It’s the difference between me taking advantage of you by stealing, coercing, deceiving, or otherwise using you against your will or without your informed consent; or you lovingly offering me some service just because I need it, and you choose to provide it simply out of love for neighbor. The former is of Hell, the latter of Heaven. Christ (and the entire God-head identity that we now know through Christ) always and forever has been one of those things and never the other, even if early on (especially prior to Christ’s revelation) it sometimes seemed (and was even reported as if) God did evil.
I know there have sometimes been benevolent instances of patriarchy or matriarchy and heirarchy generally through history. We certainly have a need for order. But any humans in possession of excessive power over others (and it’s historically been men most often) have a dismal history of showcasing its evil nature. The well has been so thoroughly poisoned that it takes down anything that associates with it - including Christianity.
I’ve started in on Frederick Douglass’ “Narrative of the Life of…” and in the foreward to that work, Scott Williamson writes (of Sophia Auld, the wife of the slave owner who ‘owned’ Douglass):
She was a …
…warm and caring woman who was injured by slavery no less deeply than Douglass himself. Auld was reprimanded by her husband for teaching young Frederick how to read along with their son, Tommy. Douglass wrote that Sophia Auld was “a pious, warm, and tenderhearted woman. There was no sorrow or suffering for which she had not a tear. She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities.”
Her husband, Mr. Auld had become a Christian, and Douglass had hoped it would make him a less cruel man. It increased his cruelty. The verdict was in: When Christianity comes into contact with institutions of power, like slavery, it is the corrupt power that most often survives, leaving in its wake an empty religion bereft of any goodness or decency that it might ever have had. Wide is the road to perdition and many are those who trod it.
May we each be brought to want to pursue (and be pursued by) the God of Christ instead.