Sunday, April 23, 2017

Here's the way I comprehend Love in terms of the Christian God:

If you are a parent, this is pretty straightforward. Think of your children. If you're like most parents, you have a remarkable love for them. I lost an older brother when I was 5, and it hurt, but nothing like the way it hurt my parents.

They say losing a child is one of the most painful things you can experience. I have two adult children, and even now I would do anything for them. I hate to see them in any pain. I would eagerly give my own life so they could live, like donating two kidneys, one for each, at the same time. The pain of living life with one of them gone is something I'd rather not do. So giving my life so they could live would for me be a bargain.

Parents understand this type of strong love. Some children never get a chance to experience it. But you can if you choose to.

When Jesus died, I see a parent's love, which may sound confusing. Let me explain. In the Bible, there was an incident where a dear friend of Jesus named Lazarus died. Usually the emphasis is on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But I place real weight on the fact that Jesus wept. Weeping comes from strong love.

It's my view that in that moment, God experienced something, through Jesus, that was unique: strong human love and the pain that can come with it. Can you imagine this, our Creator, coming head to head with this pain? Soon after this, Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem. Anyone with half a brain could see this was suicide, but Jesus went anyway. What motivated him?

I think the painful experience with Lazarus did a number on God. So He, through Jesus, determined to save us from the pain of life, just like a parent would: out of love, dying for us, His children.

Well what good did that do?

To the Jewish culture at the time, this can easily be interpreted as a sacrifice.  But even to non-Jews, if we think about it, we can understand that God intended for us to show us love, then through the Resurrection, hope. There is hope to be found in the symbolic example of conquering pain and even death, but there is also love shown by God demonstrating this to us personally, humanly, through the experience of Jesus.

God was no longer the parent of discipline and and justice, He was revealed as the parent of love and hope. Regardless of our spiritual leaning, I think we can understand these very human motivations.

To me, it eventually makes sense. But you have to be human to really understand it. Many Christians haven't emotionally thought this out so explicitly, but evidently many of them have a deep emotional response at a non-verbal level.

Emotions are primitive, dangerous to the purely intellectual scientist. But the reality is that as humans, we are both emotional and thinking, rational beings. God speaks to us at both levels. At a human level. And like children, some of us get it, and some of us don't, or maybe finally do after years of pain and misunderstanding.

God loves us like a parent loves his or her children. He proved it, by example and yes, sacrifice,
to show us the way to love, hope, and triumph.