Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God's Gender

In the Bible, God reveals Himself as a He. I trust that He knows what His own gender is. I am aware that not everyone agrees. I have met people who are recovering from abuse who try to think of God as a she or as a neutral it. Their reasoning is that a he of the human race abused them and so they can't relate to any God who would be known as He.

I feel the pain that leads to such reasoning. I was abused by several males. I too struggled with God's maleness for awhile. I had some negative associations with the word father. I wanted to believe that my heavenly Father was different, but I felt fear and doubt. Yet, our Heavenly Father helped me to walk through my associations and feelings and He redeemed His name for me step by step.

I learned that my Heavenly Father is good, kind, and patient. He is honest and just. He cares deeply about our best welfare. He is loving. I learned by reading and believing the Bible. I learned from personal experiences of God's faithfulness and love. Over and over, God showed me how good He is.

One evening almost twenty years ago, I had an amazing experience that added another layer of understanding who God is. I was grieving and I curled up in my ottoman chair and wept quietly. I asked God to help me feel His comforting presence and the next thing I knew I could feel Him literally holding me as if I were a small child on his lap. It was a supernatural experience. I knew I was being held by my Heavenly Father and it was deeply comforting.

I am convinced that accepting God's Word as true and allowing Him to heal our broken hearts and spirits is far more productive than trying to change God's revealed identity to our own liking. Remember Readers, the gender of our abuser(s) is not what led to our abuse. Non-repented sin is the culprit, and sin knows no distinction between the genders.

4 comments:

girlinaglasshouse said...

Tanya

I am glad you posted this. 15 years ago I was teaching a womens study in the inner city and one of the women in the group was an alcoholic prostitute. She had been sexually abused by her father and her step brother as a young girl. She abused herself by prostitution. She could not accept God as Father and wanted me to adjust the language. I told her that He was the perfection of all that was meant to be lovely and loving in the Fathering role. Eventually she came to see Him that way and often said "Until God, I never had a real dad" What healing! What JOy

Bonnie Doran said...

Although the Bible refers often to God as Father, passages in Proverbs personify wisdom (God) as female, and in other passages God tells us his love is like a mother caring for her infant. Whatever word picture we use, it's only adequate for our own understanding of an aspect of God. Our Father is beyond any maleness or femaleness as we understand it. In my opinion.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Thank you for sharing this story, girlinaglasshouse. It brings great joy and healing to experience God as a loving father--the most loving father who has ever been or ever will be!

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for sharing your comment. I am so glad that you feel comfortable to share views that differ from mine.

I know the passages that you refer to. They are beautiful images of aspects of our Lord.

I am particularly swayed in my view by how much Jesus refered to God as his Father and told so many parables that portrayed God as a loving Father, a righteous King, a caring shepherd and a wise farmer. I also really notice how Jesus taught us to pray to "our Father who is in heaven."

I am blessed to know that Jesus himself has prayed for our unity. He knew that Believers would not always see all the details in the same way. I also love thinking about how Paul earnestly prayed for us followers to grow deeper and deeper in knowing God and His love.

I look forward to future comments from you, Bonnie.

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