I watched the Presidential debates – did you? I tried to use it as a spiritual practice, focusing on my own response to the debate rather than getting all reactionary and talking back to the television. (I’m trying to model for Pete that coaches and sports teams cannot hear us when we yell at them while they are on tv.)
I observed myself and noticed my prejudices and preconceived notions. I was totally incapable of giving either candidate a chance to change my mind. This is a problem. I don’t think I’m the only one who acts like this.
It’s not just in the world of politics either. We do it with pretty much anything – where we buy groceries (Do you prefer Kroger or Wegmann’s? Publix or Food Lion? I bet you care.) The trouble is we have gotten so accustomed to having a bunch of ideas – all of which we have strong feelings about the rightness or wrongness of each one.
The scriptures, often viewed through that same lens of right and wrong interpretation, can and I dare say SHOULD be read differently. The bible is an invitation to SEE differently which then forces us to reconsider how we think, what we do and why we have particular feelings about things.
This is so crazy to think about – but most people seem to fear God and try to control him by saying certain prayers, behaving in ways we think will assuage him, doing what we can to avoid his wrath…rather than loving God. Until we gained access to biblical revelation, folks didn’t expect God to LOVE them, they expected God to DEMAND THINGS FROM THEM. Haven’t most of us lived with some vague notion that we needed to earn God’s love (or at least do something to avoid his wrath)? This is perhaps just my experience, but it seems a common one. But as I have aged, I’ve learned some things about why I have unconsciously lived like this, and I want to take a few devo days to talk about what I’ve experienced that has caused a bit of a shift in me.
For today, think about this: “Do not be afraid!” is the most common opening salvo whenever an angel or God breaks into our human experience. What if we thought about, consciously and intentionally, how the God of the bible keeps offering to give stuff to us, rather than take from us? Would that change how you relate to Him?