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!