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The Schizophrenic God

“When you look me, you see the one who sent me…For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me…”

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” – excerpts from the Gospel of John

I recently heard someone say, growing up for them there was little distinction between God and Satan except one thing: they always knew where they stood with Satan.

Yesterday I heard a wonderful sermon on the love of God. The preacher cited God’s love and patience in the Garden right after sin entered the world, how he was simply walking in the garden. He talked about how Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, and how God has always been with us and will always be with us because he simply cannot get close enough to us, especially in our brokenness.

But you see I’ve been hearing something else too many times this week to ignore: it is the sense that Jesus and The Father are this good cop bad cop tandem, heaven bent on saving the world at all cost.

The preacher who talked so well about God with us, about God “walking in the Garden right after we sinned, and how Jesus was called a drinkard and a glutton because he was always eating and drinking with sinners, in the same breath, talked about how Father was angry but since he took it out on Jesus, judgement was paid for he could finally love us.

“If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father…I and the Father are one.”

If the Father and the Son are one then the depiction of wrath mixed with unrelenting love is more sinister than good-cop-bad-cop and speaks to some bi-polar, schizophrenic who will keep us constantly guessing at what he is actually thinking. As soon as we think we are safe, we are not.

If the Father has wrath and the son takes the wrath for us than it sounds like Jesus can’t help me. It sounds like maybe it is Jesus, a broken, abandoned and abused son who needs me who will be a better father than the one he had. If The Father was actually angry then what was he doing in the Garden in the “cool of the day”? If he was calm and yet somehow boiling underneath then maybe the serpent was right, the Father is hiding something and maybe life would be better outside of his creation.

Was his calm smile holding back the kind of anger that could go off and destroy everything? I know that kind of anger, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it and felt it rising in me. If that is how God is then what use is it for me to follow him. How can he help me?

If God is with us ONLY because he took his pound of flesh out of Jesus then how far am I from him taking another pound (or more) out of me?

I watched this documentary called The Heart if Man (Not a huge fan of the title or some of the content) where I heard a pastor tell the story about his zealous rebuking of men who who were addicted to pornography. He spoke at this church and had really let some of the men have it saying, “How can you be addicted to porn when Jesus is doing so many wonderful things in the world?” Later that night he found himself burning for the same fake connection he had been rebuking in those men earlier that day.

He talked about how he then binged for days on porn; in his hotel, at his office and when he came to, he said, “What have I done? I cannot go home. I’m too far gone.”

He suddenly had a vision where he was in a prion cafeteria. He had his food tray but all the seats were taken and no one was interested in sitting with him so he sat down alone.

About that time, Jesus came and sat next to him. He was dressed like one of the prisoners. Jesus said to the pastor, “you are free to stay or there is a door right there you can walk through but I’m with you.”

God with us in our prison. Emmanuel, not near us but with us, as we are.

What kept me from healing for so many years was the hidden believe that somehow the Father had a different will then Jesus, the Son. And it didn’t help that the Church had condemned that as heresy centuries earlier because it was a guiding false truth lodged in my heart.

As the pastor yesterday so wonderfully put it, “The serpent did not tempt us with more fruit but with the belief that God may be hiding something.”

Separation due to suspicion has kept me and so many of my friends stuck in brokenness because we aren’t quite sure how God will react. It has been the fear that somehow there must be “something other than love in God.”

It may take our lifetime to believe and feel Jesus’ words, “I and the Father are one” and that’s ok. We don’t have to make them line up. That will be the work of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, that’s a whole other conversation. 🙂