John Prine is an incredible artist, writer, musician. He has a song called The Other Side of Town that features a guy (he jokingly says is not autobiographical) that mentally checks out when his wife goes on nagging a bit too long. So he is physically sitting there and going through the motions while he is “actually” on the other side of town waiting for the lashing to be over.
It’s funny because it’s true, and we all want to laugh and say “Man, it would be horrible if that was me” while we realize that…it’s all of us. Don’t you remember doing this when you were a kid and your mom or dad went ballistic on you when you didn’t do your chores (or lit the kitchen on fire or cheated on your homework)? This “dissociation” is simply a survival technique we’ve mastered, engaging our auto-pilot without even realizing it.
As a teacher and preacher it’s a stark reality that a good portion of folks sitting in the auditorium or classroom are doing this exact thing….and that I am doing it to God. When I see him as a nagging parent who is utterly disgusted with me, my actions and my heart as he sits on his pedestal wagging his finger at me, I go to the other side of town until he’s done, at which point I will “assume the body of the person you presume who cares.”
But I have it all wrong. Actually, I have it absolutely and utterly REVERSED! Because of Jesus’ sacrificial gift of life on the cross, the Father is completely SATISFIED with me. Yet I am the one that casts stones at him, putting onto him a scowling brow that no longer exists. I tell God that it’s not cool to “hurt someone who’s so in love with you.” He then says that this is exactly what I have done to Him; what we’ve all done. But then he did the impossible because…“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)”
God is not nagging you. He wants life for us, and then for us to live out of our new lives in worship and glory. He is utterly satisfied, so come out of that chair behind your ears and rejoin your body at the kitchen table with your Abba Father and enjoy a sweet meal together.