A Simple Misunderstanding?
One of my favorite Christmas movies is Home Alone. Kevin McAllister lives in a posh Chicago suburb with his large family. He lives next door to an old man who is obviously all alone. Kevin’s brother and cousin stare out the window late one night and talk about the old man who is shoveling salt on the sidewalks. The brother explains that the old man killed his family and uses the salt to preserve the bodies and turn them in to mummies.
Of course, for the rest of the movie Kevin screams and runs from the man every time they come face to face. Then on Christmas Eve, they end up in the sanctuary of a church together and the old man sits down next to Kevin. He explains that all that is known about him is not entirely true. As Kevin listens, something happens. He leaves his fear of the old man behind and sees him in a completely different light.
Here’s what I know: a lot of us are like Kevin when it comes to our knowledge of God. Listen to the words of Jesus in this parable:
24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ -Jesus, The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:24-25 (NIV)
The servant had an incorrect understanding of the master. Because of his misunderstanding, he was afraid and immobilized.
Here’s the deal: If you have a wrong view of the Master it will lead you to do the wrong thing with what He’s given you.
We see this all the time: people leave church because they see the way Christians act and assume that God is approving their behavior. So we say, “if that’s what God is like then I want nothing to do with Him.”
Maybe it’s when we get old enough to decide for ourselves whether we want to go to church and we choose to do something else. Why? “Because God’s just out to get me anyway. He’s just waiting for me to mess up so He can ‘smite‘ me!”
“I don’t give money to God through the church because that’s all their focused on…money, money, money. You’d think God wouldn’t need money. He’s God!” It’s a misunderstanding of the Master.
Instead of assuming you know God, take some time to re-introduce yourself to His love, His character and His ways. You’ll find that there are some things that are believed about God that aren’t entirely true. That could be the difference between running from Him in fear or stepping in to His presence in faith.