Perspective is limiting.
Perspective is reality for us. In other words, how we see something reveals how we are and not how a situation is. But perspective is, likewise, limiting. By definition our perspective gives us a shortcut so we’re not having to reevaluate those perspectives on a regular basis.
It mostly helps us, but it can also lead to grave issues.
And in our passage today, we see how the short cut of perspective affects our behavior. In the ongoing conversation Jesus has been having with His Jewish audience in John 8, we find ourselves today at John 8:42-47.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”John 8:42-47
New International Version
Jesus has been teaching them that our relationship to God the Father is not based on biology. The Jewish people thought they were in right standing with God the Father because they were Jewish. Jesus has been arguing that spiritual paternity isn’t about who our parents were, but what we did with Jesus.
Jesus tells them they belong to the Devil and their behaviors are proving it (verse 44). He even goes so far as to tell them they cannot understand what He’s saying because they simply refuse to accept the truth. Jesus reminds them the Devil is the father of lies and those lies have blinded them to the truth Jesus is giving them (verses 44-45).
Jesus then challenges them directly. He specifically tells them to present whatever so-called evidence they have against Him. “Can you prove me guilty of sin?” He asks them (verse 46a). If Jesus is lying to them and misleading them, they’d be able to prove that. The conversation would be over. Instead, He’s telling them the truth and they refused to believe Him.
Then, He clinches the argument with verse 47: Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
We can fall into the same trap the Jewish people did. It’s so easy to start taking pseudo-Christian ideas and then declare ourselves as followers of the Lord because we do these things.
This has happened most recently with the idea of “loving your neighbor.” Some Christians have taken “love” to mean “enabling” someone else’s bad behavior. But that’s not at all what Biblical love means. Jesus loved the people He was speaking with in our passage today, but He certainly wasn’t enabling their disobedience.
Neither should we.
We must be very careful to not give up the truth of Who Jesus is. After all, most all of John 8 can be summarized by this: our behavior reveals who our father really is.
We’re either entertaining lies and following the Devil (our old father), or we are following the truth and acting like our Father in Heaven.
Look at your behavior. Push through your perspectives. Which father are you acting like? If you are a follower of Jesus, then your Father is the God of the Universe and we must live in that truth.
May we pursue living His truth so those around us can see His life in us.