“So what you’re saying is…”
Early in our marriage, this quickly became my husband’s least favorite phrase. In the middle of an argument, he would tell me that I was misunderstanding what he was trying to say and I would respond with, “So what you’re saying is I’m stupid?”
We have all put words into someone else’s mouth at some point. Usually, what we are actually voicing is our own fear or insecurity. If we have an area that we feel vulnerable in, we assume someone is attacking us even when they’re not. Since I was several years younger than my husband, I worried that he saw me as lacking in some sort of sage wisdom or intellect, so I would get defensive when he talked about my lack of understanding.
Maybe in your past, someone has made you feel ugly or unworthy, and now it’s easy for you to jump to, “So what you’re saying is I’m not good enough for you?” Or maybe you’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and your heart still hears words that aren’t actually being spoken. “So what you’re saying is I’m crazy?” Jumping to the worst case scenario is an easy trap for us to fall into, and in doing so, we project our fears onto someone else’s words.
How many times do we unknowingly do that with God’s words?
I once expressed to God that there were places in scripture that made me feel condemned or unfit for His promises. I confessed that certain words would send me spiraling back into the guilt I had struggled with before He had convicted me of His truth and grace. He revealed that I was interpreting scripture through the context of my own fears, so I asked Him to give me discernment.
This past Sunday, our pastor was preaching on Genesis 17—God Almighty. I kept getting caught up in verse 1: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.”
My mind clung to the very last part of that verse. Be blameless.
“So what you’re saying is I have to be perfect.”
In the middle of the sermon, God reminded me that I had asked Him to reveal His truth and grace in the scriptures, and He gave me the following revelation:
Blameless does not mean perfect. It means without blame. What I am saying is, “Walk before Me, believing that you are free from the reign of sin and the weight of shame. Whose worthiness are you walking in? Not yours, but Mine. You walk without blame because My Son took yours to the cross with Him.”
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24
When we dive into God’s Word, we can’t bring our past with us. If we do, whether we are clinging to false teaching or wrong understanding, we place our own truths over His.
I encourage you to ask God to cleanse your heart of any lies you are holding onto so that when you open your Bible, you can avoid putting words into His mouth. Replace, “So what you’re saying is…” with, “Lord, what are you saying?” and allow Him to share the fullness of His glory and truth with you.