For a God of Unconditional Love, the bible contains some interesting words. Verses that are to do with suffering for the cause, being tortured for the cause, even dying for the cause – all endorsed and validated with “but you will get your reward”.
Jesus said to his disciples, “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.” Luke 21:12-19
Maybe it is the use of “arrest and persecute” … “hand you over” … “you will be betrayed” … “put some of you to death” … “You will be hated by ALL(!!)” … But fear not – do not be concerned – all is well!
Really … ?
More and more I read verses like this and “God the Father” makes sense. A father talking with children who really have no idea at all about very much at all. But against a backdrop of cultural compliance to sacred texts and Chosen status. Even today “Jews” around the world demand and expect respect simply for being a Jew. Just as Jews have been persecuted and killed and held-up as the bogey-man around the world. And yet “Christians” and “Jews” still have an odd relationship. Neither thinking they are the same as the other.
And set in that context these words make perfect sense.
Just as in war those who refuse to fight are despised. Just as in peacetime those who are different are regarded with fear: mental illness, socially inappropriate diseases, culturally unacceptable gender and lifestyle preferences.
Hate Crime is a current hot-topic and has nothing to do with the bible and little to do with Godly belief. Set in that context these words make as much sense now as then.
But what springs to my mind is that other bunch of words. Words about living in the moment. Words about not worrying about “stuff”. Words about loving unconditionally. Words that are the same but just said differently. Like these verses.
If you love unconditionally people will mock you. Think you weak. Be angry with you (on the surface) – but probably scared (inside)? People will accuse you of all sorts of things – none of which make much sense at all. But that absence of sense and compassion – of humanity and kindness – has nothing to do with the bible and Godly belief. That simply becomes a hook on which to hang hatred or unkindness or fear.
So whether you like it or not, what you believe in – whatever you believe in – will be attacked and trivialised – politicised and despised.
These verses are set in the “End Times” conversation. And the key phrase for me here is not all the “bad stuff”. It is this:
“But before all that occurs … ”
Life is for living and I cannot hold back life or living or death or dying. And if I believe in anything and live accordingly – others will find reason to tell me I am wrong … Suffragettes. Apartheid. Slavery. Vegans. Benefits scroungers. Hillbillies. The Poor. The Rich. The Educated. The Uneducated. The Healthy. The Sick. The Articulate. The Inarticulate.
Absolutely no God or bible – no religion or sacred texts – required.
More and more I think that those who think themselves attacked because of God and their belief in God are living in a bubble. Because just maybe it is the living in a bubble – any bubble – that is despised.
Particularly a bubble that says I am better than you.