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When Psalms Go Bad

We can be honest here; sometimes, the Bible has some really bad theology. And the Psalms are right there for it.

Example: Psalm 137 ends this way;

Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us.

Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

Psalm 137:8–9 NIV11

Yikes.

What's going on here is that the writer is in captivity and being asked to sing joyful songs by his captors. He's being taunted, and he lashes out in his mind, thinking about all the terrible things he'd like to do to them.

That's real. Maybe you've even felt that before.

But it's not good.

Or true.

Or holy.

It's just honest.

And the beauty of the psalms is that they invite us to be honest with everything we feel not because God agrees with us, (hint God doesn't) but because our anger and frustration with the world can only be transformed into motivation and hope to change things after it has been given voice.

So, be honest — rage against the machine when you need to. But don't stay there too long.

Continually Forgotten

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