I had a friend who didn’t like Jesus. She read about him in the Bible, and she didn’t like him. She thought he was arrogant and self-righteous.
I thought I was pretty open-minded until she told me, but it was a shock.
Does anyone else ever feel like this? How do you cope? Could I ever admit it if I did feel this?
I know it’s not the same, but I always feel pretty negative about Paul. In fact whenever I read any of Paul’s letter’s I take it with a pinch of salt because I don’t like him. There’s an admission for you.
Your friend has noticed – atleast in part – what many people never do!
Jesus does and says some pretty harsh things, which seem to be nothing short of rude and mean. Take for instance the Cananite woman in Matthew 15 who He completely ignored, and then called a dog!
Was He being racist? Or was He testing to see how BADLY she wanted it?
How about the willing disciple who wanted to follow Him, but wanted to bury his/her father first? When Jesus told the disciple to “let the dead bury their own dead,” was He being cruel and insensitive? Or did He understand that if the disciple did arrange the funeral, he/she would never follow through with following Jesus?
My initial feeling upon reading these passages was that some mistake had been made: Jesus couldn’t have said that!?
I think it’s okay to admit when we don’t understand some of the things God does and says. He Himself said that He is beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55)! 😉
I always appreciate my friends when they speak their minds. Especially when they feel like they don’t undertsand me: it gives me the chance to explain myself.
Moses, who was called “the friend of God”, approached God when pharoah had made the Hebrews work harder, and complained that God didn’t seem to be making good on His end of the deal.
David, who God considered to have a heart after His own, questions God many times in the Psalms.
Peter challenged Jesus to the face about something He said, and Jesus gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom!
There are many issues in the Bible which I have a beef about (like the killing of women and children in the OT), and I would like answers for.
Someone once said to me that God is not Spanish, that He should only answer “Si” or “No” ro “No comprende”. We can ask God specific questions and He will give us specific answers.
I would encourage you then, to tell God how you feel, and ask Him to explain to you what you don’t understand. I promise you, He will be delighted to answer you. Perhaps you’ll find your answer in the book you’re currently reading, or hear it in Sunday’s sermon, or find something in the Bible itself which will directly answer your questions and set your heart at ease. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.
Hope that helps,
He might not answer it. He just might not. It’s not as simple as you make it sound.
I know he said seek and you shall find, but whatever he meant it wasn’t ask and I’ll answer in a clear way within a week or two.
It’s totally subjective I suppose.
See, every time I have asked God to help me to understand something about His Word, I have had a clear answer to my question.
Proverbs 16v1 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the toungue.”
And the cool thing is, it doesn’t depend on how you feel, or even how righteous you think you are at the time. (God says in Isaiah to the person whose sin is like scarlet, “Come and reason with me.”) The only prerequisite to God listening to you, is that you seek Him with all your heart.
I really don’t know if that helps.
Check out the story on the home page “Rock Bottom”. That experience may happen to you one day … feeling God is ignoring you, not answering clearly and quickly. If it does, be encouraged that you’re not the only one.
I used to be suspicious of Paul. (I still occasionally find some of his expressions hard to accept). But once, I think it was when I was looking at Philippians, I suddenly realised he was totally a people person, and it transformed my feelings about him. Like the whole chapter of greetings at the end of Romans. If you get this sense of him as totally committed to lots of people, concerned about their welfare, praying passionately for them, it gives you a different perspective. He’s not just this lone voice telling people off from afar.
I had a similar sort of reaction when reading John’s gospel recently. It’s good to be honest about it, right? I found lots of the things Jesus said and the way he treated people quite harsh or apparently arrogant.
2 things helped me try to deal with it:
1) noticing how people related to him, and how much people obviously were attracted to him and thought he was amazing. So obviously, like with the woman at the well, what he was saying didn’t come over as rejecting them. People experienced him as gracious, not as offputting. So I tried to imagine the tone he must be saying the words in, or the smile that went with them, rather than just seeing the bare words on the page.
2) reminding myself that Jesus’ claims about himself only sound outrageous if we think of him as a normal human being. Bearing in mind that he is also God, what he is saying is all true. Of course, that means if you are reading the gospels in search of a particularly wise human guru, you might well be disappointed with some parts. Impossible arrogance to say you are the only way to God – unless it is true.
>See, every time I have asked God to help me to >understand something about His Word, I have had >a clear answer to my question.
All I can say is that that makes you very lucky…
There’s another possible way of understanding some of Jesus’ comments at http://www.und.edu/dept/linguistics/wp/2003Weber.PDF
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