We have had our fair share of pain this week. From deadly storms and tornadoes, lost loved ones, and deferred dreams, we approach the end of the week with an appreciation for life lifting our bruised spirits.
But recently, a slew of debates arose from the tragedies, trying to rationalize the hurt into a series of politics. In these debates, people lifted their heads to the heavens, waving clenched fists at God while asking: why did this have to happen? As a result, people who believe that this pain was deserved stood up and voiced their unnecessary and scary opinion.
Do we really have people out there like this? People who form a bad theology to justify the hurt? I mean, there were people who were saying that the people in Oklahoma deserved the tornado because of some sin they committed! Why is bad theology a thing?
But then, as I considered that thought, I realized that I was a victim of bad theology earlier this week. When I had been failing in my attempts to raise the money necessary to go to seminary, I started asking myself, “What did I do wrong? Why is God punishing me like this? Did I not pray hard enough about this? What sin did I commit?”
Those were the thoughts in my head. I treated God as if He was this menacing figure in the sky hurling punishments and natural disasters at sinners like myself. I thought I did something wrong and God was punishing me!
But this is bad theology. It sees God as threatening to the cause of humanity because we are so wretched and depraved that God is willing to slay people for the slightest mistake. It promotes a view of God that is constantly on the verge of exploding over sin because the death of His Son on the cross wasn’t enough. That is why this is bad theology.
So where does this bad theology come from? What makes us turn to it? We could say a number of answers like a lack of a good in-depth Scriptural understanding, or failure to live in community, but the answer I’m looking for is pain. In our most desperate and painful condition, we turn to the shoddiest of beliefs in order to move on.
Pain is the fertile ground from which bad theology arises out of. It shakes the ground we stand on by either lifting us up to believe that we could rationalize God, or by tearing us down to believe that we are at fault.
The foundation beneath my firm conviction was rotting from all the bad theology I allowed my mind to believe. I was going back and forth looking for who to blame rather than looking to God for an answer. This is a problem. I spent more time with my bad theology than I did with my solutions.
Pain screws us up. There is no doubt about that. But I encourage you, in the midst of pain, fight to see God as more than the rationalizations of your mind. Fight to see more of yourself! In doing so, you’ll find that your convictions are stronger than you think. Instead of stumbling on shaky ground, fall back on the comfort of our Creator who says He will carry our burdens through the deepest of tragedies. Don’t let bad theology be the result of your pain.
Have you been suffering from bad theology lately? Start a discussion by leaving your reply below.