Summary: This series focuses on how we deceive ourselves and subsequently others. Part 1 focuses on how we are deceived by our five senses.
Misinterpretation; Misrepresentation: It’s About The Truth
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
The life I live is no longer my life as Christ should be living through me. When I told you last week that I was 75% Rodney and 25% Holy Spirit, it should tell you that although Christ is living within me Rodney is still there, pressing my will and opinion into things. As I yield more and more to Christ and thus move more towards that 20% Rodney and 80% Holy Spirit, I must become aware of who I really am. I must search out and accept the truth about Rodney. Only when I accept the truth about me can I become free enough to accept the truth of God that comes through the Holy Spirit. This message is about truth and how in our daily lives we distort it. As this is an internal message, meaning that the message focuses on our inner man, we will examine how we as individual misinterpret and misrepresent the truth. Today I will lay the foundation and next week I will get into the heart of the message.
I want you to take a minute and think about our five senses – those that help us navigate through this world. They are the sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. There are six other senses that have been identified that we also use, but these are the core that we are all familiar with. Although I will get into them more later I want you to think about how much of our reality is based on these five senses. Now consider, with all the importance we place on our senses, how often our senses give us the wrong perception and thus change our reality. As you think about that, let me tell you about some experiences I have had recently while I was mulling over this message in my head.
Have you ever been treated differently because of the way you looked? Have you ever treated someone differently because of the way they looked? If you are like most of us, you would answer in the affirmative for both of those questions. As I have shopped for clothes, I have had some interesting experiences in large, more upscale department stores, here in Kansas and in other states where I have traveled. I will not list the stores by name, but there have been several where I have been followed as if I was going to steal something. I have been followed while I was wearing jeans and on other occasions while I was wearing a suit. When I have taken clothes into the fitting room to try them on, I have had times when people stood close by so they could ensure that what I took in came back out. Now you may say that was the normal operating procedure, but I did notice that this was not always the case for some of the other customers. I have walked around these stores and watched as sales people, both black & white, watched me out of the corner of their eyes, just in case. They may not have been singling me out specifically, but I obviously fit some profile of whomever they were told to keep an eye on. As most things will over time, this started me to thinking. What if they knew I was a Christian, would their responses be different? What if I wore a sign on my forehead that said “I Am a Christian”, would they treat me the same way? What if they knew I was a pastor, would they still follow me around when I tried on clothes to ensure I did not steal them? Finally I thought about me, would I act differently if I wore the sign that said “I Am a Christian/Pastor”. Would I go to the same places as I normally do? After thinking on this for several weeks, I decided to do my own experiment over a period of a couple of weeks. Since I could not wear a sign that said I was a Christian, I could wear the “approved” minister’s shirt and collar and accomplish close to the same thing. So this is what I did.
Experiment 1: I purchased several minister’s shirt with the banded collars that everyone recognizes. On the first day, I wore one to Church to see how my members would respond. Some of you said I looked “official” while others wondered why all of a sudden I started wearing the shirt. Some of you actually smiled and said you liked it while others did not say anything at all. So the response was mixed by those of you who know me well. The next thing that I did was stop by a grocery store that I visit often on my way home from Church. In the store people smiled at me and spoke. Generally when I go into any store around here other customers generally will not look me in the eyes and will speak only after I speak first. When I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, the person had an extended conversation with me. When I went through the drive through at McDonalds, the ladies smiled and asked me to check my order to ensure it was correct – the first time that has ever happened. I was amazed at the reception these people gave me even though they knew nothing about me. They were responding to a simple shirt and collar. So I decided to take it a step further.