Caricatures are unique among artistic expressions. They give you just enough of a picture of someone for you to recognize who the artist intends you to see but there are clear distortions and exaggerations that fit the emotional response the artist intends to illicit.
Usually, you have seen a true picture of the person in the caric What would happen if you based your idea about who a person really is based on caricatures of that person? Depending on the caricatures you believe, you may end up villainizing a person unjustly or blindly glorfiying a person.
One way this happens is when we decide that political officials are all good or all bad. In reality, politicians are real people who are susceptible to the pressures that come with their office. To categorize them as good or bad is neither helpful nor true.
What about in church? Have you ever seen a pastor or a pastor’s wife so revered that it seems as though they are God themselves? This unhealthy allegiance to flawed human beings leads to congregations were people are unwilling to examine what the leaders say to ensure that if it lines up with Scripture. This leads to a culture that honors people more than it honors the Lord. It is also harmful to the leaders it sets up as gods because there is no way they can live up to such a high standard of perfection so they ended up living a public life and a private life rather than having the transparency and honesty that God desires for all of us in a community of faith.
But, the most damning caricature of all is the one that we’ve developed about God. The scary thing is, all of us have one! None of us knows God completely as He is but all of us have some idea about God that we carry around with us. Religious academics talk about systematic theology—the orderly alignment of what a person believes about God. Typically, a systematic theology is written by a well-educated religious scholar to help train people what they should believe. But, did you know that each of us is our own theologian?
We all have ideas and assumptions about who we are and who God is and how the universe around us works. The problem is that these ideas and assumptions are highly subjective and therefore flawed. “Your truth” and “my truth” may not be “the truth” as declared by God.
If you are wrong in your assumptions, there is literally hell to pay. Is that a chance you’re willing to take? I’m not! The cure is for each of us to be humble enough to recognize that there can only be one God and that we are not Him. We have to decide that we will humbly sit at His feet and allow Him to re-educate us or we will bump our heads going through life with harmful and errant misconceptions about Who God is, who we are and how life works.