In the forward to the book, “Free: Spending your time and money on what matters most”, Richard Rohr stated that “If you are a white middle class American, for example, and all your beliefs end up making God look like a white middle-class American, sharing all of your usual prejudices and illusions, I doubt whether you have met the Eternal God at all.” Those are bold words that I believe sum up a major problem with Christianity in the world today. We all tend to make God in our own image instead of allowing Him to conform us to His image. We all see Him as a product of our particular culture instead of seeking to become part of God’s culture. Until we get this turned around, we will never experience the life He created us to live.
One of the reasons we spend so much time making God look like us is because it is the easiest path. The closer we see God as being “one of us”, the less work we have to do in order to change ourselves. This way, we can go on living the life we’ve been living and enjoying the things we’ve been enjoying. It also allows us to feel superior to other people groups, cultures, and nationalities. After all, God looks just like us so everyone else needs to conform to our ways as well.
This isn’t something we typically consciously decide. No one in their right mind would think that God looks just like them. Certainly no true follower of Jesus would ever dare to make such a ludicrous claim. The way we begin to develop the conclusion that God looks just like us is by listening to the lies Satan has been telling since the beginning of our history. When we hesitate before a temptation, Satan revs up his disinformation machine. He twists truths like, “God wants you to be happy, doesn’t He?” “If it wasn’t meant for you to have or enjoy, God wouldn’t have created it in the first place, would He have?” “If God is so freeing, why is He restricting you from this?” We start to believe the misrepresentations of God’s character that Satan is feeding us. As a result, we wind up with a God who looks more and more like us, and less and less like the Holy, uncompromising, and totally trustworthy God of the universe.
The way we reject and repent of creating God in our own image is to ask Him to forgive us and to correct our picture of Him. God is holy; we are not. God is always trustworthy; we are not. God loves unconditionally and offers eternal mercy; we do not. God isn’t like us at all. He doesn’t look like us, talk like us, or act like us. He doesn’t think like us or set priorities the way we do. God is greater than anything we can imagine. He is neither white nor black, American nor Russian, Republican nor Democrat. He simply is who He is: loving, merciful, and gracious. It’s time we stopped making Him in our image and started living a life that conforms us to His image instead.