How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong. That must be far worse than not to have learned him at all: his place is occupied by a false Christ, hard to exorcise! The point is, whether we have learned Christ as he taught himself, or as men have taught him who thought they understood, but did not understand him. Do we think we know him—with notions fleshly, after low, mean human fancies and explanations, or do we indeed know him—after the spirit, in our measure as God knows him?
Have we learned Christ in false statements and corrupted lessons about him, or have we learned himself? …is only our brain full of things concerning him, or does he dwell himself in our hearts, a learnt, and ever being learnt lesson, the power of our life?
Wow! What if we learned Him wrong? What impostor-Christ is occupying the place of Christ in your heart? What assumptions have I made about God and His personality that have been detrimental for my heart and relationship with Him? I have to imagine that none of us have a perfect view of who Jesus is. The real danger is not being aware of the limits of our ability to fully know God yet. As the saying goes: “Smart people know what they know, wise people also know what they don’t know.” Are you open enough to accept the reality that there are parts of your belief and knowledge and experience of God that have been false AND at the same time stay engaged enough to continue to pursue the true God and
One of the consistent, helpful reminders from Uncle Dickey (Richard Rohr) is that spiritual growth is not about addition as much as it is subtraction. If we clear out all the crap that is in the way, God will replace it with what He wants to and what is good and helpful. Therefore, much of our job is to be willing to unlearn the ways we have learned Jesus wrong.
Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash
As George MacDonald says, it is startling to realize the assumptions we have made and how they have led us astray. It is scary to start the process of unlearning because we are afraid of letting go of too much. We are afraid that we will go over to the “dark side” and not be able to get out. I completely understand this and believe that it will take great courage to allow yourself to doubt enough to truly learn faith. At some point, we have to figure out if we are willing to risk the real Jesus or are content with the Jesus that we have created to make us more comfortable. Spoiler alert, the real Jesus is wild and free and cannot and will not be controlled by you. He will challenge you and love you and take you on a journey into your true heart that will change you forever. What do you want?