Love diffuses confrontation instead of meeting it with force

by Craig on August 8, 2011

The God of the Old Testament is so different from the God of the New Testament.source

We hear it all the time. And maybe wonder about ourselves.

The God of the Old Testament is so different from the God of the New Testament.
The thought has been around since near the very beginning of the church, this tension.
So much so that one particularly infamous heretics, Arius, made his own “New Testament”…
deleting any and all references to the Old Testament.

It’s natural to ask the questions:

Had God changed?
Why so full of fire and brimstone – then all full of love?
How can it be the same God who says to clear out the land, and kill all the inhabitants…
and yet say to turn the other cheek.

I’ve thought long and hard on this, for decades.

It’s not God who changed, it’s us.

We operate differently based on time, and situation. I look at my own life and know that the way I love now is far different and better than the way I loved 25 years ago. We grow as we add wisdom and as our experience with God grows us. It’s true on the personal scale – and historical.

I can’t answer this question in one post – maybe nobody knows the answer well enough to try.

Still, I have a thought…

To save the world Israel had to survive throughout the millennia and produce a Messiah at just the right time in the history of the earth – and in just that very spot.

God doesn’t change, people do, customs do…

an unchangeable God deals with constantly changing people, cultures, and their ever changing processes.source

… and so an unchangeable God deals with constantly changing people, cultures, and their ever changing processes.

Abraham represented God in Canaan for years – not only him, but the High Priest of God Most High, Melchizedek. Neither were small figures, both had wealth and respect. In their time the people of Canaan were crude and barbaric. By the time Israel had left Egypt and arrived back there, things were worse.

Is there more than what’s in the pages of the Bible?
Had they all become as evil as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Had they earned Divine judgment?

We don’t know all the answers – but we do know that God does not change – people do.

Somehow Canaan deserved the judgment of God and Israel dispensed it.

Justice is a part of love, it’s not the fluffy part – but it’s an undeniable part.

That’s my best shot at an answer today.

Anyway…

today love kisses theology on the cheek…

and theology, like it or not…

yields.

love-kisses-theology-on-the-cheek-and-theology-like-it-or-not-yields.source

Israel’s wars were national and earthly, ours are mostly individual and spiritual. Today, figurative swords will be brandished, and confrontation will rear its head. I’ll look forward to vanquishing enemies with the sword of love.

Today is for letting other people win.
Today if pushed, I’ll yield.
Today if insulted, I’ll walk away.

Today – all day long – Love will defuse confrontation rather than meeting force with a larger amount of the same.

Today, unless someone draws an actual sword, I will not fight back.

Tomorrow – well maybe I’ll grab a big two handed sword, and some arrows and a bow.

But day I shoot the arrows and wield the sword of love.

no vengeance – I’ll let God handle that,

no anger, just peace whether people like it or not,

no resistance,

no one breaks the shell and makes me angry,

All day – in every instance…

just one day…

just one…

I can do it for just one right?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra August 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Well put Craig. Most of us have wondered about and pondered these same thoughts. And here you have put them into words that evoke more contemplation…
I recently read a post about homosexually today, and the question was presented, “The God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah… does he still feel the same about gays in this generation?” Interesting.

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Deborah, I can’t think of a believer I know who hasn’t wondered about this.Things just seem so different from Old Testament to New Testament – but it’s the same really – justice and mercy. And about Sodom and Gomorrah – I suspect there was a lot more than just sexual sin going on in that place – for there to be not a single good person in the entire city – not ONE. And not perfect – just good! I leave the homosexual debate for another day :-) thank you Debra, and God bless you as always.

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

PS – pardon the ooops – I know you are D-E-B-R-A – and not Deborah – sorry (⌣˛⌣)

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Debbie August 9, 2011 at 12:14 am

I love it when you think and share about deep things. It makes me think too. Today I’m holding on to what you said, about God doesn’t change, people do. :)
God bless you and your day of diffusing confrontation with love! A very lovely and noble thing to do!

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm

thank you Debbie. A God who can change? I really don’t want a God who can change. That means he can change his mind about us. And I know there’s this one part of Scripture where it says, I think, that Moses “changed” God’s mind. And I think that one little verse in Scripture always has to take a backseat to the entirety of Scripture. It may have seemed like God changed his mind to Moses – or was it Abraham – I forget which – maybe I should Google it – don’t have the time. Sorry. But it was one of those guys – and it only looked like a change of mind – earthly viewpoint must look so entirely different than the viewpoint from heaven. And the confrontation with love thing – it was a good day – at least for that :-) God bless you Debbie.

PS – I couldn’t resist – I googled – it was Moses (Ex 34) ;0)

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Michelle August 9, 2011 at 5:40 am

We heard about Arius in church a couple of weeks ago. Our pastor made the comment that we would only have a few pages of the NT if we followed Arius’ teaching.

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Arius! I think pretty good intentioned – but he’s what happens when we deviate in small degrees from the truth – it starts out small and ends up big. We’d probably have more than a few pages of the New Testament left – but the bigger thing was that he actually taught there were to Gods – a God of the Old Testament – and a God of the New Testament. He actually shared a lot of the beliefs that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have now – in many ways the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine is just his old heresy revisited. That’s sad. Anyway – thank you as always Michelle – and God bless and keep you.

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A. August 9, 2011 at 6:19 am

Craig, first, that opening picture is hilarious! Thank you for finding that very apt gem. :) Seriously, I had never considered that people (as a group, series of cultures, etc.) had changed and that God’s responses to those changes made Him appear to have changed. It sounds like sort of a distant cousin of the elephant and the 7 blind men in terms of understanding. I have struggled with this one for years, too, and your thoughts here make the most sense by far to me on this one. I heart your observations.
Also absolutely heart this battle strategy: “Love will defuse confrontation rather than meeting force with a larger amount of the same.”! Stickin’ that good post it on my armor today.

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

and that first picture? That was a hard one to find. And I look at God and how he has had to deal with me in different ways at different times of my life – what he would’ve done with me in year number one is not what he would’ve done to me in year 15 or year 25 of my faith. He remains the same – I change. And don’t get carried away with Post-it notes – they can be pricey – tape and a piece of paper are much cheaper :-) God bless you A.

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Mari August 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Walking away, not fighting back…so like Jesus. And I am so thankful that He doesn’t change, I find so much comfort in that truth!

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Craig August 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Mari, it always makes me smile to see you in the comment section. So thank you for the smile. And Amen – God does not change – I really wouldn’t want a God that changed in any way. I’m glad we have one that doesn’t.I hope all is well – God bless and keep you – and thank you as alwaysツ

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