What’s Love Got to Do:
I never realized how warped my view of God’s love was until last week. I thought I was over that “stage.” That stage of learning that God’s love is always good, trustworthy, perfect, patient, kind and not insisting on its own way. I thought I’d been challenged in understanding that God’s love was different than my love, or the love of ex-boyfriends, parents, step-dads, and friends. No matter how good or bad, it is not God’s love.
Being able to image Christ’s love is a privilege; it’s an honor. But we can hardly fathom God’s love completely, let alone show it perfectly, which can make things complicated for some of us.
I’m currently reading through William P. Young’s The Shack (such a good read for anyone who has dealt with grief that has challenged their perspective … of anything, but especially of God. And with all of the tragedy happening lately, I’m sure it’s not a stretch for many of us). But, in light of this, one quote has really stuck out to me – “Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions.”
In other words, what we believe deep down helps us to form what we think to be true about a given situation. And while emotions can be a beautiful gift, adding color and depth to life, they can also make things dark and bleak very quickly.
I’ve been reminded recently how easy it is to believe one thing to be true … because I want it to be true. Because all of my experiences have told me that it must be true the way that I see it.
I saw things, I saw people, and I saw God one way, and I wouldn’t let God show me otherwise.
I have had times of being mad at God for not stepping in and saving me from making choices I regret. I’ve been mad that He didn’t step in before Eve took a bite of that apple and handed it to Adam. I’ve been mad that He has loved His Creation enough to give it, to give us, the very independence we ask for. I was mad because surely I would never have asked for such a thing…
Can you say arrogance? Don’t worry; I’ll say it for you (talking about myself of course).
I stepped into the role of judge. I judged The Judge. That’s a pretty horrific realization. But we are pretty fickle and fragile as humans. We can be so lost in our own perception of reality or so sure of our own judgments and it only takes the briefest moment, the quickest sight, or one word to alter our perception for much longer than the circumstance itself – as does stepping away from the Truth itself.
If we are not careful to be on guard, what we hear and see can manifest itself in our heart and mind.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23
My heart has not always been watched over very well; sometimes we can’t help what happens to us, but for me, I know I have not watched over my own very well, either. My view of love has been distorted because of the love I’ve seen and the love I’ve chosen.
People always leave, so God must too, right? Can’t trust people, must be a reflection of God!
WRONG. So, so, wrong, dear sister! Just because we believe something firmly doesn’t make it true.
“Be willing to re-examine what you believe. The more you live in the truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly. But even then, you don’t want to trust them more than Me.” – The Shack
God is so gracious to us, He even gives us an example of this in Acts 10. In verses 10-16, Peter, a Jew, followed the Law of Moses and did not eat any animal that was “unclean.” Then the Lord gave Peter a vision:
“And Peter became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.”
Peter was so adamant about what he believed that he would not even hear from THE LORD. The Lord had to call him out on this not once, not twice, but THREE times!
We’re human. We are not immune to having deep rooted, passionate beliefs, but let us lean in and listen when He’s talking. He is a gracious God; He may even repeat it a fourth time for you.
And about those things that we could not control that may have happened to us – the good news? God is in the business of restoring and redeeming what sin destroys. But for the freedom we do have – let’s protect the hearts He’s given us and let our Jesus shape our world; don’t let the world shape our Jesus.