Yesterday, we looked at an interesting phenomenon by which you are more prone to see in Jesus what you see in yourself, creating a blind spot for that in Him that you don't relate with as easily. We used the example of introverts and extroverts, particularly in how each conceptualizes of Jesus spending the majority of His time. But did you know that it's not that simple?
(It never is.)
It's true that if you're an introvert, you're more likely to see Jesus stealing away to the mountains to pray and that if you're an extrovert, you're more likely to see Jesus surrounded by the crowds. But...if you're an introvert who doesn't understand or value your introversion or if you're an extrovert who doesn't understand or value your extroversion, you're more likely to see just the opposite!
If you're an introvert who doesn't understand the sacred value of solitude for yourself and you're more likely to describe yourself as, perhaps, shy or reserved, you're more likely to see all of the time that Jesus spent with persons because you think you ought to be more like that. You're more likely to see how He handled the crowds, and you become, in essence, an extrovert by sight because that's what you think you should be, and Jesus shows you how to do it in a way that you think you desire, but that still seems exhausting to you (because you're not actually shy and reserved, but introverted, and that's just how it is).
By the same token, if you're an extrovert who doesn't understand the sacred value of socialization for yourself and you're more likely to describe yourself as, perhaps, loud or show-offy, you're more likely to notice all of the times that Jesus steals away for some time to Himself because you wish you knew better how to do that. You're more likely to see Him retreating to the mountains and you become, in essence, an introvert by sight because that's what you think you should be, and Jesus shows you how to do it in a way that you think you desire, but that still seems boring to you (because you're not actually loud or show-offy, but extroverted, and that's just how it is).
This is yet another reason why we have to be so careful and conscious about what it is that we see in Jesus. At any given point, we are seeing Him in reflection of ourselves - for better or for worse - and either way, it creates for us a blind spot about Him. And in this case, a blind spot about ourselves.
It's extremely important, not just because of what we are able to know about Jesus and what we are prone to miss, but because of how it shapes what we believe about Him. If you are an introvert who values your introversion or an extrovert who values your extroversion and you see in Jesus a reflection of yourself as you are, you're likely to think that Jesus loves you and that He approves of you and that you share this deep and amazing bond with Him (which is, by the way, entirely true).
But if you're an introvert who doesn't value your introversion or an extrovert who doesn't value your extroversion and you see Jesus in a reflection of all that you aren't, you're likely to think that Jesus is disappointed in you and that He condemns you and that there couldn't be a greater chasm between the two of you (which is, by the way, entirely not true).
Do you see why it matters?
What we believe we see in Jesus - God in human form - and how we interpret it in light of our own experiences of ourselves and our human nature is central to what we will believe about His heart.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that persons that feel tension with God, who constantly believe that He is disappointed in them, who believe that He is vengeful and condemning and vindictive, are persons who have not come to terms with something inside of themselves, something about the sacred way that God made them, and they are seeing that in negative reflection in Jesus and thinking it must be Him when really, it's them. We are the ones who create distance between ourselves and God. Always. It's never the other way around.
Thus, we must pay attention to how it is that we see Him and how our hearts perceive it. For how our hearts perceive Him, from their own broken places, is how we will receive Him in those same broken places.