Stopping the spin
The saying “the truth lies somewhere in the middle” is often used to explain how we each bring our own perspective about reality to any situation. If you have kids, you know this. A fight starts between siblings, and each one says, “He started it.” or, “She started it.” As a parent you know the truth is somewhere in the middle of those accusations.
Our interpretation of reality is partially defined by our unique life experiences and our temperament, and we find this is also true in how we think about our Christian lives.
We know that being human has its highs and lows. This is the reality of all of humanity and the Bible shares this reality. The Psalms, for example, are filled with hope and joy and encouragement, but they also sometimes have lots of anger and vengefulness. This is part of our human experience. These highs and lows can affect how we see God.
If we look at Psalm 105, we can see the psalmist is giving God glory for wonderful blessings poured out on the nation of Israel, but then the psalmist puts his own spin on Israel’s history:
The Lord made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes, whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.
Psalm 105:24-25 (NIV)
Notice how the psalmist blames God for the anger of the Israelites’ foes, saying “whose hearts he turned to hate his people”. Does a God of love really want people to hate each other? We can see that in passages like this one, the writer is playing on the human drama of the situation rather than speaking literally about how God behaves. If we think about this in human terms, we parents can say that we would much prefer our children get along rather than fight.
Noticing our very human tendency to put our own spin on what we experience can help us when we start telling ourselves unhelpful and untrue stories about God. For example, when we’re faced with a job loss or a financial setback, do we think we’re being punished by God? If we face a serious illness, do we assume that we have sinned in some way, and this illness is our payback?
Noticing our tendency to interpret events as if God is against us can help us stop and gain perspective. We can consider what we know about God’s character, which is based on grace, and goodness. We can remember the kindness and love of Jesus in his dealings with people, and how Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9, NIV). We can think about the times that we felt God’s nearness and blessing, recalling those memories in all their detail. Positive actions like these can help us overcome the negative spin we sometimes put on difficult events in our lives.
Being human is hard, and challenges often crop up in our lives. Recognizing our tendency to blame God or others when we’re hurting can help us make different choices. We can “stop the spin” by remembering God’s love and kindness to us in our past.
Let us recognize and rest in the truth about God’s love for us today.
Presented by Heber Ticas
About the presenter:
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Heber Ticas is an elder in Grace Communion International and is the Superintendent of the churches in Latin America. He also serves as the National Coordinator for Church Multiplication in the United States.
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