What is our image of God? What do we feel about him? Do we believe he is truly good? Are we able to connect with him in any personal way. Judith Hougen in Tranformed into Fire (p 122) says:
“… the foundational question each of us must ask [is]: Do I believe God is good? We all know the “right” response is to say, “Yes, of course, the Bible clearly tells me God is good.” But what about the God we relate to, not intellectually but actually? Do you ever fear hearing from God in prayer because you’re afraid of what he might say to you? Do you move through your life sensing that God is disappointed in you or unhappy with you? Or do you quietly steel yourself toward God because you sense at some point he’s going to lower the boom on you for all your wrongs? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions then you do not believe God is entirely good. You have a distorted view of God.
Judith MacNutt from Christian Healing Ministries talked of the need for our image of God to be healed (Emerging Leaders in Healing conference at Falls Church, Virginia, May 2. 2005). She spoke of how we’ve come to have a distorted image of God and what some of those distortions looked like. Some of these distortions are formed by our sitting in the pew and finding God to be rather distant and formal; by the interpretations of scripture which tend to put God in a box of our own or someone else’s understanding; by our experience with authority figures such as our parents, teachers, priests, pastors, etc; by the mystery of suffering or death where we somehow believe God has sent the sickness to punish us. Judith really hit hard at this when she asked, “Would a parent send a child leukemia or death simply because they were fractious or rebellious? How dare we think God would send sickness to one of his children!” I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11 about the ridiculousness of parents giving their child a stone when he asks for bread. Of course they will give good things to their child. In the same way God, our heavenly Father, gives good things.
Some other distorted views of God Judith talked about included the “Accountant God”, the “Gotcha God”, the “Sitting Bull God” (morally neutral and apathetic), the “Philosopher God” (busy with creation and not interested in our problems), and the “Unpleasable God” (the “Pharoah God”).
As I’ve prayed with people invariably at some point in their healing journey the issue of their image of God comes up. Whatever their experiential view of their parents is that is also their view of God, the two are usually identical. So their healing journey involves a process of separation; to separate God from their view of their parents such that they can begin to see God for who he truly is and relate to him free from their relationship with their parents. Sometimes the separation is dramatic, sometimes one that slowly evolves as healing continues.
When the issue comes up I pray a prayer of separation according to however God leads me to pray. The prayer itself is fluid. Common elements include cutting between the two (parents and God) in the power of the Holy and inviting Jesus to come stand between. I also usually pray that Jesus will reveal to the person whatever he would like them know. Quite often the person receives insight and understanding they’ve never known before. Sometimes there’s a huge sigh of relief because Jesus reveals himself to them interiorly in such a way that they are able to finally relax. Jesus is SO different to anything the person has ever previously known about God.
God bless you today and bring healing to your image of God, however that needs to come about.