Broken human relationships, misunderstandings of scripture, and misinterpretations of circumstances all lead us to faulty perceptions of God.
I remember when my cousin first introduced that thought to me when we prayed together. She prayed that Jesus would help us see him as he was, not as we imagined him to be. At that point, it had never occurred to me that Jesus was anything other than how I imagined him.
But thank goodness he is!
I had believed some pretty nasty lies about God as a result of misreading the Bible and misinterpreting my circumstances. I saw Jesus walking through the gospels having compassion on people and healing them left and right– but not healing me, no matter how I prayed for it.
This led me to put on some spiritual sunglasses and believe a lie about God.
I began to believe that Jesus didn’t love me. It would be years before community, honesty, Bible study, and prayer would slip those glasses off so I could see the truth. [Related Post: Would I Pick Pain?] [Related Post: The Day Pain Lost Its Power Over Me]
Our relationships, misunderstandings, and circumstances tint our view of God, making him appear other than he really is. This is dangerous, especially when we don’t realize we’re wearing these glasses.
When we wear sunglasses, we perceive the world other than it really is. There are rose-colored glasses, yellow-tinted glasses, super dark tinted glasses, and more. They each filter reality through their tint. They each taint our view of the scene.
In a similar way, our relationships, misunderstandings, and circumstances tint, or taint, our view of God. These false views keep us from experiencing rest, joy, peace, and fullness in our relationship with him.
It’s hard to have peace when you think he’s watching for you to mess up.
It’s hard to be joyful when you believe the lie that he doesn’t love you.
It’s hard to feel full in your relationship with him when you’re sure he’s distant.
It’s hard to rest in his presence when you think he’s smoldering in anger.
Fixing our Faulty Perceptions
You want out? You don’t want to be trapped in faulty perceptions anymore? There’s some really good news. Jesus doesn’t want us trapped in these false views either.
It is possible get rid of our faulty spiritual sunglasses and see God as he is. To do so, we live in community, study the Bible, pray, and hear truth. These will have the most impact when they overlap and intermingle with each other.
Living in community can effectively take off our spiritual sunglasses if we have honest conversations about how we see Jesus. It is possible (though pointless) to hide our true selves from our community. When we are honest and vulnerable, that’s when the healing begins.[Related Post: It Hurts to be Vulnerable, But I Will]
Bible study is twofold. First we must study the Bible on our own, just us and God. But then we need to have conversations about it. This lets us explore the ideas further and engage in conversation that may challenge our misreadings.[Related Post: My Misunderstanding About Jesus’ Words]
Through prayer we regularly talk and listen to God. It is an avenue to be honest to him about what we think of him. This invites God to challenge and remedy our misinterpretations, misreadings, and faulty perceptions.[Related Post: What They Never Told Me About Prayer (and I had to learn on my own)]
Listening to others teach truth is another way to learn what our faulty perceptions are and how to remedy them. To hear truth, listen to sermons, attend group Bible studies, or simply engage in conversation with other Christians.[Related Post: Urgency and the Book of Revelation]
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