The Christian Tsundere

I previously likened God to a yandere. This time I am likening Christians to a tsundere, a real tsundere, or at least an actually well-written tsundere. I previously alluded to “real” tsunderes being far better than the average achetype we get nowadays, but let’s go a bit more in depth as we explore this comparsion. While not a requirement to the archetype, many tsundere start off with a bad relationship. Like people who do not yet know God or have had bad experiences, they reject everything about their partner and refuse to acknowledge them as equals let alone as potential love interests. However, the comparison only begins once people become interested in Christianity and forming a relationship with God. It is here that people reach an unfamiliar territory and struggle with how to approach this new relationship. From a mixture of pride and embarrassment, tsundere find it hard to admit their true feelings. In a similar way, it is hard for us to acknowledge that we are not in control of our lives, and that we must follow God completely. It is important to remember here and throughout that this is a comparison of Christian believers. Non-Christians are not tsundere for God (though you could make an argument for that based on the “new definition” of tsundere), and thus it is important to keep this analogy in reference to yourself and not impose it on others.

A tsundere is most well known for her abuse of the person she actually likes. It is repetitive to the point of annoyance and no matter how much she apologizes for it, she always seems to fall back into the same habits. While the abuse can vary from simply ignoring the person to something as absurd as violent rampaging that you would only ever see in anime, this repetition can grow to be quite annoying to viewers and is no doubt a reason for the archetype’s negative image. But as you might have already guessed by now, this repetition of hurting the one you claim to love is very reminiscent of how Christians treat God. Even though we have chosen to follow God, there is no one who ceases to sin. We continue to sin again and again; no matter how much time passes, we seem to only be able to stumble yet again. It’s a very repetitive and tiresome process. This constant sinning against God despite claiming that we regret and don’t want to is very similar to the tsundere who always reacts so cruelly despite being in love.

Tsundere_Nanase

One thing to understand, however, is that while a tsundere constantly hurts the target of her affection, a tsundere also constantly hates herself for this. This is so important and one of the most misunderstood aspects (or rather, most skipped over aspects in writing) of a tsundere because a true tsundere is able to acknowledge her true feelings but is unable to act in accordance with it. More than a cycle of repetitive actions as a result of bad writing, a well written tsundere expresses frustration at herself for this very characteristic. She seeks to overcome her own selfishness and harshness and act according to her true feelings, but for some reason it never goes right and the cycle repeats. The frustration at herself for harming the person she likes is indeed just like how we treat God. This is the same repetitive and sometimes frustrating cycle of the life of a tsundere.

 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

These are truly the words of a tsundere in context of our relationship with God. Our sin makes us so tsundere for God, and the progress of our relationship is to eliminate that sin so we can follow and love Him completely. But like a tsundere who can never get herself to behave in the way she wants to, we continue to sin against God, even though we reprimand ourselves for doing it.

What’s more is that in the really well written stories, the guy understands this. He gets that she’s impulsively making mistakes that don’t reflect her heart, and thus the relationship is one where the two work together to overcome the tsundere’s inability to be true to her heart. Of course, nowadays, all the male MCs are dense idiots who can’t recognize their own harem, which is yet another frustration I have to deal with. But I think it’s a really great story and example when it’s not about the tsundere conveying her feelings but rather about the couple working together to help the tsundere become the kind of partner she wants to be. In a similar way, our relationship with God is like this. God already understands our hearts perfectly; He knows how much we love Him even when we make mistakes. He understands the difference between someone who sins without remorse and someone who regretfully sins and while He desires to help both, not everyone is willing to accept His help. But a real tsundere, like Christians, will accept help from God because if you violently reject help, you are just being tsun without the dere.

The relationship of a tsundere and her partner, much like the relationship we have with God, is not one-sided.  It is often suggested that a problem with Christianity is that we are “allowed” to sin as much as we want and God will always forgive us, that there is no reason to stop our sinful actions if the forgiveness is endless. However, like a tsundere who is frustrated at herself for being dishonest, we should be frustrated at ourselves whenever we sin against God. This is because despite our actions, we love God, and we want to obey Him, even though we continuously fail to show it. A one sided relationship where the tsundere shamelessly abuses the guy she “likes” is the same as one where the Christian sins with the shameless expectation for forgiveness. Thus, these new, commonplace tsundere who do nothing but hurt their partner with little to no remorse, who have made me so frustrated with today’s perception of the archetype, are too similar to the Christians who view God’s grace and forgiveness as a loophole in the system rather than a sign of love to respond to.

The greatest romance story with a tsundere is all too similar to the walk of a Christian’s life with God. It is not about a girl who, after episodes of abuse, finally changes her mind and confesses. It is, or should be, about a girl who struggles greatly with showing her partner the love she wants to. It is about someone whose pride and embarrassment gets in the way of her very own goal. It is about a slow but steady transformation into a person who can freely and honestly express their love to another. Seeing a tsundere finally go full dere is not supposed to be a switch that ends the story but the accumulation of a beautiful growth in character. So next time you sin for the nth time, remember your frustration at the tsundere archetype, because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Vice versa, the next time you see another textbook tsundere, let it remind you of your walk with God. Are you still being the person who fails to appreciate God’s boundless love and forgiveness, abusing his love while calling yourself a follower of Christ? Or are you making slow but steady progress toward a stage in the relationship where you can proudly say you love God and know your actions reflect it? Regardless of where you are in your life with God, the one thing that won’t change is that you are a tsundere for God

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