I've been struggling with this issue/question for a long, long time. And now in the last couple weeks with the topic of anger, you've hit the nail on the head and I have to ask the question that has been unanswerable for me..."why do I hate god, but love Jesus?"
Backstory: I grew up in a very conservative single mom home. I was "saved" when I was 7 at an after school bible study. I was an only child. Mom was very strict with structured rules. We went to Baptist church every Sunday. I hated it. Rules were shoved down my throat. I started skipping Sunday School with my friends. As soon as I could, I quit going altogether.
Fast forward to my 30s...married, and husband dies in tragic accident 6 years later. Long-time grieving, many mistakes as a single person. Couple long term relationships, nothing works out. No children. No family. Alone.
I've blamed God for all of this.
However, I've stumbled on to Medical Mission work and it has become my passion for the past 9-10 years. Thru this I have come to see thru Jesus'eyes...and this is my mission for life...is to live like Jesus, to serve like Jesus in this way. Ever since this humbling, eye-opening moment of compassion and empathy for my fellow man I have been unable to reconcile these 2 emotions. I have been to counseling and to pastors - still without a satisfactory answer.
I have begged and pleaded in my prayers/talks to (?god?) to help me understand in some way what this means and how to reconcile it?... I have no answer...and this just further serves to frustrate me. It feels like he is toying with me, playing games.
Can you provide any insight?
Thank you so much for your question and I apologize for the delayed response.
There are a few things to comment on in your question. First, let me just say that I admire the fact that you are honest with your feelings toward God. A lot of the time, as “good” Christians, we think that we are somehow bad for feeling animosity towards God, so we stuff those emotions and let the resentment build out of sight. It is good to have these feelings out in the light where we can see them and deal with them. So good job!
Second, and more to the point, God does not just put us through suffering to be mean to us. He is a God of love, and everything He does is out of that place. The hard truth is that life is hard and we will go through trials such as you have described. Jesus says in John 16:33 that in this world, we will have tribulation (or trouble), but to take heart because He has overcome the world. God did not cause the trouble - sin and this fallen world did. But, in His love, He has created a way to make things right, both in our lives now (salvation through faith) and at the end of time when Jesus will return and renew the world, putting everything back into place as God intended. In the meantime, there will be pain and suffering that we face. But God promises to use this suffering to both our betterment and His glory (Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4, James 1:12).
Third, there is something to be said about when we feel like God has it out for us. I believe that this feeling comes on us not from God, but from earthly things, most likely the intentional or unintentional consequences of other people’s actions. For example, if someone has grown up in a church that is very shaming of people who struggle with sin, or has grown up with a father who always expects perfection in order to earn his love, or has some other relationship from the past that has shaped our view of what people in authority think of us, we sometimes place that on a false version of “God.” And since that version of “God” doesn’t think we are good enough, we go through life assuming God has it out for us. As I mentioned before, this comes on a lot with people or things that have authority over us, and unconsciously we have placed their feelings onto God. It is usually not a thing we know we are doing, so if that is true of you, don’t feel shame about that. But recognizing that, and then turning to God’s word to find what the real God thinks of you, can really help battle those feelings of God having it out for you.
Fourth, this feeling of loving Jesus but hating God is understandable when thinking of them as separate beings, but in reality, they are one and the same. Jesus is God and God is Jesus. Nothing Jesus did was out of character of God and nothing God does will be out of character of Jesus. How we perceive them can sometimes be different just because of how we grew up learning about them, but there is no difference in their character because they are just different manifestations of the same God. They never contradict each other. God is love and came to the earth in the form of the man, Jesus, to show that love to us in a spectacular way. And since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever there is no reason to think that God is some vengeful being full of malice and Jesus is the loving part. They are one and the same.
So, I hope this helps some in your understanding. And again, I just want to commend you for owning these feelings. Questions like this are great in furthering our understanding of who God is and what He intends for us. My encouragement to you is to keep digging into the Word and finding out who the real God is and how much He loves you. The things that have happened to you in your life are awful, and I have great compassion for you, as does God. He did not allow these things to happen to you in vain. He will redeem them and use them for His glory, which is our ultimate purpose on this earth.
Thanks for reaching out and please let me know if you have any more questions. I also hope that God blesses you and your work in the medical missions world. That is no easy task and the good people in that work are heroes in my mind! God bless!
The "Good Questions" blog is a place where some of the really good questions people email into the church can be shared with everyone, along with Jordan Burgen's response. Jordan Burgen is the Content & Theology Pastor here at Flatirons, so he answers a lot of the emails sent in to us. To ask a question (about anything, really), please fill out a contact form here or email Jordan directly at