Read this phrase to yourself: "I Love You."
- Now say it to yourself as if it was someone who really loves and cares for you.
- Ok, now say it to yourself as if it was someone you casually know as a friend.
- One last time. Now say it to yourself as if it was someone that you can't stand or your worst enemy.
Did the meaning of the words change as the person you envisioned saying it changed?
You said the exact same phrase right?
The only difference was the voice of the person saying it, but it totally changed the meaning and/or sincerity in which you felt those words. You can't expect to feel the same way when your wife tells you she "loves you" and when Osama bin Laden tells you the same thing!
My mind and heart will instantly detect the genuineness and sincerity in my wife's words and the sarcasm and deceit in the words of a mass murderer.
However…sometimes this works against us too.
Take e-mail for instance.
Do you ever find that when you read an e-mail you add all kinds of attitude and sassafras to their words so that by the time you’re done reading it you pretty much want to punch the person in the face? I mean throw an emoticon in there at least would ya! But then when you actually talk to the person about the e-mail you find out they intended it to be far less caustic than the voices in your head made it sound.
I find that those same voices in my head mess with my relationship with God too.
Depending on what you've been taught or heard about God, I' sure you have a perception of what you think He is like. Some people have the view that God is angry and a grumpy old man on a cloud. So even when they hear that God "Loves them" they do so with a bitter taste in their mouth and doubt that it could be true.
Others of us have this idea that God is always puppies and ponies and all He intends for us is to be healthy and wealthy. As if God were a genie in a bottle and if we say the right prayer and sing the right songs money will fall out of the skies into our cubicle at work. Then when it doesn't happen and we drive home in our 1984 Ford Taurus with only 3 of the 4 doors still attached we feel God has let us down.
The voices in our heads that tell us what we think God is like cloud our judgment so much that we never really investigate what He really is like.
Now I don’t' have enough space to describe the complexity of who God really is, and frankly I wouldn't do Him justice if I tried. So maybe I can just pose a few questions and let you take it from here.
- What if what you thought about God was as inaccurate as the e-mail you read from your friend?
- What if you have been saying the words "I Love You" with the wrong image of who is saying it?
- What if the voices in your head are wrong?
So I'll encourage you just as I encouraged myself. Read the Bible and find out who the REAL God is and not who you've made Him out to be. I've found out He is way more loving, merciful, graceful, and amazing than I could imagine.