The Love of God
Just was wondering after your sermon on the love of God, how can he, being such a loving God, let so much misery be in the world, i.e.: child abuse. B/c these children are brought into this world as victims of abuse... living with it all their lives? Also if God loves everyone. How can this love flow over to these abusers?
What a tough question you asked! Still, I understand these questions. They come up in my heart also. There are many things that "don't seem fair" in this life. You mentioned one little aspect (though not at all a little issue) of the many aspects where such like questions can be stirred up. The list is endless (hungering children, dying of AIDS, living and dying without hearing the Gospel etc.). Naturally, when we look at these things from our "human perspective" then the question you asked seem so right. Years ago someone asked the question from the other side: how come there is so much good in this world? Let's face it, in many lives the good outweighs the evil things in life (or did I grow up in too limited a circle!?) Yet nobody seems to sincerely question that aspect of our reality but almost take it for granted. However, in the light of the sin and rebellion which fills this world, isn't that actually a greater wonder. I know that doesn't really answer the question as yet, but it does bring in another angle to the our thinking. The Lord's tender mercies are multiplied to such a larger extent than His acts of justice in this life. The prophet Habakkuk begged the Lord to "remember mercy in His wrath." (Hab. 3:2) The Lord is doing that. His acts of mercies outweigh His acts of righteous and holy displeasure. He is a long-suffering God which means that He, humanly speaking, will suffers long before He acts. God doesn't love "abusers" or even "sinners" but He loves His creatures. That sounds like the same and yet I think it is different. He hates sin; is angry with the sinner everyday and will punish any sinner who doesn't repent from his or her sin with punishment, in this life and the after-this-life. Still He cares and loves in His general love all His creatures. I can be livid with my child when he or she does something abominable yet I love my child intensely though I will never approve or condone bad behavior. I will punish it severely if it is necessary. The Almighty acts like this in perfection where we as humans may ultimately totally fail as sometimes parents can't say anymore that they love their own misbehaving or rebellious children.
When it comes to all the suffering, and especially such suffering which is imposed by adults upon children or those in power pon the weak and poor, it is easy to question God's ways. Why would He allow an adult to mess up a boy or girl through sexual abuse? Indeed, such an abused person often is too weak to resist perpetual abuse and even may marry an abuser or become an abuser. The cycle seems so endless and the question so natural, "Why doesn't the Lord of love stop this or prevent this?"
Is it because He is justly punishing this creation for rejecting Him? We tend to forget that this world is cursed because of our rebellion in Paradise. We are living in a world which *we *have destroyed and we continue to destroy through sin. God's judgments are revealed against sin and one way His anger is revealed is that He allows people to sin. In Romans 1:18ff Paul indicates that the Roman society is so lewd and evil because God gave them over to do such things after they have rejected the obvious. It is His act of justice gives a society over like this. So ultimately we are to be blamed for causing our own problems. Our sins also affect our children and those around us. Does that mean that He is neutral to such actions? Far from it! His displeasure and His anger will be felt by those who have committed sin and in His way He will visit their iniquities upon them. If not in this life, it will be in the after-this-life.
God sometimes allows sins to bring out a greater good. He permitted Adam and Eve by His decree to sin. Yet it formed the occasion for Him to reveal His greatest glory in the love of the gift of His Son. Could He have thought out a different way? Paul confronted such reasoning or questions with "Nay but, O man, who are thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20) God can use the terrible pain of abuse to bring a person to Himself. I know a few cases where such pain has been blessed spiritually. Without pain we will ignore the dangers we are in and isn't that also true spiritually. In no way does that make the evil of abuse any less; never must we lean toward minimizing the evil of certain deeds by the good that comes out of it. Yet there are people who "bless the Lord for the affliction He send them or allowed to take place" for it was His way of teaching them.Your last question isn't very clear (How can this love flow over to these abusers?). I assume you meant "How are we to show love to these abusers?" then my answer is by 1) confronting them with their horrific sins (Luke 17:3) and 2) if he or she repents, we need to show forgiveness in word and deed. God pardons sinners and put their sin away. He will never forget it but He doesn't dwell on it anymore; He cast those sins into the ocean of His love. It is very difficult for us to do that, especially in cases of abuse. Still, the only way to heal the abuser is to lead him or her to the cross and to show that love in our own actions. Many abused continue to harbor hatred and anger. Does that help? It continues "abuse" in a different form and makes for bitterness. It doesn't resolve anything. Therefore the Lord directs us in His Scripture to deal with it and to pray for the exercise of love. These are some of the initial thoughts I like to share upon your questions. Feel free to respond with other questions.