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Is God Misrepresented?

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44
41 You are doing the things your own father does. We are not illegitimate children, they protested. The only Father we have is God himself. 
42 Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 
43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. 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.
(NIV Bible)

Over the centuries, God has suffered a great injustice at the hands of those who claim to be the closest to Him. In Jesus' day, they were called Pharisees. They were Israel's religious leaders who misrepresented God to the Jewish people. They portrayed God as a legalistic, rule-bound entity that required performance instead of mercy, regulations instead of grace.

While some of these Pharisees had good intentions, many others had political ambitions and loved to be in the limelight. They used their spiritual influence to make others stumble as they blindly followed their spiritual leaders. Jesus loved the Pharisee as much as he loved the prostitute, yet it was the Pharisee who caused Him the most grief. It was the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked openly with scorching words of warning, not the woman at the well.

In their delusions of grandeur, these leaders misled many because they masqueraded as God's children. Jesus made it clear that they were not God's children, but were in fact misrepresenting Him. Jesus came to dismantle all our misconceptions and to reveal what His Father was really like. Jesus told his followers in John 14:9 Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

 If you really want to know what Father is like, all you have to do is look at His Son. All of Jesus acts of compassion and kindness were pure expressions of his Father's true nature.

Today we find that many still struggle with misconceptions of God, especially as Father. Some of us might have had God misrepresented to us by a modern day Pharisee, while others might have had an abusive or emotionally distant earthly father. The good news is that God is not like the Pharisees, and He is not a temperamental father, but is absolutely perfect in every way. And He loves us perfectly.

If you have had God misrepresented to you by somebody, I would encourage you to forgive those who have misled you. Whether they did so intentionally or not, by forgiving them, you break any unhealthy ties that you have with them and you open the door for God to show you what He is really like. He loves you and really is the Father you have been looking for all your life!

Father, I confess that people have misrepresented You to me in the past, but now I want know You for Who You really are. I want to forgive those who have portrayed you falsely and I want to see You as You are, not as I thought You to be. I repent of every lie that I have believed about You. You are not an angry Judge or a legalistic Pharisee, but a loving Father. And You are my Father. Thank you for revealing your true nature to me through the life of Your Son Jesus. In the name of Your beloved Son Jesus I pray, AMEN.
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