The six of us had already been there an hour, just sitting out on the patio, nibbling away at appetizers. The real food hadn’t showed up yet, but it wasn’t a big deal. We were having fun. The sun was shining, leaves from the trees rattled in the breeze and birds chirped. This was one of those picturesque moments where everything felt just right. The kind of occasion that you want to last longer than it does.
Then I ruined it.
I didn’t know what happened. I watched in complete confusion as all five of my friends erupted into a chorus of cackling and other sounds that come along with complete beguilement. I sat there and stared at my friends. I watched their faces contort with joy wondering,
What the crap did I just say that was so funny?
Then it hit me. I won’t repeat what I said, but it was stupid. It wasn’t mean, or rude, but naive words came out of my mouth, and they sounded completely perverted. As soon as I figured out what I had said and what it had communicated to the rest of the table, I felt hot spurts of blood rush up my neck, into my cheeks. The heat almost immediately caused itty-bitty drops of sweat to appear on the now deathly pale forehead and I groaned,
You guys! I didn’t freaking mean that you bloody pervs!
My whine-yell caused the volume and intensity of their laughter to double. Their joy was overwhelming to the point that I overcame my embarrassment enough to smirk before I stood up and let loose a deluge of yelling and condemnation. I pointed at each one of my friends and roared about their likelihood of their damnation or at least contraction of some awkward and hopefully rare form of an STD because of their deviant thinking. This scene managed to catch some other peoples’ attention because it happened in the middle of the restaurant patio. Curious onlookers just stared at me while I finished my rant. Fortunately, no kids were around.
You see, even though I had said something in a completely innocent way, my friends took it differently. Their experiential knowledge of certain slang terms and phrases carried my words away from their original intention to a place they never were meant to go. Fortunately, I was more than able to stand up and defend myself and my intentions. Even better, I made a scene which ultimately made all of them cringe, just a little.
To some people, the Bible is nothing more than a collection of words.
They came from another time and had to go through an interpretive process that was carried out by people who had their own experiential knowledge base. They had biases and expectations of what Christianity is or should be. It gets worse when we approach the Bible in our own context, with our own intentions. We can read a verse and to an extent, make what we want out of it, but that doesn’t change the author’s purpose behind the words.
It seems that too many people are leaning on the Bible as a crutch to support their own ideas, rather than looking to it as a guide-post telling them what to believe.
The worst thing about this is that if it’s words are being contorted, God’s word can’t speak for itself. It can’t stand up and yell at people for doing it wrong like that. Sure, the Holy Spirit has more than enough power to convict those who abuse God’s word, but if they’re not listening to the Canon, why would they listen to the Spirit?
Today, I implore you. I beg me, too.
Let us not superimpose
our own meaning on God’s word
but rather, do everything
we can to learn
is trying to say through it.
We’ve got two more parts to the Life of the Believer series before we’re finished. Both deal with Matthew 11:12 and the two popular interpretations of that verse. This set up the arguments we’ll see later this week. When we’re done, I’ll want to know what you think is the right meaning behind the verse.