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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"God Made Me This Way" and Other Excuses

One of our readers sent me a short story about a situation in his community.  Without getting into details, I'll just say that the person around whom the story revolves decides to excuse him/her-self by saying, "God made me this way."

Yes, this is the modern excuse for exercising absolutely no self-control or personal responsibility.  It is also stupid.

Every day, children are born with horrible diseases.  God made them that way.  We should just leave them alone.

Every day, children are born in poverty and broken homes.  God made them that way.  We should just leave them alone.

Every day, adults discover that they have developed, through no action of their own, disorders and illnesses that are simply 'not fair.'  God made them that way.  We should just leave them alone.

Christ is born with a broken and fallen humanity, and confronted the fact that He had to die on the Cross to destroy it in His own Person so as to offer mankind His Resurrection.  God made Him that way.  He should not have died.  See the problem?

We are born broken and thrown into a world that is unjust and unfair.  If you accept it, then that is it.  It is yours.  What you certainly cannot do is run around saying, "I don't have to change... God made me this way!" and then demand that absolutely everyone around you change how they think and what they do... we call that hypocrisy.

The moment you excuse yourself from change, to be fair, you must excuse everyone else.  Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, the old saying goes.  Of course, we like to think that we don't have to change if what we are doing has no effect on anyone else.  

Really?  Is that so?  What about the billionaire that dwells in the midst of the poor?  He's not hurting anyone of his gains are legally obtained.  It is amazing how that argument can be made one minute and then dropped the next because we notice that we, in fact, want a lot from other people who are doing nothing except minding their own business.

If you want to make demands of others, then they have the right to make demands of you.

And they will.  Children make demands of their mothers and fathers, and we do not begrudge them.  In fact, we know it is healthy.  Society makes demands of its citizens, and we call them laws and taxes.

All of us need to get down off the foolish pedestal of 'private sin' and understand that who we are naturally effects all those around us.  Even our deepest secrets are at play in the world, because we are part of the world.

And this world is broken.  It needs fixing.  God made us broken, but not so that we would remain so.  God allows us to be born into this broken world because God wants us to fix it... with Him.  God is calling us to be healed and then heal others as co-healers with Him.

"God made me this way" blows up this paradigm when it is used to excuse any effort to be transformed, because anyone can use it to excuse anything and then exempt himself from this healing process.  So, God made us this way so that we would change.  If He made us perfect, there would be no change.  

Yes, God make us 'perfect' in the sense that the brokenness we have is not enough to over come the Image and Likeness in which we are made, nor it our brokenness somehow insurmountable.

Let's not forget the Gospel of John (9:1-12)-

As He walked along, He saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.  We must work the works of him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes,  saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.  The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?”  Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.”  But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”  He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.”  They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

We are all born blind.  We cannot see.  We are broken.  If we say, "God made me this way" and refuse to fight the darkness, then we are prisoners to fate.

God does not want us to argue about who sinned or how we ended up in the mess we are in.  He wants us to understand that if God made us blind, then He can also make us to see.  And, He wants not only to heal us, but to have us be part of this process.  In a way, God wants us to work with Him as we are perfected.  We become co-creators of the very world we are born into.

Yes, we must first accept that we are blind.  In this way, we must be honest and admit that God made us as who we are.  Sometimes that is really annoying, because we think we would be happier if we were perfect, and that is not an unreasonable conclusion.  But, the perfection we seek is not ours by nature.

We must grow towards it.  And so, God made us to grow beyond where we are.  We accept the brokenness in light of the healing that God promises will come.

Some may say, "But, you say that addiction is incurable... where's the healing in that?"  We believe that the fullness of human healing is not in this life.  None of us are 'safe' here.  We are called to continually grow and be healed until our physical death, because the final healing of this life is the Resurrection of All.

This is when we confront that truth that God even made us to die.  But, He did so that we might live in the fullness of Him.

So, "God made me this way" really should mean, "I am a mess right now, but I believe it gets better than this."

2 comments:

  1. I realize that blaming our own problems on others or even God, ultimately leads to our approval of them. We really need to think if the main subject is who's fault it is, or the fact that we have a real problem.

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  2. Beautifully stated. That's a wonderful point, that we become co-creators of this world, working with God so that He may do His work through us.

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