Christian religion, no matter how it was presented to us, is tainted by mankind’s sinfulness. If we use the illustration of a camera lens, we all have a lens which impacts our view of Christianity. It is colored by our experiences, especially our childhood and young adult experiences. It is scratched by family problems, church problems, and theological debate. All our lens are scratched and hazy. Our lens is the starting point of how we perceive God, ourselves, and mankind.
Our lens may show us a God who gives us the power to live our daily lives. Our lens may show us a religion that dissects each word and phrase of the Bible, looking for rules of right and wrong. Our lens may show us a judgmental God or a detached and distant God. Every person raised with a Christian background has their own lens.
I too had my own lens. At times I saw God as nothing more than a power to give me strength in my daily life. At others times, I dissected the Bible looking for rules of right and wrong. My lens was scratched by family problems and bad church experiences.
I am constantly seeking to clean and repolish my lens. I must continually clean off those parts of the lens dusted by my own experiences until I can see more clearly God as He would have me to see Him. I continually seek to clarify that true lens and each day the lens becomes slightly clearer.
I am starting to realize that the goal is not to add new layers to the lens, but to remove unnecessary layers and clean the old lens. Recently, my cleaner lens has allowed me to see the simplicity of sin and of grace. Sin is anything that damages my community with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The Son’s death on the cross is the path to restoring community. It is that simple. I do not need to maintain a list of rules, and most importantly, I do not need to maintain a list of rules for others.