Posted by: gebs | October 1, 2008

The Bible Leads us to Suffering

It is not only non-believers that are disgusted when people refer to the Bible as justification for their often wrongful treatment of others.  Believers should also be disgusted by the stench which is hypocrisy.  If it is one thing the Bible tells us, especially the New Testament, is that we are never justified in hardening our hearts against others, despite what is they do to us or fail to do.  Let this be heard; the Bible is there to tell us, that what we do and think is wrong.  The Bible is not there to be used as some kind of ratification.  If we are to follow the Word of God we will most surely be led into suffering and self sacrifice.  In other words, we will have to give up whatever it is our mind is telling us is right and submit to the mercy which we ourselves live under, despite our inability to see it.  There is nothing more dangerous than the use of the Bible to justify our inability to be totally forgiving and giving. 


Everything in our world teaches us the opposite to what is in the Bible and especially the New Testament.  We are taught to treat people fairly.  Our ideas of fairness, however, are not those of the Bible.  Our ideas of fairness work on a give and take scheme, or a merit system.  We are not willing to forgive those who do not forgive us, or give to those who do not thank us and acknowledge our generosity.  We do not want to be taken advantage of.  It is as if we do not take advantage of God, and pretend that somehow it is our right to be treated with the love mercy he unreservedly showers upon us. 


The one who tries to do good in this world, soon discovers the tremendous current he or she is fighting against.  They soon discover how hollow their ideas are in a world which can give no substance to such things as suffering for the sake of a greater and often unseen good.  The futility of such good works soon becomes evident.  In order to persist in such work, one must accept the Divine gift of being able to suffer for the sake of goodness despite every shred of ones fallen humanity telling them otherwise.  One must learn to suffer silently as God himself does, often accepting that it is only God which can give meaning to such suffering, and it is only in faith that we can come to accept such a truth.  As Soren Kierkegaard so elegantly puts it: Christianity is a suit that at first glance seems attractive enough, but as soon as you actually put it on – then you must have Christ’s help in order to be able to live in it.   


Which one of us can truly say they have suffered or are capable of suffering for our Lord?  Alas Kierkegaard also says; the words of your servant Paul that ‘he filled up that which was lacking in your suffering’ do not apply to me.  No, I can only claim that I have increased your sufferings, added new ones to those you once suffered in order to save me. How true this is for each and every one of us!    




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