Learning to hate Jesus

Last week I experienced an anger beyond anything I thought possible, an anger far beyond words. It was accompanied by the overwhelming urge to punch Jesus in the face. Nothing would have given me more satisfaction. Nothing seemed more appropriate. If only he were brave enough to face me and answer the accusations before him. My soul demanded justice, but was left wanting. I was powerless to do anything about it. Since then I have learned that this type of experience is not uncommon among those truly committed to Christ.

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Not as different as one might expect…

I’ve been Christian my whole life. I inherited religion as a normal part of family life, and at the age of 16 I chose to make it my own. I believe that God is love and that Jesus came to save us from ourselves, to rescue us from the mess we keep getting ourselves into. Many would blame God for all the seemingly unnecessary suffering in the world. I always believed that this was misguided. To blame our creator is to bite the hand that feeds. It is our own fault that we hurt each other. It is our own fault that we can’t seem to get along. God is like a loving parent coming in to stop his children fighting.

This is all fine in theory, but when in the throes of anger, it is far from an adequate response. When I am hurt it is natural to get upset. It offends something in my very being. It’s not right! My spirit demands justice! Anger flows and I want to hit back. Who is to blame? Who caused this damage? Who will pay the price of restitution?

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In my more sober moments I know that hitting back in anger only makes the situation worse. You hurt me. I hurt you. You hurt me. The cycle repeats in endless futility. However, in the midst of suffering there is a strong sense that someone has to pay.

So back to my story, a week has passed and my emotions have eased. Reflecting with a clear head I can now confidently state that my rage was completely justified. Through no fault of my own (or anyone else’s for that matter) I had been completely broken. The damage bill was so high that I could not possibly pay for it myself, so high that no one else could possibly pay it for me. When no human offender can be found, the only person left to blame is God. Someone needs to pay the price and make things right again. So God, who will it be? I demand justice!

God’s response, it seems to me, is quite clear. Jesus is the one who will pay the price for us. He is the one to break the cycle and restore peace. Instead of turning on each other, we can pile all our hate, all our rage, all our abuse, on to Jesus. He will take it all upon himself and will never hit back in anger at the injustice of it all.

My whole life I thought I owed it to God to always be thankful for everything I have received. As unintuitive as it sounds, I am now realising that I need to learn how to allow myself to hate Jesus sometimes. It is the only way to adequately deal with suffering. We cannot bear the burden ourselves, but Jesus can. If only we could stop blaming each other, stop hating each other, and learn to hate Jesus as God intended. Once adequately expressed, feelings of hatred and anger will eventually pass. When all is said and done, the dust settles, the emotions fade, and we can truly experience the peace of Christ…. that’s what I think anyway… 🙂

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