About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
We Are Determines What We Believe
I admit it.
I tend to treat our plants as if they are human. I
think of our backyard family of birds, squirrels, and Chippie the
chipmunk as if they are our pets. Even
though I can hardly see them, I hear them play, fight, forage for food,
and bathe in our birdbaths. My
wife Dianne provides me with the play by play drama, but sometimes
things get sad, as they did recently.
Chippie the chipmunk used to jump up on my lap and let me pet him
as he took a peanut from my hand, but that's all over.
I'm convinced that he and two of our red squirrels have been
kidnapped and possibly murdered. I
get it. Chipmunks and
squirrels destroy tomato plants, but murdering Chippie?
Okay, I'm being a bit dramatic here, but I really do miss
my little friend. This
emotional response is a product of who I am, and who I am determines
what I believe, what I write, and how I live, and thus the point to this
Not everyone who relaxes
on our back deck is enthralled with what surrounds them.
Others relax and are totally captivated by our flowers and
backyard friends. Here is my
point. Your eyes may
physically see something, but who you are as a person will determine
your response to what you see. If
you are a flower lover, you will see the flowers in our back yard and
react with some kind of appreciation.
If you are not a flower lover, even though you physically see the
flowers, they don't register in your mind sufficiently to create any
outward behavioural reaction. It is as
if the flowers don't even exist. This
phenomenon is present when we attempt to interpret and understand the
Bible. Even though we read
every verse in the Bible, all of what we read does not register in our
minds sufficiently to create a reaction that causes us to formulate a
belief system by which we live. Who
we are determines what passages will influence our lives.
If you are a quiet
gentle person, passages like Ephesians 4:2 that emphasize humility and
gentleness will stimulate your mind sufficiently that it will determine
your theology and your behaviour. Then,
without realizing it, you'll likely ignore passages suggesting
aggression, resulting in your theology and behaviour to be Biblically
If you are aggressive
and forceful by nature, passages like Jesus overthrowing the tables in
the temple will grab your attention sufficiently that it will determine
your theology and behaviour. Then,
without realizing it, you'll probably ignore passages emphasizing
humility and gentleness, resulting in your theology and behaviour to be
One politician recently said this. "It is what it is." What he meant by that, I don't know. I say this. "We are who we are," and by that I mean who we are determines our Biblical beliefs and how we live what we believe. Such means of Biblical interpretation is an ever-present problem in the world of Biblical interpretation. We should attempt, and it is difficult, to set our preferential personalities aside and let the entire Bible as one unified whole speak for itself. This is basic to good Biblical interpretation. To the degree, then, that we can succeed in this attempt at Biblical balance will be the degree to which we can live in a bit more relative doctrinal, and thus, relational harmony.