of us, and too hard for others. Both types of people will find discipline form God a disheartening idea, and will likely resent it from their parents.
But, and please hear this with an open mind, that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
We need to adjust our idea of bad. To the modern mind, if it is painful; if it produces tears; if it’s upsetting; then it is bad.
But that’s a fairly new, and not an enlightened idea at all.
Because how many more people need therapy now because they think all painful things that happen to them warrant trauma. Things have come to a pretty pass when electing the wrong president is enough to throw people into an emotional tailspin.
Furthermore, spanking is one thing, but people who have a problem with corporal punishment, often (not always) were actually beaten or other wise abused. Spanking leaves no real damage. And a good rule of thumb is, if it damages, it’s too far.
But I’m no expert. To me that is what makes sense.
I’m not saying that every parents needs to spank. Some children can be ruled by other means. But some can’t.
The Bible expects parents to use their heads when it comes to that sort of thing. Jesus once said “if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to you.”
The point is, would God tell us to do it if it wasn’t good?
And that leads to other complaints people have about the old testament. Like why would God command entire nations to be wiped out.
And Christians would never argue that that’s okay now (I hope.)
Any why would God condemn homosexuality? (Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s in there.)
There are two options, maybe three.
Some say God has changed over time. That is, they say that things were different back then, and harsher, and it was a different world. It was, but it’s not because God changes. It’s because we change.
Others say it shows that Christianity is uncivilized in its origins, and that’ is why it can’t be taken seriously now. But they are going by a definition of civil that was ironically created by the spread of Christianity. (until the idea of brotherly love got about, the idea of killing people over religion wasn’t ever considered ridiculous, it’s why Jesus was crucified to begin with.)
The third option, aside from choosing to say some parts of the Bible aren’t real, and not many will go there (I hope;) is that God does not change, but He can change the rules.
C. S. Lewis explained it best in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Certain laws have been in place since before time itself. Time itself is a law that was in place before the law of Moses was given.
And those laws supersede the laws that were given to tide us over till Christ came.
The Law itself is universal, when it comes to how we should treat each other and how we should treat God. But the part about dealing with Sin was never meant to be the way things were forever. And we know that because in the prophets, God speaks often of a time when sin will be gone forever, and forgiven forever, and we will never be separated form Him again. No more sacrifices, no more death, no more suffering.
He also says He takes no delight in animal sacrifices in of themselves. Only preferring them to destroying people. (Wouldn’t’ you?)
This may sound like a broken record, but remember, we are the guilty party here. We are the ones who deserve death. God could justly destroy the whole world, and he almost did once. But he promised never to do it again and He won’t destroy this earth till the end of time.
The only reason we see things differently now is because we’ve had Jesus’ work in place for 2000 years. And the world’s viewpoints have altered. But in the time Jesus was here, they still view all sin as worthy of death.
The point is, though God allows us to question His decisions, it is because of His mercy. Because we don’t have the capacity to understand Him.
But lest this sounds like a cop out when my whole point was to lay out what we believe, let me say that this is what we believe. That no man can understand God unless God enables Him to.
If you understood anything of what I’ve been saying, it’s the grace of God. Because let me tell you, I didn’t use to get it. Often I still don’t.
I have days when it all seems clear to me. But most days, I have the merry go round of opinions spinning through my head. I think about what the world says about God and I wonder what basis I really have for disagreeing.
And the thing is, my doubts prove nothing. Nothing except that men are easily swayed by each other’s opinions. Which is true whatever you believe.
But the fact that sometimes I can see how the pieces fit together, that gives some pause. Because it’s hard to be sure of anything in this chaotic culture of ours.
But I am sure.
And I will continue to be sure, whether or not people think it’s crazy, outdated, or even morally wrong to believe what the Bible teaches.
If a little fall of rain can drown you faith, it didn’t have deep roots to begin with.
Until next time–Natasha.