Monday, May 19, 2008

Abi's view of the wrath of God

Scot McK is starting a new series on the Wrath of God over at Jesus Creed. There's an interesting discussion going on over there -- I encourage you to check it out. Scot begins his post with this comment as a preface to his fairly long list of questions:

There are some today who’d like to burn a wrath path through the Christian Church — those who believe in it can move to the right and those who don’t can move to the left as the path winds and wends its way. The question I want to ask in this series is multi-faceted and includes at least these sorts of questions:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You need to read the rest of his post and work your way through the comments. This is what I had to say about it at comment #21. Your comments, as always, are welcome. :^)

As I have said many times since entering [paid] pastoral ministry seven years ago, it has been a tremendous advantage to me that I should embark on this ministry at both an older age and bearing children at this same time. So much of what I understood about God as Father has jumped out to me in this time that I just didn’t notice earlier — because I wasn’t living the circumstances.

Just the other day (okay, just about EVERY day), I had some discussion with one of my three boys (ages 13, 9 & 7) about proper behavior and consequences for poor choices. Most of those discussions dive quickly into accusations of “You’re not being fair” or “You should have warned me before” or “Why are you always being so bossy to me” or “If you really loved me you would give me what I want” or “You don’t love me” and, on a really challenging day, “You hate me … so I hate you back”


But I have recently come to a significant insight: when I react [try to counter their assertions] to their comments, it just adds heat to the fire. But when I respond [pleasantly but firmly] with a reassurance of my love and my sorrow at their choices, the heat goes out of the fire.

I have begun to wonder whether this is why God is so silent concerning many of our questions. He has told us over and over what is right — and behavior that is against good conscience speaks its own judgment. God, rather than answering each of our “whines” just reaffirms his love for us and his sorrow over our poor choices. And then he goes forward with the process of restoration.

This, then, represents my understanding of God’s ways under the Old Covenant — that time when the terms and conditions of the covenant were more “physical” … just as the raising of young children are more physical and concrete.

With the New Covenant, however, God seemed to call humanity to adulthood. To move past the focus on “law” and it’s concrete and physical consequences and get to the heart of “love” that spreads grace abroad in the spiritual as well as physical — transcending the physical, even, when it shows us how to delay gratification for the serving of the best interest of another … even if that means death.

Through Jesus we are able to see the Father who loves and teaches and forgives and waits and reconciles … and it helps us look back to the Old Testament and see much more of that same Father who loves and teaches and forgives and waits and reconciles. It just looks harsher from the childish view of selfishness and rebellion than it does from the childlike view of faith and love. [Emphasis has been added here for my post.]

I’m fairly certain that someone looking in on our home with no context in the midst of a meltdown could come away wondering why those parents are so mean … but I would want them to hang around long enough for the childish rant to fade and the childlike love to reemerge and see the scene when I sent them out the door for school and hear their cheery “Love you, Mom. Have a good day”

We really need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

…thanks for letting me ramble on … I’ll stay tuned to this series with interest — especially in light of the “hell” thread over with RJS’ series.

Comment by Peggy — May 19, 2008 @ 11:13 am

Remembering that Papa is especially fond of all his Eikons

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