Parenting and when I most identify with, but still don't agree with, Old Testament God
from a less violent time
The closest I get to understanding "Old Testament God" (as I perceive him, anyway. i.e., as a pretty violent and angry dude) is when my girls intentionally hurt each other. It inspires this irrational rage inside of me. My mind goes directly to a worse-case scenario. Yes, nobody was seriously hurt when my child pushed her sister. But what if she pushed her down the stairs? or the Grand Canyon? (Yeah. I told you it was irrational).
For example, yesterday a child of mine kicked another child of mine in the face. I mean, really. What is that? Pulling hair, I get that. Even pushing. That makes sense to me. But kicking in the face? I just. I can't even with that mess.
And I get that they each have a very immature pre-frontal cortex. They don't have the executive functioning skills to deal with these overwhelming emotions. My pre-frontal cortex, on the other hand, is the one that is (in theory, any way) fully developed. And yet who is the one that will, ultimately, lose it most epically? Mommy. Mommy will. Mommy will lose it in a way that the whole, entire neighborhood will hear (mostly because the front door was open, but whatevs.)
That is kind of how I feel about God. He's the one with all the skills and the perfectness. And yet he loses it. Epically. Many times in the OT.
And yet, here is where God and I part ways.
Even though (as much as I HATE to admit it) there is a part of me that wants to pick up the guilty child and take out all my irrational rage on her tiny, little body, I would never, NEVER, never do that. I am ashamed of myself for even screaming like I did. Because I know that terrifies her (and accomplishes nothing else). But I would never in a million years think that a great way to teach that "violence is bad" is by using more violence. In the words of Audre Lorde, "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change." Violence will never destroy violence. And in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Right now, two oddly parallel things I am struggling with is: learning how to respond with love when every fiber of my being is screaming with crazy rage; and trying to understand how the Old Testament seems to be full of God being a hot mess of doing the exact opposite, and I'm supposed to some how be okay with that and worship Him anyway? I don't know...