"Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?"1
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A Lawyer's Question
A lawyer whom I believe was sincere wrote saying, "As my profession is a lawyer, when someone cites the Bible, I always tend to think about different ways of interpretation of the Word—such as during the times of the inquisition."
Good point. I think many people genuinely struggle with the same question as there are so many different interpretations of God's Word … and so many different applications of the same passages.
Answering a lawyer is out of my league; however, suffice it to say that legalists (out of their own insecurities and authoritarian stance) will use God's Word to control people to get them to conform to their (the legalist's) neuroses. At the opposite end of the scale are those who say what "speaks" to them in the Bible is God's Word and the rest they conveniently ignore—a very comfortable but, like the legalist's view, a self-deceptive way to live. Somewhere between these extremes are those who seek a balanced view of what God is really saying.
One major problem is that we all interpret situations, etc., on the basis of who we are and often on what we want to see… and on how honest or dishonest we are with our own selves.
In other words, we all look at truth—including God's Truth, the Bible—through our own warped lenses. The more dishonest we are with ourselves, the more warped our lenses will be, and the more warped our lenses, the more we will distort all truth (including God's Truth) to make it match our perception of reality—and thereby interpret it to say what we want it to say. Alternatively, the more honest we are with ourselves (less defensive, etc.) the less warped will be our lenses, and the clearer we will see all truth, including God's Truth. I believe it is impossible to be intellectually honest without being personally honest.
If we want to interpret God's Word correctly and see and hear what God is really saying, we need to start by "melting" our hardened hearts (the cause of which is personal dishonesty and defensiveness), and by becoming courageously honest with ourselves.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be real, authentic, and courageously honest with myself so I can see your Word more clearly, and follow your directives more closely. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Mark 8:17-18 (NIV).