God has never been the person I came to see him as, when I was under abuse. I came to believe so thoroughly that he was this terrible, awful thing, but he never actually was that person (monster); not at all — not even a little bit. The fourth chapter of First John sticks out like a sore thumb to the believer who has made a serious life pursuit of maintaining obsessive intimacy with the scariest parts of the scariest Scriptures, in the most unhealthy way possible. Here, the author tells us all about what love is, and what it is not.
In my experience, in order to accept these verses and still come out believing in the version of God I learned about during my Evangelical sojourn, you have to get pretty acrobatic with the meanings of words, and so on and so forth. “Love doesn’t mean what you think it means! Love is harsh! Love gets in your face! Love doesn’t care about your feelings!” These words will sound like the ravings of a lunatic to a well-adjusted human being, but these are the kinds of things I mean.
Love is a known quantity, though. It’s something babies need, in order to develop properly. It’s something upon which healthy human psychology hinges completely. And we have it in Scripture that God is so much in tune with it that the words literally say He is it.
These are just the kinds of things that happen in my brain, during coffee.