With the return of football season comes that special time of the year when we get to yell at the television: “How could you miss that?” “Keep on going!” “What? Seriously? What rule-book are you reading ref?”
It got me to wondering, I wonder if our antics merit such commentary in heaven: “Have you seen my servant Job? There’s none like him!” “David’s a man after my own heart.” “Esther is so faithful, I’m going to have a book written about her!” “Ruth is amazing! She’s deserves a second chance!”
Then again, it could go the other way: “How could y’all side with the perpetrator? Not cool!” “No! I didn’t teach that you could ignore that guy just because he’s different!” “What Bible are you guys reading? It’s certainly not the one I gave you.” “Why didn’t you give that kid a coat and a meal?” “‘Love your neighbor’ doesn’t mean ‘throw them under the bus!'”
I really wish I knew why God felt that some people ought to go through such tragic circumstances and others get everything so easy. Why some people ought to be poor and others ought to be rich. Why some people ought to go hungry and others ought to have plenty. I know there are a lot of people who tend to think: “Well, this is my lot in life, so I’ll make the best of it.” But there are others who look at what they have and decide that they can make do with less, so they give a lot away. It’s easy to do that with material goods. But how do you help people whose experiences are so different?
I remember reading that after the Holocaust, some survivors often found it difficult to believe in God. I wonder if God was screaming from heaven that people were getting things wrong, was celebrating when people came to the rescue, and was mourning with the ones who lost pretty much everything. I don’t believe for a minute that God planned out in advance and orchestrated the events of the Holocaust just so Israel would become a state. Every now and then I see those programs about how miracles happened during the Six-Day War, how enemies fled when they thought they had seen angels. How a few guys who were out of bullets captured dozens of the other guys. Perhaps he also did his share of miracles during the Holocaust too, but many of those stories were never shared so we’ll never know.
I find that when people have problems with Christianity, it’s usually because Christians dropped the ball. We didn’t have all the facts. We made the wrong decision. We made them victims twice over, by siding with the perpetrator and blaming the victim for what happened to them. We mess up and we miss the mark. Sometimes we just can’t believe that somebody we know would do such a thing, we’re shocked by the suggestion and would rather sweep everything under the rug than to consider that the victim was being completely honest and open and was hurting. They gave us a chance to do right by them, and we didn’t. I’m so terribly sorry that’s happened. I’m sorry that it keeps on happening.
Jesus’ big teachings was that we ought to speak out when injustice happens, and stand up with the outcasts and the oppressed. We’re supposed to be compassionate people who recognizes that everyone matters. Our teachings about forgiveness, the emphasis on that tends to put pressure on victims to just forgive and forget and move on. We often fail to consider the need for justice and our responsibility to protect. And that’s why so many bad people see Christians as extremely naive – and easy targets that gives them easy access to vulnerable people that we fail to protect. And since we keep on failing to get it right, there are dozens and hundreds and thousands of people who just can’t forgive and they’ll certainly never forget because it keeps on happening. I just don’t know what it’ll take for us to start getting it right, but I hope it’s sooner rather than later.