‘God Abuse’

I had promised to share on what I term ‘God Abuse’. Yes, you read that perfectly, ‘God Abuse’.  Now I can imagine some confusion. I know we are accustomed to child abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, elder abuse, sexual abuse and all the many sorts of abuses, and my thought is to share with us a slow bellied monster that is eating into us all so fast, we often do not even realise it.

Let us begin with the definition of ‘abuse’. This means to abnormally use; to use wrongly or improperly and to refuse the original use of a product, person or system and deploy it to something else. So, when a child who is supposed to be nurtured and nourished is left to the streets to fend for him/herself or is mistreated and used as a sex object, we say the child is being abused. This has nothing to do with the capacity of the product, so for instance, the fact that a child is able to bring in huge sales volumes does not make it right to make a child engage in road side sales.

Do you know we abuse God too? In the way we treat Him. In the way we pay him attention only when things go wrong and ignore him otherwise. In the way we sin in His face and cheekily think that we can always ask for forgiveness? For many of us, He is like our insurance policy, our back up plan. Oh, how we abuse this loving father and through His tears and grief, He wonders if He cannot just reap where He has sown. He invested in us through the death of His son, for if He did not spare His son, what more wouldn’t He give? Yet, again and again, we scorn Him…worst of all, for those of us who claim to be believers, we abuse him by our disobedience; we abuse him by our inconsistency; like He cannot see or reason. This has nothing to do with His capacity, He is more than able, but it does not permit us to treat Him as poorly as some of us do.


I have a picture in my mind of a loving father with two sons. Now, one of the sons spends quality time with their dad and just enjoys His company. Naturally, more wisdom is passed on between them because he gets to just share with his dad what he is going through and the son with time can almost anticipate His dad’s response. The other son says hello to dad out of duty, spends almost no personal time with his dad and besides bearing his dad’s last name has not much more in common with him. As a dutiful dad, their dad will pay bills for both of them, his name will likely open doors for both of them, so this is not about capacity but the first son will enjoy the best of the relationship, his father will go ‘all the way’ for him.

In the parable upon which today’s thought is based, in Matthew 21:33-44, the landowner made all the necessary preparations so that the vineyard would be successful. He “put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower” (vs. 33). Thus, the renters could not excuse their poor behavior by saying that it was they who did all the work to make the vineyard successful. No, it was the Lord, the landowner in the parable, who did the work that would guarantee prosperity for the vineyard. Isn’t that quite reflective of our lives? God gives us grace and all things we need to make a success of the vineyard which is our lives and He expects to reap fruit in season.

Like the parable says, the patience of God is (to put it coarsely) quite absurd, in that He gives us opportunity to repent far beyond what we deserve. His absurd patience is due to His great love for us, and His desire that none of us perish. But the actions of the tenants are also quite absurd, and that reflects us. Do we consider the consequences of our actions? Don’t we see that we are at risk? ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time’” (vs. 41).

Jesus says, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. We must be careful not to fall into the same trap. This is a call to us to obey the whole commandment of God, (Eccl 12:13) – to fear God and keep His commandments. We have stepped away from this duty and made God all sorts of things in our lives, neglecting what He really is. Can we just go back? Back to the feet of the cross, where we re-enact the relationship of children to their father and to build a relationship with Him likewise? Can we stop abusing Him day in and day out? Come to think of it, even human donors feel ‘donor fatigue’ after a while. Like I expressed in my last post, I just have a deep desire to attain a level of relationship with God where I anticipate His needs and meet them. Where He seeks what He will do for me vs. one where I just have a ‘give me, give me mentality’ viz an abusive relationship with Him and am seeking Him only for what He can do and offer me.

May God give us all the grace to do what brings Him pleasure.


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  1. Wow! Such strong words. Time for sober reflection, i can think of several times when i have been involved in ‘God Abuse’ and simply excused myself by saying that God understands. Thank you for this post. God bless you and continually anoint you to share as you do. This was very timely for me.

  2. I love the analogy with the dad and his 2 sons, you know sometimes when I go to a friend for comfort and she directs me to a scripture that calms me I wonder ‘how did she know that verse and that it was the answer to my problem’, well I got the answer in the analogy and so I say my prayer again, Grace lord for me, I want to have a deeper relationship with you.
    For some reason I am just seeing this post. I was lost in thought this evening about how sad it is that it takes some unfortunate event or loss of another life for me to take stock of my Christian life…not that I never do it, but when bad things happen its my first reaction, and the thoughts were just so disturbing and I remembered there was a new post on peace…..came on to read it and landed on ‘God abuse’, need I say more?
    Thank you for ministering to me.

    1. Thanks Mosi, I truly appreciate your comment and the candour expressed therein. I share your desire to just enjoy a deepness of relationship with God where like the second son, we can truly carry more than His name, carry His heart. The more i consider it, the more i realise that there is no better place to be in than in that place of truly knowing God, not His ways, not His acts. God help us! Amen…

  3. you know as I was reading something struck me.

    When we tell ourselves “God understands” it’s most likely we know we are in disobedience. If not that thought would not even come up.

    May we receive the grace to have a balanced and fruitful relationship with Him.

    In the end we are better for it.

    bless you.

    1. Thanks Maxx. I truly agree with you. We are either in disobedience or unsure. But I’ve found that if we defer to the Holy Spirit as we should, such grey areas become fewer. Another things we do is assume because God keeps blessing us that He is well pleased with us. God help us to find grace and have a balanced and fruitful relationship with Him. Thanks for your comment. God bless you

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