- God expects me to be all good.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, but no distortion is more common than this one. God has said repeatedly that we are sinners, and he expects us to fall over and over again. He knows our frame, says the psalmist (Ps. 103:14). We must comprehend the way in which God sees us, both to be humbled away from our perfectionism and to be awestruck by his grace.
- God accepts me when I am good and rejects me when I am bad.
Then he will accept me again when I am good. This roller-coaster view of God does not realize the once-and-for-all aspect of the salvation God provides. We truly are in a safe standing with him; therefore, we can reveal our weaknesses.
- God is shocked at times by me.
Some people cringe at times at what they think and do. The truth is that God knew it all before we were even born. He knew that sin or that weakness, and he still loved and saved us. Nothing we can think or do will ever shock him.
- God will reject me if I do…
The Bible teaches that the Christian can never be rejected. Some people have been loved so conditionally that they cannot imagine another person who will never drive them away (John 6:37). They live in fear of losing their relationship with God.
- God is keeping track of my badness.
While it is true that God is watching us and keeping a record of our lives, he doesn’t do it to punish us. He has put our sins as far as the east is from the west. Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Heb. 9:28).
- God thinks immaturity is bad.
People who believe this forget that God understands the growth process, and that it takes time. He does not excuse things; he takes them into account. He looks at us as a father looks at a child. We are growing, and he does not expect perfection. Jesus predicted Peter’s failure and recovery. He knew it was coming. Immaturity is not a moral question. Young is not bad; it is young.
- God cannot understand my struggle.
People sometimes think that because God is God he cannot understand human badness and weakness. That is why Jesus became man. He is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15). He has felt everything that we can ever feel, yet without sin.
These distortions form the prison that houses the real self. Satan has always tried to trick us into believing lies, and he steals lives through these lies and distortions. We need to confront the lies and see where they come from, rebuking them in the mighty name of Jesus.
All of these distortions were learned in the context of relationship, and it is in the context of relationship that they need to be unlearned. We internalize how we are treated, and we must put ourselves into situations where God’s ways of relating to us are learned instead of our old ways of relating. Again, as in the other stages, this is not done without risk and pain. However, real healing and spiritual power can be found if one can get into a confessing, safe relationship, where the darkness can be made light and the “dark parts” can find forgiveness and acceptance.
For help and hope to find connection, such as a licensed Christian counselor in your area, call 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433).
From the book Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud