For the first time in public, last week, during our “Cure Experience” in Louisville, Kentucky, we tried out an exercise called, “Taking Off the Filter.” We took several verses of Scripture and imagined how they would be understood in the Room of Good Intentions or in the Room of Grace. Small groups, teams and couples grappled with the difference it would make.
We are convinced that many, if not most of us, have been reading the Word through a filter of our own shame or the religious moralism taught by other’s shame. It creates a presumed and inaccurate voice of God. It creates a presumed and inaccurate means to carry out the life offered in the Word. It creates a presumed and inaccurate view of ourselves and how God views us. It creates a presumed, inaccurate and artificial means to gain God’s favor and pleasure.
The exercise was a blast. We did it right out of the study guide for “The Cure”. For many of us, it was like we were wiping off windows covered with years of the grime and cloudy film that had for so long partially covered life-giving words. It was redemptive and freeing. Many were poking fun at themselves for how they’d read it and others joined in to admit their own folly. For some of us it was painful to begin to discover the deadening, man-made condemnation, or self-satisfied superiority we had built into our reading of the Bible years ago.
It’s a hugely important exercise and discipline this generation especially needs to learn. If the DNA of how I see the Word does not change, I will almost always default to either a Pharisaical or a self-condemning relationship with each passage I read. And the saddest part is that I will presume I’ve been transformed by the two-edged sword of the Living Word!
It is possible to read sacred words and denude them of power by my own presumption and not God’s intention. Ouch!
That’s why we finally devoted a huge section of “The Cure” study guide to such an exploration in every chapter.
I tell you, if you don’t take a group through “The Cure” study guide, you can still get to heaven, but you may have an obstructed view and there will be a two-piece daily limit on pie. (I could be wrong about this, but why take the chance?)
Truthfully, we can’t wait for you and your friends to discover whether you’ve been looking at Scripture with a filter or in unvarnished clarity.
We wrote on the cover of “The Cure”-“What if God isn’t who you think He is and neither are you?” As you begin to see God and yourself more clearly you’ll begin to see the Word more clearly. It may be equally true-if I read the Word more clearly, I will begin to see God and myself more clearly…and wonderfully.
John-one of the three amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace.