taking the words of Jesus seriously

Featured photo credit: David Hayward via The Naked Pastor

The phrase “putting God in a box” is something almost exclusively declared as an accusation. Few people would be willing to admit; “Yes, I put God in a box.” It is a phenomenon we all tend to observe in others before we see it in ourselves, and even when we look at ourselves it is hard for us to clearly see the box we have put God in. So we are going to talk about a dirty little secret inside our personal “God boxes” that will help us see it more clearly. The “God box” is actually our “People box.”

The Amazing “God Box” – Keeps God In and Keeps People Out

If you want to know how big or small your “God box” is, all you have to do is count the people inside of it. If our view of God is limited, legalistic, and harsh then we probably have only a handful of people who we associate with. People with tiny God boxes aren’t even comfortable in their own churches, always looking to find out who the “real Christians” are and trying to call out the “spies.”

Related: I Have Some Bad Habits – by Nikole Lim

It is uncomfortable for us to welcome different people in our lives. We have to not only deal with learning new things, new ideas, and new patterns of behavior but we also have to deal with our own fears, insecurities, and prejudices. That is why is so much easier to justify distancing ourselves from other people under pretence that they are just “bad.”


Our “God Box” Is Shaped According to the People Who Make Us Feel Good

When life gets messy, hard, or lonely we tend to go through “religious change.” When our original religious views and “God box” no longer help us feel better, we decide it makes sense to open the box a bit and look around. As soon as we find a group of people who make us feel better again, we quickly “box them up” again. “Wow, I was so silly to believe X and Y, but now I believe A and B. You should believe A and B too.”

For many people “enlightenment” is simply moving from one God box to a different one. Sure, sometimes the second one is a little bigger than the first, but ultimately we still decide that “these people are good” and “those people are bad.” The people in our “God box” are OK, and the people outside are “crazy.”

Accepting Others Does Not “Invalidate” Our Beliefs

I have met many Christians who feel like accepting others “as they are” without converting them is somehow betraying what they believe. But what good are your beliefs if they simply keep you away from others? If your beliefs do not empower you to love others, then they have no value at all, no matter how “right” they are. Accepting others does not invalidate or cheapen your beliefs, it is your ability to love which proves their merit.

Also by Yaholo: Mislabeling the Word of God

“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV)

So How Do We Not Have a Box?

Simple: If you let everyone in, you won’t keep any of God out. Learning how to be a part of the lives of those around you, what Jesus and Mr. Rogers called “your neighbors, ” is how we learn to grow close to God. Learning to show love and acknowledge the value of anyone and everyone, no matter where and who they are, is how we start stepping out of our dark, damp, and lonely boxes. You see, they key to finding love, peace, and joy in life is not to look for others to give it to you, and keep everyone else out, but to build those things in your relationships no matter where they start from.

Featured photo credit: David Hayward via The Naked Pastor

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