Who's the Abuser?
I am finally sensing that maybe I am beginning to catch glimpses of the real meaning of the cross of Christ for the first time in my life. I hesitate to say this sensing that the enormity of its true implications are still so far beyond my ability to even imagine that it might be arrogant to claim such a thing. But at the same time, what I am now learning is not only perfectly fitting together with all the fundamental facts and insights that God has been showing me from His Word for decades now, but more importantly my heart, the true object of interest by the One who hung on that cross, is finally beginning to respond positively to the latest explanations of how the cross should be interpreted.
I just read a few minutes ago another vital truth about the role of God at the cross in relation to those who put His Son to death.
“Our real problem is not the lack of depth in our thinking, but the lack of depth in our character. ...We fail to comprehend such sacrificial love because it far outstrips our shrunken conceptions of what love can endure. Let the man be found who has undergone the shattering experience of pardoning, nobly and tenderly, some awful wrong to himself, still more to one beloved by him, and he will understand the meaning of Calvary better than all the theologians in the world.” (Healing the Gospel p. 86)
I am immediately convicted by this exposing statement, reminded of some of the deep rage of unresolved, unforgiven offenses still hiding deep in my own soul. Though I cannot particularly bring to mind specific events, at least many of them, there are enough painful memories and associated feelings that still rise occasionally to the surface producing fresh anger and resentment, that keeps me aware that I am still in desperate need of the cleansing grace of an extravagantly forgiving Savior myself. I must come to admit that the real problem to a great extent that blocks me from understanding the real truth about Calvary is not only the many false or misleading explanations of the cross by religious people all around me, but it is also my own lack of willingness to embrace the implications that a true understanding of this will impose on me.
Apparently, according to this quote, the extent to which I will ever be able to appreciate and grasp the true meaning of the cross of Jesus will directly correlate to my own willingness to emulate the spirit that I see demonstrated by both the One on the cross and the One hiding in and around the cross sharing the full impact of all involved there – the suffering Father. That is what riveted my attention in this passage.
It is common knowledge by experts in such things that one of the typical symptoms of a skilled abuser is to project their own guilt into the mind of their victim, leading the victim of their diabolical control and exploitation to feel somehow responsible for the actions of their abusers. In convincing the victim to feel guilty for the abuse they receive, it creates an illusion that the true abuser is innocent somehow. And although from the outside this logic is extremely sick and twisted, from the perspective of those involved it feels like the truth because of the twisted logic inherent in sinful reasoning.
Those investigating abuse have learned to spot this kind of logic as strong evidence of the mind control present in highly efficient abusive relationships. Whenever there is illogical assumption of guilt on the part of a victim or blame and avoidance of responsibility on the part of a perpetrator, something is always amiss. And although it is even possible for investigators to have a mistaken agenda of their own and actually become abusers themselves in their zeal to expose others, this pattern of blame and projection is a sure sign of the presence of abuse.
This really opens up yet another vitally important clue in connection to how so many professed Christians can entertain the notion that Jesus came to appease the supposed wrath of the Father on the cross. This is such a deeply entrenched and unquestionable assumption on the part of many theologians and Christians today that even suggesting anything differently can elicit strong reactions and even anger. But this is symptomatic of a hidden agenda involving abuse by those thus disposed to reject any alternative to their theories. For whenever true light begins to shine on deceptions, those with vested interests in maintaining deception react very defensively just as an abuser will react with violent denial that there is anything amiss.
What I am now starting to see is this same pattern of denial on the part of many Christians who are unwilling to question their own assumptions about the reasons for the cross. When God is the one blamed for demanding the death of Jesus, and especially when God is implicated as being a perpetrator participating in actively imposing pain and unimaginable suffering on His own Son in some sort of sick orgy of abuse, we perpetuate the greatest scam of the whole universe originated by the greatest author of all deception. For it is God's archenemy who has for all his career of rebellion projected his own diabolical character onto the reputation of the Father of love and keeps convincing us that in some way God is to blame for what we see taking place at Calvary.
This is such a classic example of the pattern of denial in an abuser that it is amazing that it can be so readily overlooked by the vast majority. How is it that we can claim to believe in and serve a God of love while at the very same time insisting that this God is willing to torture and kill His only Son in order to appease His anger toward those helping out in that very abuse? Are we really willing to believe that somehow killing His own Son will create forgiveness in the heart of an offended God? This is so illogical as to be absurd to the point of insanity. Yet this is what popular Christianity continues to teach and preach and insist as being the 'gospel' of Jesus Christ.
No wonder the preaching of this supposed gospel has such little impact on the unbelieving world compared to what is recorded in the book of Acts. Our horribly distorted, sick views about what took place at the cross should be discredited by any sane, rational, thinking person with any decent sense of fairness and right. Christianity has become so perverted and irrational in many respects that it is no wonder it is hard to convince decent, thinking human beings to embrace our version of it. It is high time that we rediscover a true version of the gospel that will actually make so much sense that its power will be unavoidable. Of course, the true gospel will also expose the deceptive agendas of many who have vested interest in keeping control over the minds and hearts of millions and who may be benefiting handsomely from their positions of power and/or economic exploitation.
Who are the real abusers involved in the death of the innocent Son of God on the cross of Calvary? What is the real truth revealed there but subsequently covered up that can awaken true appreciation in the hearts of thinking individuals seeking for better truth than what has been pawned off by so-called experts of religion? When will the true gospel finally stand up and be identified? And consequently as this begins to happen, who will be the true villains when the real gospel finally explodes in all its true glory?
Again, I feel I am just starting to scratch the surface of the truth here and I have to wonder how much credibility I really have myself. If I am still struggling to forgive those who have perpetrated injustice against me in the past, even after receiving wonderful insights about the power of forgiveness, how can I purport to present the truth about the gospel to counteract the sick views of popular promoters of false religion all around me? Yet I feel I am caught in a 'catch 22' in a way, for until I begin to really grasp the real truth of what happened there with my own heart, I have no true example or motivation to compel and empower me to let go of my own deeply rooted offenses. But on the other hand, if I continue to have offenses lurking deep in my own heart, finding no way to ferret them out and become free of them, I inhibit my own ability to even perceive the truth inherent in the cross.
Maybe this is reflective of Paul's feelings between Romans 7 and 8.
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:22-25)
The more light that emerges to my mind about the real truth of the cross, the more attractive that underlying truth acts to dispel the many years of darkness that have enshrouded my thinking and perceptions about the gospel. The more I embrace the core truth that God cannot be implicated in any way in killing His own Son to appease either Himself (or a Law which is in reality only a reflection of His own character and thus cannot be separated from Him), the easier it is for me to see authentic truth beginning to leak around the edges of this story.
What I am seeing this morning is that Satan has so successfully convinced the world that the death of Jesus somehow was God's fault that he has maintained his ability to continue to abuse all of us with little resistance. And what is even more amazing is how he has so adeptly transformed and hijacked the very group of people that originally were supposed to be the representatives of the good news that Jesus came to reveal, using those who call themselves Christian (little Christs) to be the most effective promoters of his lies about God. This diabolical scheme of Satan is so pervasive that it is difficult to find any who are willing to stand up and challenge it head-on. Most are so afraid of what others will think about them if they challenge the vast majority that they simply succumb to the numbing effects of the illogic preached and taught in the name of Jesus and religion.
How sick can we get anyway? How do we benefit by insisting that God wanted to kill His own Son for our offenses? All of this defies reason and rational thinking and even our counterfeit system of justice. But when this question is brought up, immediately Christians claim that the gospel doesn't have to make sense to us – we just have to 'accept it on faith'. But the faith they so often insist we must exercise is a stupid faith in an illogical explanation that promotes the very lies about God's character that were first circulated in heaven by the father of all lies who Jesus said was a murderer from the beginning. I believe it is time to stop helping cover for the serial killer and the master abuser and quit teaching his lies that God is an abuser. It is high time to begin embracing the real truth about what true love is and that God is the real victim and not the perpetrator.
What I have been learning in this book Healing the Gospel, more clearly than in any other I have ever read in my life, is that God has crafted a most amazing plan to expose the lies of the enemy without resorting to any of the methods or indulging in any of the techniques or spirit of that counterfeiter and abuser. By identifying with the victims of sin Himself and yet refusing to indulge in a spirit of resentment, God demonstrates through the life and death of His Son the real truth about Himself in ways that can totally dismantle all the lies of the enemy if we will only allow the real truth of the cross to expose our own lies and sick thinking.
God is not the abuser His enemies and even professed friends have made Him out to be. God is not the one to blame for the death of Jesus on the cross. And neither is God the One who promotes all the pain and suffering and death that so many attribute to Him every day on this messed up planet. No matter how pervasive these lies about God become or how few are willing to embrace the real truth about Him, God is still and always will be purely love. He refuses to be drawn into resorting to the ways of treating people that his enemies employ. In addition, God does not hold offenses because He never takes offense to start with. To do so would mean that God sins, for in the Bible offenses are the same as sin. But it is impossible for God to sin.
It is not some supposed wrath or appeasement of divine wrath that accurately explains why Jesus died on the cross to win our affections. Far from it, the cross of Christ reveals a far more potent power inherent in a natural principle created by God that has been tapped into by many throughout history: people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King and even many involved in the non-violent protests that are rocking the world today.
By identifying with the weakest, the victims, the abused, the vulnerable, and allowing their suffering to fall on Himself, Jesus exposes the injustice of what we often claim is justice on this planet. And yet in the way in which He does this He refuses to use the methods we are so tempted to use to expose our enemies and abusers. Instead of resorting to violence and force or even shaming and intimidation, He allows it to abuse Him without reacting to it in kind, all the way to His own death. But by doing this He makes a public spectacle of the farce of all of Satan's systems.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15 NIV)
The secret power of the cross that exemplifies God's approach to fixing our mess is revealed as the evil empires are disarmed by non-violent resistance, not by pitting force against force. By allowing evil to be exposed through submission to abuse without retaliation or resentment while still protesting evil with love, Jesus gave the perfect example of the route to freedom. Love and forgiveness – the very things we consider and weak and powerless, actually prove to be the secret of the greatest power.
True freedom can never be achieved by employing the weapons of the enemy, for those weapons are designed to only achieve the goals and purposes of the enemy and will turn to destroy us in the end. Only in strictly keeping to the ways of God as revealed in Jesus can we have any hope of dismantling the systems of evil by exposing their wickedness the same way Jesus did – by non-violent resistance.
Jesus said that if He was lifted up He would draw all to Himself. This was a cryptic shorthand way of explaining the method God uses to defeat the tyranny of the reign of terror in this world. The way of Jesus is the only way it can be exposed that God is not in the least an abuser as we have been led to think. God did not unleash abuse on His own Son at the cross, nor will He ever unleash any form of abuse on any of His created beings at any point in history, past or future. Any such teachings are diabolical attempts to distract us from seeing the true nature of the source of all such notions, the greatest abuser ever known. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and to restore all who are willing to live in His love alone to someday inherit the only true kingdom, the kingdom based completely on love alone.