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Text For The Month / Monatsspruch

Texts for the months of October and November 2015
Monatssprüche für Oktober und November 2015

 

Oktober 2015

Haben wir Gutes empfangen von Gott und sollten das Böse nicht auch annehmen? Hiob 2,10

Ein schwerer Satz. Hiob sagt ihn zu seiner Frau nachdem er allen Besitz, seine Kinder und seine Gesundheit verloren hat. Auch wenn das Buch Hiob wahrscheinlich eher eine philosophische Betrachtung und nicht ein Tatsachenbericht ist, graust einen die Geschichte und es fällt nicht leicht, so stoisch zu bleiben wie Hiob.

Das ganze Buch Hiob ringt mit der Frage, woher das Böse in der Welt kommt. Warum läßt Gott das zu? Ich habe keine Antwort auf dieses Warum. Auch Hiob bekommt keine klare Antwort. Seine Frau schlägt vor, sich von Gott abzuwenden und zu sterben, seine Freunde wollen Gottes Ehre schützen und Hiob einreden, er hätte sich schuldig gemacht. Er solle seine Sünde bekennen und dann wird alles wieder gut. Hiob will von allem nichts wissen. Er hält auch im Leid an Gott fest, aber auch an seiner Unschuld. Nach langem Ringen erscheint ihm Gott und gibt ihm einerseits Recht gegenüber seinen Freunden und andererseits zeigt er ihm, wieviel größer Gott ist: Für mich bedeutet das – man kann Gott nicht mit unseren Kategorien begreifen.

Unsere Idee von Gerechtigkeit greift nicht immer. Das sieht man auch in der Passionsgeschichte. Jesus leidet so unschuldig, wie wir uns in unserem Leiden oft fühlen. Er hatte es sicher nicht verdient. Gerade da ist Gott uns nahe, dass er selbst ungerechtes Leiden erträgt. Christus hat das Böse angenommen. Wir Christen sagen, er hat damit am Kreuz unsere Schuld weggenommen, damit es Vergebung für uns gibt. Diesen Tausch von unserer Bosheit für seine Unschuld kann ich nicht ganz begreifen. Aber ich will darauf vertrauen, dass Gott mir meine Fehler nicht Ewigkeiten nachträgt.

Wenn ich Vergebung erwarten kann, dann fällt es mir auch leichter, anderen zu vergeben und deren Böses zu ertragen. Das heisst nicht, dass ich nicht leide, aber ich muss mich nicht im Leiden festbeissen und kann hoffentlich Hassgefühle vermeiden. Ich kann das Böse, das mir geschieht, hinnehmen und weitergehen ohne selbst böse zu werden. Ich weiss auch, dass nach Jahren vielleicht sogar wieder Gutes daraus wird. So endet auch das Buch Hiob.

 

 

 

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Dale Carnegie

 

 

 

November 2015

Be merciful to those who doubt. Jude 22

I am tempted to say: Be merciful to everyone. Or do you know anyone who never doubted? Those who doubt – that is not someone else, it is you and me (if you are the exemption to this, I would start to fear for you). God gave us brains to use them. That is what makes us individuals.

Some brainwashed people may suppress their doubts, but look into the history books, where that leads: It was not good for the people who followed the Nazis and it is not good for followers of IS in Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately it also affects everybody around them. In the middle ages we had the Holy Inquisition. It started as an act of mercy to help doubters find the truth. It then turned into a rigid system of dictating one kind of truth at all costs. The mercy got lost in the torture chamber because someone in authority claimed to know the way. I wonder whether those at the top believed it themselves or whether they just wanted absolute power over the people.

Doubt can be good for us. If we are travelling in unknown territory it is very sensible to have a look at the map or ask a local person should we be unsure about how to go on. Ignoring our doubt might take us further away from our destination.

If we get told things, that do not sound quite right to us, it is good to be sceptical. Better check the facts, if you can. Young children sometimes tell fibs like “Yes, I brushed my teeth” or “No, I did not make that mess”. It is not very likely if the toothbrush is still dry or they are the only other person in the flat and you are sure you did not do it yourself. If it cannot be verified there is room for the benefit of the doubt, so they may get away with it. This is another good use for doubt: to avoid punishing the innocent.

Similarly in religion doubt has its place beside faith. We are thinking beings. God would not have given us the ability to use our brains if he did not want us to use them. If there is a God, that is. I for myself have come to the conclusion that there is no way to prove or disprove his existence. But we can contemplate and discuss what people and books tell us about him, should we find ourselves inexplicably in the believers’ camp.

We can try to make sense of what looks like contradictions. When I read in the Bible that the risen Christ “appeared” like a ghost in closed rooms after Easter and then he eats fish (Luke 24.36-43) I see it as an attempt to tell us that the new life after death has a different reality that cannot be grasped with categories from our worldly experience.

We can try to understand Christ’s teachings and to translate them into the language and actions of our times. Just how literal did he really mean it when he said “turn the other cheek also” (Matthew 5.39)? I think it has to be balanced, otherwise a Christian could not become a policeman or soldier. Imagine the police come onto the scene of a murder and tell the culprit “Now kill me, too”. I doubt very much that the teaching meant to go to that extreme. But on the other hand when it comes to “Sell everything you have and give to the poor” I might be right to doubt my reluctance to take that too literal. How much do I dare to take that seriously? I recognise it to be a good ideal if everyone did it, but should I be the first to do so?

Doubts could be bad if we would not trust anyone or anything. Imagine a marriage without trust. But the absence of doubt would make us a ping-pong ball for anyone who likes to order us about. It would seriously limit our thinking, our search for the right way and the right thing to do in this life. Therefore: Be merciful to those who doubt. Every now and then you probably will be one of them.

Udo Bauer

 

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