The second of five parts:
Of course, not everyone reacted this way. Some still believed that the Bible had the answers. They heard of the life of grace and they really wanted it, but they had real trouble finding it in the Bible. Like the others, they could only see more to do and condemnation. Why? Because that was the grid or interpretation they had learned.
We see our world through the grid of what we have learned. The performance system (if you do this, then you will get that) has defined how we interpret information. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter what that information is. It is why abusers can convince their victims that the abuse is the victim’s fault. It is why some people learn to expect bad things in life. “Bad people receive bad things. If you want good things, you have to be good.” That’s how performance people learn to see life.
Even our view of Scripture is affected. Because we were taught that God was always angry at us, we see His anger everywhere in the Scriptures. Because we were taught that law and rules were important for keeping evil people in line, we learn to value the Law and dismiss grace. Because we were taught that we never measure up, we read the Bible and find over and over that we have fallen short of God’s expectations.
So guys like me have little hair left. We pulled it out while screaming “THAT’S NOT WHAT IT SAYS!!” We wanted so badly to show people that the love of God flows through the pages of His Word. We wanted to show them that the Bible itself tells them that their teachers were wrong and manipulative. We wanted them to find the joy of reading the Scriptures and the wonder of God’s consistent truth. But so many couldn’t see it. It didn’t fit through their grid.
More coming…. Comments??
(I am traveling these days. This series of posts was quite popular a couple of years ago. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to comment as usual. See you on the other side! – Dave)
4 responses to “The Grid – How we see the Bible”
I’m slowly learning about grace. My husband has been involved in the Sabbath-keeping, sacred-name, Hebrew Roots movement for almost 2 years. He keeps the law to the best of his ability. His religion, and his resulting anger/depression, etc. has torn our marriage and family apart. I can’t take anymore of this, and neither can my daughter.
Please keep writing about grace. I’m in desperate need of it. To know that I can’t make myself holy and righteous before God. To know that He sees me through the covering of the shed blood of His Son. Because right now, I’m a mess. And I hate. I’m so sorry!
Oh Kathy! My heart is going out to you right now! I’m sorry you are going through this! I have an acquaintenance who is involved in the same type of thing. Any time I’ve tried to bring up grace or Scripture that contradicts her ideas, she doesn’t respond. Kathy, did you know that nothing can seperate you from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus? (Romans 8:38,39)
Dave, sorry to take over your blog :o)
Kathy, I have been out of the office this weekend and found your note this morning. Sorry about letting you sit there. Thanks to graceandgiggles for her kind words!
I am beginning to understand that there are few paths around the law. Most believers must go through the law. What I mean is that they have to find out for themselves that their efforts are inadequate and always will be. Pray for your husband to come to the end of himself before he drags you and your family down. The only way for him to see the truth is to experience failure, perhaps over and over. Sadly the companions of those who go through this are often in for a rough ride.
I appreciate your connection between “his religion, and his resulting anger/depression.” This is very insightful. These poor folks are filled with frustration because they are told that if they work hard enough they will find succes, but they never are able to work hard enough. No matter what they do, it is never enough. (Those around them feel this way as well.)
Please write to me offblog. I would be happy to correspond with you and offer whatever encouragement and advice I can. I have counseled with many in situations similar to yours through email. It can be a very good way to communicate. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I care. Your emotions are probably all mixed up these days and your response to the stress sometimes comes out in feelings of anger and hatred. That’s okay. The Lord understands those feelings. The Psalms often reflect David’s hatred. There is real help for you in the Lord. I would be happy to help you find your way to Him and His peace again.
This is such an important topic! Please keep writing about it! I definitely find myself having a hard time finding the truth – even after a couple years of coming out of the legalistic mindset I have to talk through everything because when I find some truth about grace I feel like it’s heresy and when I focus on the legalism I end up feeling awful and not wanting to go back to God. I just want to throw it all out.