Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Skewed Misunderstandings

How do you see God? How does God see you? Read this great piece by Sean Norris at Liberate
What is our “view” of God?  What do we think about him?  The flipside of that is: How do you think he views you?  What does God think about you?  The more I talk to people where I am and listen to what is said at our Bible studies and our 12 Step meetings the more I am convinced: a completely skewed view of God is at the center of so much of our struggle as humans. We simply do not see him correctly, and as a result we have no idea how he sees us.  Our skewed view of God has completely messed up both our view of each other and of ourselves.
More often than not I hear people describe God in one of two ways.  First, I hear that he is distant.  He is hard to get in touch with.  I have heard statements like, “I don’t even know if he is listening.”  Or, “I pray and pray, but he does not answer.”  So, he’s hard to reach and he’s kind of inactive, at least insofar as it affects my actual life.  He’s probably doing something, but he is certainly not doing anything for me.
The interesting contradictory view that is often held simultaneously is that God is actually very active and involved when it comes to punishment. I’ll often hear things like, “What have I done to deserve this?” So, the implication is that when we need him to help or to answer our pleas he’s passive, but when we screw up he’s right there to let me have it, to judge me and punish me.
These two somewhat contradictory views form the foundation of our skewed understanding of God.  I don’t think you have to work too hard, either, to see the implicit declaration about how we think God sees us within these views.  He doesn’t care about me when I need him, but when I screw up he sure seems to care: he’s happy to judge me and punish me.  He mildly tolerates us until we really mess up, then it’s curtains.  I wonder if you have ever thought this way about God.  I wonder if there is something in your life right now that you wish he would help you with.  I wonder if there is something in your life right now that has gone wrong that you attribute to his judgment of you......
.....Judgment for sin is real.  It is tragic and uncompromising.  That is the nature of the law.  It is unflinching and absolute…until Jesus.  The law sees sin and condemns it.  In Judah they broke the covenant, so they are sinners and deserve punishment.  But God breaks that ever-so-tight formula in the work of Jesus.  Jesus becomes our sin for us.  He comes down to earth and takes on our frail humanity and says, “Your sin is mine.  Your guilt is mine.  I am going to the cross to deal with the condemnation of the law against your sin once and for all.  I am going to suffer the exile from God for you, so that you don’t ever have to.  I am going to finish the work that is required to set you free forever.”  And he does, and he did.  With his last breaths on the cross he proclaimed, “It is finished.”  Then on the third day he rose from the dead, showing us that the final exile of death will be brought to an end, and we will live forever.
You are loved beyond your own comprehension.  Jesus Christ has called you His own and has bought you with his own blood.  You are worth dying for.  This is who God really is, and this is how he really sees you.