How to build faith in God through our emotional injuries
Mary: In order to connect to God, I’m going to need to be brave enough to grieve these feelings inside of me.
And also remember that the whole of humanity has them, so you’re also going to have to brave enough to confront the whole of humanity in the process, and their opposition to you dealing with these feelings.
Mary: So where does faith fall into this equation? Where do I decide to trust a different truth? Because the emotional truth is that I believe these things about God to some degree, although maybe not everything on your list. So where does my faith enter, or my trust?
The big problem we have is if we have these emotional beliefs about God, then how are we ever going to have a relationship with God?
There’s a big problem and then secondly, well if these emotions are within me already, how do I ever have the faith that these are not true? Because the feeling that I have is all of these things are true. The feeling I have inside of myself is that, “It is true that God’s cruel, and it is true that God doesn’t care and it is true that God’s wrathful and punishing. And it is true the only person that I can rely on is myself and if it were true, why would I want to connect with a God who’s just a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – WHY WE RESIST GOD JESUS (AJ MILLER)
cruel, punishing, wrathful person? I’d rather just rebel against God and do my own thing. And it is true that while I have all these gender based emotional beliefs that are imposed on God, well God’s not doing anything about that either. God’s not correcting us; God’s not showing to the world that God is different to this.” These are all feelings generally that are present in most people.
So when all these feelings are present, what do we do with them? Like how do we have faith that God is different to that? That’s a pretty good question, isn’t it? Because you’re going to at least have to have some faith that God’s different than that before you try to address these emotions. Because if you look at these issues from purely pragmatic perspectives, in our day to day life, how many times have you been able to truly rely on another individual for your life? Truly! Now you ask the average person that, “In stressful situations with every single person who’s around you, how many people have you actually been able to rely on, other than yourself?”
Now for many people, they’d have to honestly say zero. And for most people who don’t say zero, it’s very rare that it’s any more than five in their entire life. Now that understandably, from a pragmatic point of view, tends to indicate that, “I should rely on myself, that’s the only person I can rely on to look out for me.” And from a pragmatic perspective, “How can I change my mind on that issue? I’ve got no proof I can rely on anybody else, my whole life seems to be proof in the opposite direction to that.”
Then we look at this issue of a God who doesn’t care or is punishing, and we ask ourselves questions about what’s happening in the world. How many times have you seen something in the course of one day that you believe was totally unfair? Now for most people they’d have to answer that yes, pretty much every day of their life they observe something that they believe is totally unfair. ]
Now if God created this system of things, that means God is okay with it being unfair. Does it not? So I’m getting a feeling that God’s unfair. So what’s my pragmatic feeling associated with that? It’s, “God is unfair. I don’t see any proof otherwise. So how can I have faith when I don’t see any proof otherwise?” It’s very hard. So this is why the average person gives up the whole emotional reflection upon all of these subjects because it becomes very, very difficult. Then they look at this whole thing of God meeting my addictions. How many times have you, in very, very difficult times of your life, prayed to God for something to occur in a positive direction and it never has? Have all of you experienced that at some point?
Mary: In the teenage romance we talked about yesterday – that he would come back and love me.
So oftentimes we have all of these so called prayers that we have towards God, where we’ll long and long and long for something to happen. But it doesn’t happen. You think of how many people who are religious who are involved in war that prays in that way. Or who have been involved in the results of war, for instance people coming through and raping and pillaging the countryside. They pray for God to keep them safe and it doesn’t appear like God keeps them safe and they die, or they get raped, or they get hurt in some way. So when we look at that from a pragmatic perspective, and we go, “Yeah, God’s not doing anything there either, so how can I have any faith that God’s anything different or even exists, if God doesn’t do all these things?” Like you exist and you want to do something about it, even if you don’t feel like you have the power to do it. And therefore if God really wanted to do something about it, you feel that God should, but it
appears like God either doesn’t want to, doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist, as a result of these thing occurring.
If we’re honest with ourselves, that’s usually where we go emotionally. What I’m saying is that, yes, all of those belief systems are all present within us, and they’re all present within us because of what has happened to us in our life because
of what we believe is the lack of response from God. As a result of that, it’s very, very difficult for us to engage a conversation about what God is really like, because we already have established through what we see happening in the world what God appears to be and so therefore we accept that. So does that sound pretty negative? Yep? That’s good.
So the question Mary asked is how can we have some faith that God is different to that? Now, the question then becomes, well how does faith get established? I have given a talk called “Relationship with God – Faith” some time ago and we talked about faith and how it gets established. It can only get established through some actual event occurring that gives you the faith. There has to be some proof before faith can develop, but you have to engage the possibility of proof. What I RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – WHY WE RESIST GOD JESUS (AJ MILLER)
mean by that is we have to allow for the fact that we might be wrong and that all of these things that we think, and all of these things that have happened to us, might have an alternative reason.