I’m guessing you’ve seen this before: A young kid shouting or singing through a cardboard paper-towel roll, projecting his voice through the house, when the inevitable happens. He slips over to his little sister, holds the make-shift megaphone to her ear, and, just for fun, yells at the top of his lungs. Sister cries, mom or dad rushes in, paper-towel roll goes in the garbage.
In our individual relationships with God, negative experiences from our pasts can be like a megaphone, serving us about as well as a paper-towel roll held to a little sister’s ear.
Here’s how it works: Past experiences get in between what God is saying and what you’re hearing, so what he’s saying and the tone of voice he’s using become distorted, sometimes in amplifying and hurtful ways.
For example, if you grew up with a parent who was angry or critical, you’re heart is more likely to perceive God as angry or critical toward you, even when he’s not. If you had a parent who was absent, you’re more likely to feel God is silent or distant. If you felt you needed to do well to be affirmed by mom or dad, you’ll likely miss the personal ways God lavishes affection and affirmation on you even when you’re at your worst.
Jesus came to dispel faulty perceptions of God and to destroy old, faulty megaphones. The Word made flesh hung on a cross, and through his death we come to know the tone with which God is speaking to us. And oh, his tone of voice can make all the difference in the world.
Ask Jesus what megaphones from the past are distorting his voice for you today. He longs to throw them into the garbage, to heal your hearing, so you can hear him as he is.
I’d love your responses and input. Do you agree that past experiences can distort God’s words to you today? How do you recognize when that’s happening to you, and what do you do about it when it does? Leave a comment below!
Thanks for continuing to share your messages that God inspires you to share. They are always encouraging and causes me to reflect on things that I am either dealing with, have dealt with, or need to deal with in my life.
Great anology. Today when I begin to feel criticized (father) or rejected (mother messages) by someone, I’m able to recognize those familiar feelings and stop the pattern. Is it true from that individual? Does the message represent our relationship or just this moment?
Then I can choose to respond from today’s reality and not take it into my view of myself, knowing God’s view of me and all persons. My challenge now is not to take in any negativity toward that individual, no matter how they view me…and especially to pray for that other!
Jesus led me to Regeneration and Living Waters (twice)
and Bible teaching churchs to help with that freedom.Thx
Your assessment is right on the mark. It’s practically impossible, however, to toss the megaphone when many people have said the same things about you. “Different” translates to “inferior” and once that “fact” gets established in your head it’s not easily forgotten. I don’t care WHO speaks something different to you today, God included, it’s an arduous task to get to the place where you actually ever feel good about yourself and fully believe you’re equal to everyone else and loved by God. I’m still on this journey and hope I actually reach that destination in my lifetime.
Thanks, Josh. I love your articles, so simple yet so deep. Lately I seem to be blasted by that megaphone and cringe while it reverberates without mercy…thank you for your insight. Must be doing something right, huh??
I agree that we are very much shaped by our past and the voices from it. My dad is a good man, strong, and willing to sacrifice for others. However, we didn’t talk about feelings or emotions, so I’ve had a tendency to view God as less interested in my own internal desires, hurts, etc.