God is Not a Scapegoat

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed a common attitude of, “Ugh, God made this happen to me!” among people who are only recently making an effort to practice their faith without a genuine understanding of who God is. For example, there are some people with whom I went on a Catholic leadership retreat back in 2013, and I have been informally contacting these few via email for quite some time. Usually, these emails are like a follow up detailing those things that have been going on in our spiritual and secular lives. While the emails don't always contain content which seems to blame God for their problems, I've occasionally seen messages along the lines of, “I was frustrated with God because of (insert stupid teenager problem).” Don't get me wrong, I am not criticizing or judging these people; plus, I've been guilty of such things in my personal experience since I returned to Catholicism in 2012, so I can testify to blaming God for things. I think not understanding how God actually works makes one's vulnerability to this temptation worse.

Don't worry, though: all Christians, whether they're teenagers who just converted back to God after a mountain-top encounter with Christ on a retreat or if they're the elderly church ladies with much wisdom, are prone to frailties like unto this. It's part of the human nature as a result of original sin. 

A good example that I can use to show how God isn't someone to blame for our problems comes from an episode of the PBS television series Father Brown, a new series based on the same character created by G.K. Chesterton. In this one particular episode, based on The Hammer of God, a man was bludgeoned upside the head with a blacksmith's hammer, and this man happened to be the brother of the local Anglican clergyman. First, the blacksmith's wife turned herself in so that he, who had a fight with the murder victim shortly before his death, wouldn't have to face hanging. It was later revealed in the episode that it was actually the clergyman who killed his own brother. His motive for murder stemmed from his learning about his brother's homosexual behavior; he believed that God wouldn't forgive homosexual sins. As the clergyman was being convicted by Father Brown, he kept saying that it was part of what God had planned, and that God would be the judge of all in the end; then Father Brown angrily shouted at him, “God is not a scapegoat!” Those words led the clergyman to turn himself in.

Using this story as the backbone of my point, I would like now to express the point: you don't blame God for the things that go wrong in life, whether it's your own personal life, or the problems of the whole world. 

God may allow certain things in our lives so He can use them to draw us closer to Him, or prepare us for something greater in the future; He is not a greedy, laughing ogre sitting in the sky, making bad things happen to us at His pleasure. Plainly and simply, the idea that God is a hateful dictator completely contradicts what the Church teaches about Him.

I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations.
— Psalm 89:1

The psalmist writes of the Lord's steadfast love. God loves you, and He would never do anything to you that cause you pain and sorrow. He is always with you, walking next to you. If all seems dark, it is God closing His hand around you: a call to trust in Him.