I Understood My 12-Year-Old Daughters. Lord Help Me.

 

A close friend of mine has frequent close encounters with Satan: She has a 12-year-old daughter.  I have three little girls, who are now 20, 22, and 23.  So I remember.  I understand.  Sort of.  But not really, because I was protected from the worst of it.  My friend shares custody with her ex-husband.  Which makes her situation much more complex than mine.  I’m married to the mother of my children.  Which sounds like no big deal.  But it’s a big deal.

When one of my daughters was 12 years old, she would develop an interest in acne creams and bra shopping.  But she would not develop an interest in directly challenging my sainted wife, who would stomp her into oblivion if she much as looked at her the wrong way.  I don’t remember being a boy, but my wife is still a girl.  Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12-year-old girl.  She can hold her own.  Actually, more than that.

My friend has custody every other weekend, and more on holidays and summers.  But my wife and I were full-time parents.  When one of our angelic daughters hit the horrifyingly horrible hormone stage, it would rage unabated until my angelic (but not stupid) daughter reached the inevitable conclusion:  “I’m going home with this lady.”  They could be horrible, up to a point, but it was best not to cross that line:  “My mother loves me.  Unconditionally.  Well, up to a point.  But after that point, my life will be hell.  My limitless hatred for the world around me cannot match what my mother can produce if she’s in a bad mood.  So I should not encourage her to be in a bad mood.  I’ll just roll my eyes at my Dad.  Much safer.”  Which is why Christians behave differently than Democrats.

Because Christians are sort of angelic, pretty much, most of the time, but we worship a vengeful God.  Democrats are not angelic either, but they worship Santa Claus.  So their boundaries are less clear.

Mothers are loving.  Up to a point.

My daughters know that their Daddy loves them unconditionally, because he doesn’t understand them.  But they also know that their Mommy loves them, pretty much unconditionally, pretty much, even though she does understand them.  My God.

Just that thought would give even the unopposed viciousness of a 12-year-old girl pause.

Unless she thinks she can get away with it.  Unless she is going back to her ‘other house’ in six hours.  Unless her parents split up, giving her the leverage to express her true feelings of hate and destruction.  She can always appeal to the good intentions of her ‘other parents’.  I mean, she’s a 12-year-old girl, for heaven’s sake.  She will avoid reality where she can.  She’s young and hormonal.  She’s not stupid.

None of us like reality.  We avoid it when we can.  We behave accordingly only when we must.  And if we see a way out, we will of course explore that option.  Until we realize that our Mother has already thought of that.  And then we put on appearances of compliance until we find another phony option to explore.  Until our Mother stomps on that, too.  Because she loves us as much as she can, while still understanding us.

The only excuse for atheism that ever made any sense to me was exactly this:  “If there really is an all-knowing, benevolent, loving God, how on earth could he love me?  With all my defects and sin?  How could he love me?

A very reasonable question.

But a better question is this:  Ok, so God loves me.  Ok, let’s just take that as a given.  For the sake of argument.

But why would I return his love, when I could instead simply choose to do whatever I want?  I’m just exploring my options, right?  I mean, up to the point until there are no other options.  Right?  I mean, I’m just growing into my newfound sense of adulthood, right?  I mean, I should explore my limitations, right?  Right?

Well, you wouldn’t, of course.  Not if you understood.  You would only acknowledge the reality of God if you recognized that there was no other choice.  That you could avoid reality up to a certain point, but after that point your life would become a living hell.  The kid who is going to her “other home” in six hours might make different decisions than a kid whose mother puts her to bed every single night of her life.

Just like 12-year-old girls, we all seek our boundaries.  And just like 12-year-old girls, even if those boundaries are made painfully clear to us, we tend to wander over them (sometimes pole-vault over them) from time to time.  Until our Mother (or, Lord help us, our Father) stomps us into oblivion.

I was pained by my friend’s agonizing description of her troubles with Satan her 12-year-old daughter today.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  Her daughter is going back to her Dad’s house.  She really doesn’t have to listen to her Mother if she doesn’t want to.

All she can do is sit back and wait for her daughter to hit rock bottom, and then come running back to her, seeking forgiveness and assistance.  Which her mother, will, of course, offer her.  Of course.

Just like we all do, with God.  I suspect that he gets pretty sick of this.  But for some reason, he continues to put up with it.  When we hit rock bottom, it’s our first time.  It’s not HIS first time.  Rock bottom is a familiar place to Him.  Even if it seems new and exciting to us.

Because he still loves unconditionally.  Even though he’s seen this before.  Even though he understands us.  My God.

Love is hard to understand.  I certainly don’t understand that level of love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I certainly don’t understand that level of love.  I try.  But I don’t understand.  Neither do you, I suspect.

I love my daughters.  It was a little rough, for a while.  But I knew they’d come back.  At least, I hoped that they would.

And since my sainted wife would allow them to wander only so far, they didn’t have quite so far to come back.

My friend can’t control how far her daughter wanders, since she lacks control, after her divorce.  Her daughter can wander farther now, back to her “other home”.  Which means she will have farther to come back.  Presuming that she eventually decides to do so.

I can’t imagine how frustrated my friend must be.  Or how frustrated my God must be.

I try to wander only so far.  But gosh, it’s hard.

I mean well.  I really do.  But some urges are difficult to resist, sometimes.

Sometimes, my wife didn’t seem to understand our 12-year-old daughters.  I suspect that she did.  But sometimes, she didn’t seem to understand them.  Or rather, she didn’t appear to try to understand them.

I did.

Which wasn’t always helpful.  But I’m not God.  And I’m not a Mother.

We do the best we can.

We seek our boundaries.

But we do the best we can.  Pretty much.  Most of the time.  Overall.

My God loves me.

Why, I don’t know.  I really don’t.

But my God loves me.


Dr. Bastiat with his Mom in 1969.

I miss my Mom.


Glory be to God.

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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Dr. Bastiat:

    Which is why Christians behave differently than Democrats. 

    Because Christians are sort of angelic, pretty much, most of the time, but we worship a vengeful God.  Democrats are not angelic either, but they worship Santa Claus.  So their boundaries are less clear. 

    Beautifully put.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    “I don’t remember being a boy, but my wife is still a girl.  Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12 year old girl.  She can hold her own.  Actually, more than that.”

    Doc, you definitely do have a way with words!

    Another of your very insightful posts… I sometimes wonder how you find time to do your doctoring.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Parents should understand that their children should not learn every life lesson through direct experience. My wife never considered herself our daughter’s best friend, nor our son’s best friend for that matter. They paid-off their student loans and they are self-sufficient. Now the relationship has changed, but unless they ask us for advice, we don’t offer them advice and we do not micro-manage their lives.

    Thanks for another great essay.

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Anyone remember what Boss Mongo used to call one of his daughters? I believe it was Demonspawn or something like that. 

    Two things:

    1. I miss the boss.
    2. Stories like this one and the ones Boss used to tell make me glad I had three sons.

    Come to think of it, 

    3. My sons all have daughters, and only daughters. All I have to do is watch. This will be fun.

    • #5
  6. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I believe Gd gives us teenagers so we get a taste of what He has to go through. 

    • #6
  7. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Anyone remember what Boss Mongo used to call one of his daughters? I believe it was Demonspawn or something like that.

    Two things:

    1. I miss the boss.
    2. Stories like this one and the ones Boss used to tell make me glad I had three sons.

    Come to think of it,

    3. My sons all have daughters, and only daughters. All I have to do is watch. This will be fun.

    I miss Boss Mongo, too.

    There can be drama raising girls but I was spared the drama. I had numerous separations from them when I was in the AF. The oldest endured my months in Saudi, the year long remote I had to Korea, and both daughters endured my year away in Honduras. Then I had long hours in my last assignment. They have always acted like it was a treat to be with us, and still do. I don’t know how my husband did it, was a single parent and Air Force officer during all those long separations. He was a saint, still is. I can sympathize but can’t relate to the struggles the mom in Dr Bastiat’s post. It must be hard for her. If the kids treat her wrong, then they are missing out on an opportunity for a great relationship with her. I lost my mom when I was only 27. I can’t imagine wasting a single day one has with one’s mom. There aren’t enough of them.

    • #7
  8. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Another great one Dr. B. Similar experience to Doug and SeaW. Only one daughter and two relatively lazy boys.  Both sons have done OK and are independent.  The daughter was something else.  The mom had conflicts because she did not know she helped raise a workaholic. Now a finance type and doing great with a big house in Nashville that we just got to camp in.  No interest in marriage or kids but not gay.  So no workacholic grandkids. I think we will survive. 

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    What a lovely picture of your mother with you. 

    • #9
  10. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Another great post, doc. Mother’s Day Baptist sermon worthy, right , @saintaugustine? The first part reminds me of a Sinbad skit when he talks about how much a mom can take before she “goes off” on you. Your friend sounds like she’s going through what my friend did years ago after she and her husband divorced. The son wasn’t a cake walk, but the daughter was terror. It’s still a dicey relationship, at best, and she’s grown with her own daughter. Sad, really. I hope your friend and her daughter can have a good relationship in the end. 

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Anyone remember what Boss Mongo used to call one of his daughters? I believe it was Demonspawn or something like that.

    Two things:

    1. I miss the boss.
    2. Stories like this one and the ones Boss used to tell make me glad I had three sons.

    Come to think of it,

    3. My sons all have daughters, and only daughters. All I have to do is watch. This will be fun.

    OTOH, I’m glad we only had three daughters.  I know how much trouble boys are because I remember all the details of all the trouble I got into growing up . . .

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Red Herring (View Comment):
    I miss Boss Mongo, too.

    I’m still stunned by the suddeness of his passing . . .

    • #12
  13. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Dr. Bastiat: I’m married to the mother of my children.  Which sounds like no big deal.  But it’s a big deal.

    So big a deal that society struggles/frays/collapses when very many children don’t have that.

    { Wonderful exposition on the why of that. }

    Dr. Bastiat: Glory be to God.

    For He is Good, always and everywhere.  Even when we don’t understand.

     

    Thanks, Doc.  Great post.

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Dr. Bastiat: Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12 year old girl.  She can hold her own.  Actually, more than that.

    Good lord. Where did this come from? Holy cow.

    I have to assume you didn’t have much time to spend with your daughters when they were twelve.

    Middle school girls are wonderful to be around.  They are neither vicious nor savage.

    • #14
  15. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12 year old girl. She can hold her own. Actually, more than that.

    Good lord. Where did this come from? Holy cow.

    I can’t get this ridiculous sentence out of my head. What a terrible thing to say.

     

     

    Sorry about that.  But in my experience, 12 year old girls can be vicious.  My wife could fight fire with fire.

    Strangely, when my girls were under 11, or over 13, they were wonderful human beings.  They still are.

    But for about a year, each of them was just vicious.  Particularly to each other.  

    We we very thankful when the youngest hit 13.

    Again, I’m sorry if I offended you, Marci.  That was not my intention.  You know me well enough to know that. 

    But Lordy – if you had met one of my daughters at 12 years old, you’d understand what I was trying to describe.  It was rough.

    • #15
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12 year old girl. She can hold her own. Actually, more than that.

    Good lord. Where did this come from? Holy cow.

    I have to assume you didn’t have much time to spend with your daughters when they were twelve.

    Middle school girls are wonderful to be around. They are neither vicious nor savage.

    Everything is genetic. We are wretched captives in a prison of flesh and DNA. 

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: Which means she is still capable of the same level of viciousness and savagery as, heavens forfend, a 12 year old girl. She can hold her own. Actually, more than that.

    Good lord. Where did this come from? Holy cow.

    I can’t get this ridiculous sentence out of my head. What a terrible thing to say.

     

     

    Sorry about that. But in my experience, 12 year old girls can be vicious. My wife could fight fire with fire.

    Strangely, when my girls were under 11, or over 13, they were wonderful human beings. They still are.

    But for about a year, each of them was just vicious. Particularly to each other.

    We we very thankful when the youngest hit 13.

    Again, I’m sorry if I offended you, Marci. That was not my intention. You know me well enough to know that.

    But Lordy – if you had met one of my daughters at 12 years old, you’d understand what I was trying to describe. It was rough.

    I’m not offended. But you’ve startled my inner defense attorney awake, for sure. :-) 

     

    • #17
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat:

     

     

    Sorry about that. But in my experience, 12 year old girls can be vicious. My wife could fight fire with fire.

    Strangely, when my girls were under 11, or over 13, they were wonderful human beings. They still are.

    But for about a year, each of them was just vicious. Particularly to each other.

    We we very thankful when the youngest hit 13.

    Again, I’m sorry if I offended you, Marci. That was not my intention. You know me well enough to know that.

    But Lordy – if you had met one of my daughters at 12 years old, you’d understand what I was trying to describe. It was rough.

    I’m not offended. But you’ve startled my inner defense attorney awake, for sure. :-)

     

    Why do we want to preserve the human race as it is?

    Imagine that a genius scientist secretly abducted children and medically altered them to make them violent, cruel and obsessed with sex. When the police arrested this person and asked him why he did such a bizarre thing, he responded that he wanted the children to breed with each other as soon as possible. He also treated the boys the and girls quite differently. The boys he made to be violent so they could kill off other boys in order to mate with girls. Furthermore, he made the girls cruel so they would ridicule and bully other girls to keep them away from mating with boys.

    After the children were rescued, there was a lot of charity given to the victims and various therapists volunteered pro bono to help them. But the children never recovered from the horrible experimentation. The boys had a strong predilection towards violence until their mid thirties and the girls were always self-conscious about their appearance because the boys were made to be obsessed with looks. The girls also went crazy when they got old and nobody was interested in looking at them.

    Trump tweeted that the mad scientist should be prosecuted in a state with the death penalty and the mainstream media in a singular moment of tact didn’t fight him on it because it was obviously an overwhelmingly popular opinion (I wrote this story before the MSM decided that MS13 were godly) True-crime podcasts got way into the horrible details of the case and saw an unusual upsurge in their listeners. The Ricochetti of course had the most intelligent discussions on the subject.

    What was the mad scientist’s name? …

     

     

     

     

     

    His name is puberty. And his victims are almost every human being that lives past 12.

    What would be considered the grossest and most extreme kind of child abuse is considered normal because we are currently powerless to stop it.

     

    • #18
  19. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    I’m waiting impatiently for this to be promoted to the Main Feed, so I can send it to my Pastor.  No, he doesn’t need it.  It’s just a wonderful expression of who God is, and who we are.  

    • #19
  20. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    I’m waiting impatiently for this to be promoted to the Main Feed, so I can send it to my Pastor. No, he doesn’t need it. It’s just a wonderful expression of who God is, and who we are.

    What a nice thing to say!  Thank you!

    And I’d be very interested in your Pastor’s perspective on this essay…

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    I’m waiting impatiently for this to be promoted to the Main Feed, so I can send it to my Pastor. No, he doesn’t need it. It’s just a wonderful expression of who God is, and who we are.

    Pretty sure he’ll have quite a different take than I do. But thankfully Ricochet celebrates diversity of opinion. Please ask him why G-d designed us to be so cruel on my behalf. I’d like to know his answer.

    • #21
  22. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Percival (View Comment):

    Yes!!!

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    But in my experience, 12 year old girls can be vicious.  My wife could fight fire with fire.

    Strangely, when my girls were under 11, or over 13, they were wonderful human beings.  They still are.

    But for about a year, each of them was just vicious.  Particularly to each other. 

    I don’t have kids, but I was once a 12-year-old girl, and you are correct. I was most often on the receiving end of the viciousness. It still makes me cringe, 36 years later. I wouldn’t go back to age 12 for any amount of money.

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    But in my experience, 12 year old girls can be vicious. My wife could fight fire with fire.

    Strangely, when my girls were under 11, or over 13, they were wonderful human beings. They still are.

    But for about a year, each of them was just vicious. Particularly to each other.

    I don’t have kids, but I was once a 12-year-old girl, and you are correct. I was most often on the receiving end of the viciousness. It still makes me cringe, 36 years later. I wouldn’t go back to age 12 for any amount of money.

    That is sad to hear. I was babysitting a lot at that age, and my daughters were readers and writers and musicians. My oldest commandeered my home office that year and wrote a 200-page novel while she listened to Beethoven CDs. My younger daughter at that age was working at the MSPCA comforting the animals.

    I wonder if the world of children’s sports is very competitive and if that accounted for some of the issues. I was involved in the school music programs–my oldest was a flutist and my younger daughter was a violinist. Those kids, in my experience, tend to be very focused on their music and their other studies. There’s no time for the social life the other kids have. Frankly, they are shy and tend to socialize poorly anyway. That’s one reason I like the school music programs. The kids gain some social confidence.

    Perhaps that experience has skewed my impression of those years. The middle school years were the best years of my mother life. :-) Watching the kids learn new things at that age was exciting every day.

    I would imagine conflict among kids is situational most of the time. They are nervous for other reasons, and irritable, and that tension comes out unpleasantly from time to time.

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Just to add to comment 24: I don’t want to make it sound as if my family was abnormally friction free. It wasn’t at all. My kids were usually embroiled in a chronic low-level conflict of some sort. There were a couple of years in early college when they stopped talking to each other. Before that they ran up a ridiculous $400 bill with AT&T because they were talking so much, so long, and so often. :-) The middle school years were actually pretty good, all things considered. :-) My son was often a pest with a great sense of humor his sisters didn’t appreciate sometimes. When my second daughter was in middle school and my son was in elementary school, he carefully wrote “Carrie loves Michael” on the inside cover of her notebook so when she opened it at the lunch table, quite a few kids saw it. :-) Too funny. 

    • #25
  26. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Just to add to comment 24: I don’t want to make it sound as if my family was abnormally friction free. It wasn’t at all.

    Exactly.  Just like I wasn’t trying to suggest that Christians are all psychopaths.

    I was just using adolescent girls as a metaphor that a mostly harmless, even wonderful person like my little girl can sometimes do inexplicably nasty things to others, just like Christians can sometimes do inexplicably non-Christian things to others.  And our mothers and our God love us anyway, although I’m sure they shake their head from time to time.  And they can sometimes do more than that.  Because they understand us.  Lord help us.

    It’s a sloppy metaphor.  Perhaps I could’ve used more editing and less bourbon.

    Nah.  

    That’s no fun…

    • #26
  27. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Pretty sure he’ll have quite a different take than I do. But thankfully Ricochet celebrates diversity of opinion. Please ask him why G-d designed us to be so cruel on my behalf. I’d like to know his answer.

    He didn’t.  What he did do was to create Man with free will.  I see it as Him wanting to have creatures who loved and worshiped Him, not because that was what they were created to do, as the angels, but because they wanted to, of their own free will.  But that requires that the creature be given the ability to choose between loving and not loving.  So the potential for cruelty had to be present.  And Man made the choice.  Enter the Old Testament, account after account of His people honoring him, falling away, suffering terribly, being called back, over and over. Actually, it becomes abundantly clear that God’s love, and His provision for those who love Him, can, if Man were to allow it,  permeate the world.  Take it away, and men do, indeed become terrible, cruel beasts.  The history of the entire world bears witness to that, too.  More and more, the world is choosing the latter, and the outcome is proving to be the same as ever.  

    Why did He do that?  Well, enter my favorite line from “Fiddler on the Roof:” Tevye: “I’ll tell . . . I don’t know.”  But there’s a lot I don’t know.  There’s so much I don’t know, can’t know, that it’s humbling, even humiliating.  Elijah had the audacity to ask God that question.  Well, God answered him:  

     4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?    Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
        Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    6 On what were its footings set,
        or who laid its cornerstone—
    7 while the morning stars sang together
        and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

    Job 38:4-7, New International Version You don’t have to accept that argument.  You have the free will to do that, too.

     

    • #27
  28. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Pretty sure he’ll have quite a different take than I do. But thankfully Ricochet celebrates diversity of opinion. Please ask him why G-d designed us to be so cruel on my behalf. I’d like to know his answer.

    He didn’t. What he did do was to create Man with free will. I see it as Him wanting to have creatures who loved and worshiped Him, not because that was what they were created to do, as the angels, but because they wanted to, of their own free will. But that requires that the creature be given the ability to choose between loving and not loving. So the potential for cruelty had to be present. And Man made the choice. Enter the Old Testament, account after account of His people honoring him, falling away, suffering terribly, being called back, over and over. Actually, it becomes abundantly clear that God’s love, and His provision for those who love Him, can, if Man were to allow it, permeate the world. Take it away, and men do, indeed become terrible, cruel beasts. The history of the entire world bears witness to that, too. More and more, the world is choosing the latter, and the outcome is proving to be the same as ever.

    Why did He do that? Well, enter my favorite line from “Fiddler on the Roof:” Tevye: “I’ll tell . . . I don’t know.” But there’s a lot I don’t know. There’s so much I don’t know, can’t know, that it’s humbling, even humiliating. Elijah had the audacity to ask God that question. Well, God answered him:

    4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
    7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

    Job 38:4-7, New International Version You don’t have to accept that argument. You have the free will to do that, too.

     

    Just a great meditation, @Quietpi. Thank you!

    • #28
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Pretty sure he’ll have quite a different take than I do. But thankfully Ricochet celebrates diversity of opinion. Please ask him why G-d designed us to be so cruel on my behalf. I’d like to know his answer.

    He didn’t. What he did do was to create Man with free will. I see it as Him wanting to have creatures who loved and worshiped Him, not because that was what they were created to do, as the angels, but because they wanted to, of their own free will. But that requires that the creature be given the ability to choose between loving and not loving. So the potential for cruelty had to be present. And Man made the choice. Enter the Old Testament, account after account of His people honoring him, falling away, suffering terribly, being called back, over and over. Actually, it becomes abundantly clear that God’s love, and His provision for those who love Him, can, if Man were to allow it, permeate the world. Take it away, and men do, indeed become terrible, cruel beasts. The history of the entire world bears witness to that, too. More and more, the world is choosing the latter, and the outcome is proving to be the same as ever.

    Why did He do that? Well, enter my favorite line from “Fiddler on the Roof:” Tevye: “I’ll tell . . . I don’t know.” But there’s a lot I don’t know. There’s so much I don’t know, can’t know, that it’s humbling, even humiliating. Elijah had the audacity to ask God that question. Well, God answered him:

    4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
    7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

    Job 38:4-7, New International Version You don’t have to accept that argument. You have the free will to do that, too.

     

    Just a great meditation, @ Quietpi. Thank you!

    Job’s a good book. One of the best.

    • #29
  30. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Percival (View Comment):
    Job’s a good book. One of the best.

    Indeed.  Right now my morning Bible study group is studying Jeremiah.  We’re doing it on my suggestion, because, at least to me, the world he was living in is so similar to ours, and his message is so fitting – and downright scary, that I thought it a good idea.  Now I’m finding it so depressing that Mrs. Quietpi suggested that maybe I should sit this one out.  

    No.  She’ll just have to put up with me moping around in a bad mood for the next few hours.

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