A Multilingual Jesus

A Multilingual Jesus

God speaks to some subjectively, and to others objectively, and each often forgets that Jesus is multilingual. Regardless, His subjective love is rooted in objective truth, and He never limits Himself to just one or the other.

When we become so focused on one, to the exclusion of the other, we are not really relating to a complete Jesus. Rather, we often are seeking self affirmation – a Jesus who simply relates to us on our own terms and within the confines of our own comfort zones.

We need each other in the context of the whole Body of Christ if we truly want Jesus as our wonderful and multifaceted Lord and savior – who then transcends our individual limitations.

As I work with fellowships and minister to individuals, I see that an overly subjective perspective (or, if you prefer, “heart” and feelings) eventually becomes mired in unhealthy sentimentality.

Those, however, who are overly objective (“mind” and logic) eventually become mired in a dry impersonality.

When we together find both the subjective and the objective Jesus, however, we find mature health.

Different Spiritual Languages

Each of us will naturally tend to speak in our own God-given spiritual language of the heart or of the mind, and that’s as it should be. But we nonetheless need each other.

In my own life, God has given me a wonderful wife who relates to God very subjectively. He speaks to her through feelings, while I, on the other hand, hear God very logically and rationally.

When we started dating, we almost didn’t make it because I thought my spiritual language was superior to her’s. I kept insisting that she communicate with me about the Lord in my own language.

She, in turn, couldn’t understand that relating to Jesus through my logic and reason, and my need to figure things out, was just as intensely personal and intimate as her way – even though it was very different.

Where she primarily felt the subjective heart of Jesus, I primarily pursued the objective wonder of Jesus – with very different spiritual languages that matched our different natures.

Several months after we started dating, she broke up with me – through my own fault – because of those differences. But the Lord used our time apart to teach us to honor and value our differences, and to start learning to become bilingual.

For me, it was gut wrenching – literally and figuratively! When the Lord finally allowed me to “figure” out what I had done – by not accepting the validity of how God spoke to her and related to her and thinking my way was superior – I was deeply humbled and I asked her to forgive me. Fortunately, she did!

For the subjective “feelers” among us, though, don’t start cheering because your side won! Trust me, I’ve seen too many instances where insisting that everything is about subjective, relational feelings is just as tyrannical and abusive (often in a seemingly sweet but passive-aggressive way) as insisting that Jesus is only about objective truth. Health and maturity in Christ comes through us learning to hear from, and value, each other.

God speaks things that you need to hear, but won’t hear, except through those who’s spiritual language resonates with His objective nature. Likewise, you will hear things that I won’t hear unless I affirm your subjectivity. And when my objectivity finds unity with your subjectivity, we experience Jesus more fully.

Now that we are married, my wife and I laugh over our very different ways of hearing from, and speaking to, the Lord. But we both know, at the core of our beings, that the other’s spiritual language is just as valid and profound as our own. And when Jesus speaks to my wife via subjective feelings, I listen! Likewise, she listens when Jesus speaks to my logic and reason.

You see, the Lord primarily relates to her in a beautiful language of subjective love and feeling. With me, it is through the wonder of objectively understanding Him and His creation.

Yes, I can be subjective and passionate, but the fact remains that Jesus gave me a very different spiritual language than my wife. And yes, she has logic and reason, but that’s not her primary spiritual language. Yet those differences are fascinating, and we complete each other!

Healthy Communities

Like in a marriage, a healthy community of believers must learn to understand and value each other’s different spiritual languages. Only as we develop the ability to truly hear and appreciate one another, and not be threatened or express impatience towards what often seems so “other” and foreign, will we experience all of Jesus – through each other!

Too often, I fear, we turn “church” into isolated enclaves of sameness, where we retreat into our mutually-affirming comfort zones by seeking to related only to those who speak our own spiritual language.

Only as we affirm the different multilingual voices of God in each of us, is He wholly expressed among all of us.

I thank God that I found this in my marriage, and in a fellowship of diverse brothers and sisters who value the fact that Jesus is multilingual.

2 responses

  1. agree!!!! ~ agree!!!! ~ God kicks our butts thru the people He puts in our lives ~ i was married for nine years to an extraordinary woman who was very, very different from me ~ ultimately the marriage didnt work out but i left it a very changed (for the better) person ~ fortunately, you also had the humility to see the value in who your wife is.
    also, sometimes the people we least want to hear from are the ones we need to pay attention to the most ~ God places diversity in our lives as a gift ~ Christians who are convinced that their particular dogma or theology is God’s rock-solid truth leave me very sad ~ my impulse is to get away from them but i know i need to listen to them too.


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