I suppose if we view God as the cruel cop in the sky, we will interpret world events through that lens, and everything becomes a traumatic punishment for not measuring up. We’ll see ourselves as pee-ons, who work for a taskmaster that keeps a record of all our wrongs. We’ll become a workforce, seeing to it that everyone performs their mission because we are primarily doers and we must fill our lives with activity or the Commander will yell at us for being lazy. We’ll call ourselves unworthy sinners and hopeless hypocrites, even though Jesus won for us a new identity of saints and dreamers, kings and miracle-workers. We’ll continually think nothing of ourselves even though God thinks everything of us. The cross becomes a religion, not a display of love that opened up the door to a new bloodline – rest, worth, freedom, fun, adventure, heaven’s very own culture entering into our veins. Doctrine becomes a boring display of rules, a heartless dissertation trying to prove we are right.
The lens with which you view everything – about yourself, about the world, about eternity, about the past – is colored by how you view God. If you think He is like Spock – emotionless, know-it-all, untouchable – you will read the book of Jeremiah and conclude that He is not a people person, is mostly disappointed in everyone’s lives, is waiting for us to just get it right for once, and is ready to smite us for one tiny mistake. If you view Him as strict Bible School teacher you will read the book of Job and conclude that He never wants to be questioned or interacted with, and doesn’t care one bit about how hard our life is. If you view Him as a controlling, angry army general you will read about the Cross and conclude that it happened because God was so sick of us that He had to do something to make it so that He could look at us without wanting to throw up. And you will subsequently portray Him as such.
It is sad but true, how common it is for our circumstances, upbringing, hurts and disappointments to become the deciding factor on how we view God. Our authority figures hurt us, leave us, say mean things to us, control us, and as a consequence we start to view God as a scary, angry, strict, controlling, life-sucking, feeling sorry for us kind of Being, off in the distance somewhere.
We must make room for the Holy Spirit. It will take courage on our part. We must let go of our boxes, though perhaps formed with good intentions, and let His Spirit take us where our natural understanding never will. He will show us the Father. He will show us the TRUE God. Do not depend on any pastor or president or Greenpeace protestor or family member or expert theologian to be your definition of God. We can learn from each other, but we can also harm each other. If you are not letting God Himself reveal to You His very own Self, you are settling for a completely wasted existence. He desires to show you who He really is, in your living room, in your bathroom, in your car, at your dinner table and on your walks. Every moment is a chance to let go of your pain and find out who He really is. Be brave, take a deep breath, leave your theology box outside, and ask Him to come in.