Not a trigger... If it is, uh-oh. Come back later and read again... .. seriously.

From a posting of about a month ago, one of members of the site just expressed his views on the questioning of the existence of God. It is the age old question that men of faith have asked for millennia. I understand his question. I understand his frustration. Simply put, I understand. Most of us do understand.

One of the responses he received was the following:

"If you live your life, true to God, then you will indeed reap the rewards, that you deserve." I don't remember who said this, etc., and it is irrelevant. The thread had advanced into 13 or 14 pages... so...

Never do I step into a debate regarding God or spiritual matters, one way or the other. But I feel compelled to share my feelings regarding this one posters struggles and views.

If this is true... reaping the rewards we deserve... are we to assume that the rewards of CSA and ASA are just and willful punishment handed down from a spiritual level? I will assume that is a no. Hopefully, it is a no.

I will take it to a personal level for ME ONLY. Therefore, no one should feel threatened by the thoughts I share. I - as in ME - only in my thoughts- could not have deserved to have been molested, then raped, at the age of 4 and 5. Or the ensuing years and not at 13 and 14 and continuing. And not at 50 - just ain't no way a good man who does good things in life - deserves to have his reward to be sexually and physically assaulted. Ain't no way. And, just for the record, I no longer question, "why me?" I have come to realize, I could have also died-

Come, if you will, to the early part of my middle age... say around 40. At the age of 21, I was baptized... in a creek.. none the less. How old fashioned is that? Almost 20 yrs later, I was a church deacon in a well-known denomination. A standard of middle American society. Helping the weak, the elderly, doing the family thing, giving to the poor, and stepping up and talking about the abuse in church and on and on..... even my career of choice was one of helping others. AND I was a Sunday School teacher along with my spouse... I believed it all and did the perfectly molded thing to do.

... I was doing good and believing good....the whole family was doing the work set before us.

And so what was the reward. One of the most horrific cancers came to claim the spouse. The manifestation of the brains cells into a malignancy in the grey matter destroyed all semblance of sanity. Behavior, emotion, everything...changed. This was not the reward one would expect for loving and working and doing good on a spiritual nature. It was a nightmare that continued for years and years. And then one day it was over.

It was as horrible for me- worse for my boys- and doubly worse for the wife... she eventually realized how the tumor had changed her and what had taken place i the family... and then of course the tumors returned. And she eventually died- blind, unable to speak, knowing not me, the children, her family or friends- and totally out of touch with reality. It was again, the saddest experience.. well, you get the picture... . It was not a just reward for a life well spent.

I say this just to point out that the love of God is not so easily black and white. I myself am not angry with God. I had my moment when I finally acknowledged the inner anger, then it was over. It was during this almost decade of dealing with the spouse and her cancered behavior that my spiritual gifts became their most keen. Just incredible. And at the end of this phase of life's journey that I witnessed the spiritual events that changed my perception of traditional, in-the-church, from pulpit to pew, view of God and all things spiritual.

I won't go into how I have changed. But on a spiritual level, I have. My belief has just intensified.

I just want to say again and again that not always are our rewards in line with how we live or what we believe. They just aren't. They just ARE NOT. Most of how I view things of the spiritual nature are pulled from the Bible because that is my most readily available source of information to help explain what I have experienced. Most of the Bible is "good stuff" when it is used to love and accept and teach and learn.

To all of us, I urge compassion. True, honest, heart-felt compassion. Be not readily available to use the Bible to underscore your opinions. The world itself is full of various beliefs and experiences and groups.

Another quick posting that I choose not to copy and paste stated that without this narrow inclusion of God (as per this belief) we are left with a life of condemnation and shame and guilt and deservedly so.

No. A thousand times no. Calmly, peacefully, lovingly, I am telling you no. We are created for love in our lives. To receive the love of the Christ, the God. To receive the love of our fellows in this world and on this journey. The shame and the guilt is given to us by those that have abused us- the abusers. It is bestowed upon us by our families. It is even given to us by our churches or our synagogues or ... even our government.

It should never be given to us by believers and followers of the teachings of Christ.

And yes, I am different now. How wonderfully awesome for me. Some will pause and say, "hmmm. Food for thought." Others will say, "yeah, but look at his open admittance of his now sexuality". It's all okay with me. The goodness of God is around me, about me, a part of me. And yes, I even pray again.

I wish you nothing but love and faith and many, many blessings... and a moment to ponder the words I shared. I probably rambled a bit, so forgive me on that.

b
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For now we see through a glass, darkly.