Imagine you have a pair of darkly tinted glasses. You put them on. What do you see? Is it hard to make out the colors, shapes, and people in front of you?
Do you think you have an accurate view of the world when looking through the darkly tinted lenses?
Could these lenses be affecting how you see God?
Healing How We See God
At various points throughout our lives, each of us have put on some tinted lenses that shade the way we see ourselves, other people, and God. Healing how we see God requires identifying those lenses and taking them off to see with clear vision.
“When we are children growing up our fathers, mothers, and other caretakers model for us a picture of God. By how they act and what they do, we “see” what God is like.
We interpret each experience through the lens of judgments we have made and the expectations we have developed in response to what has been done in the past.
If we have made a lot of judgments, our view of life and God becomes distorted. By the time we reach adulthood, our minds may have been taught to believe God loves us and desires to bless us, but our hearts say, “Oh, yeah? He’s just like Dad (or Mom).”
We are not capable of seeing life as it truly is. Experiences with our parents have given us “tinted lenses.” Until confession, repentance, forgiveness, and our old ways of seeing are brought to death on the cross, we will not be able to perceive God clearly.” –Elijah House Ministries
A Good Good Father
Many people struggle with thinking of God as their heavenly Father because of their experiences with their earthly fathers.
With our heads we may know His abundant love is available, that He really is a good good Father. But we have made decisions (often subconsciously) in our hearts which block our relationships with Him.
As children we form both accurate and inaccurate perceptions about our parents and care takers. These perceptions later affect our relationships with God as an adult and form the tinted lenses through which we see Him.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” -Matthew 6:22-23 ESV
The eyes we see the world with are very important, if we are wearing tinted lenses that distort the truth we don’t see the world as it really is.
We Project our Childish Views of our Parents onto God
Have you ever said or thought:
How could a loving God allow…?
Why doesn’t God care?
I’d better not make a mistake or God might punish me
Why doesn’t God do something about…?
These thoughts relate to the tinted lenses we have come to view God through because of our experiences of parents and caretakers who did not show love, care, concern in appropriate ways, controlled us through fear and blame, or did not give us the discipline we needed.
How We Heal
When possible, we need to recognize the judgments that affect how we see God. Identify what our tinted lenses are. Some ways we can identify these are:
- The Holy Spirit telling you what those judgments are
- Reading scripture and seeing how our beliefs are contrary to God’s promises
- Paying attention to our responses to situations
- Considering situations where not everyone thought about it like you did
Even if we cannot identify the exact judgments, we need to repent for holding false judgments about God and reacting to Him out of those false judgments.
We need to confess the sins we have committed against our parents and against God, these may be resentments, bitterness, judgments, rebellion, or others
Then we need to forgive our parents. Forgiveness is for our benefit and paves the way to releasing bitterness and judgments against them and against God. And then ask God for forgiveness for the false judgments we have made about Him.
And finally we need to choose life, and choose to seek a better relationship with God and clearer sight of who He is.
The Father Ladder
One tool from Sozo for identifying where we have lenses shading how we see God is called The Father Ladder. This tool looks at how our relationships with our earthly fathers affect how we see Father God, our relationships with our siblings and peers affect how we see Jesus, and our relationships with our mothers affect how we see Holy Spirit.
Starting on the left side of the ladder you identify judgements you’ve made or hurts you’ve experienced from those people and then work through forgiving them for those things.
Then you take that forgiveness to the other side of the ladder and repent for viewing God through those lenses, asking Him to show you how and who He really is.
Earthly Fathers – Father God
The easiest comparison to understand is how our earthly fathers are connected to our views of Father God. Scripture is full of examples of God being called father (Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 3:17; John 14:8-10). Father’s are associated with our needs for protection and provision – the physical needs of our bodies. And father’s also give identity either through the blessings or cursings they release over us.
Siblings, Friends/Peers, Spouse – Jesus
Jesus is referred to as our brother, our friend, and the bridegroom of the Church (Matthew 12:46-48; 2 Corinthians 6:18; John 15:15; Revelation 19:7; Ephesians 5:25-27). Much like an older brother, Jesus teaches us about relationship with the Father by modeling his relationship with him. He calls us his friends, and we learn how to relate to our peers by his interactions with us and others. And he models for us God’s vision for marriage as the bridegroom of the Church, laying down his life for her, loving, and calling her to life. The needs of our soul for companionship and communication are both met and modeled in Jesus.
Mothers – Holy Spirit
This is the connection that can feel off because of our tendency to think of God as only male. Scripture does not give a gender to God. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (NASB) So for us to be created in his image as both male and female, there must be a feminine aspect to God.
The Holy Spirit meets the needs of our personal spirits for comfort, help, encouragement, and teaching. Much like our mothers provide nurture, comfort, and direction as we learn to navigate this world. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit is female, but that the primary qualities the Holy Spirit carries matches up with the qualities our mothers and other mother figures are supposed to meet in our lives (John 14:26; Luke 12:12; John 16:7; Romans 8:26-27)
A Prayer for New Vision
Symbolically hold your fingers over your eyes like glasses and pray:
“Holy Spirit, show me the tinted lenses I see life, situations, and people through. Father God, I repent for filtering relationships through these lenses, for viewing others through them, and making judgments that are false.
I hand you every false judgment that I have made in filtering my life through these wounds, and I forgive myself for being deceived by wearing these tinted lenses.”
Symbolically remove the finger glasses and pray:
“I hand to you, Jesus, these tinted lenses. What do you have in exchange for me?
(Pause, He will hand you something or tell you what the exchange is)
I thank you, Jesus, that I am going to see differently now, and it is going to be good.”
Inner Healing Work
Inner healing work like this is well, work. It takes effort and often time to process through the layers of emotional and spiritual baggage. If you are looking for help in the process check out my services page. I offer several forms of inner healing both in person and online.