What do you think?  Does familiarity breed contempt?

I can certainly call to mind people for whom this is true.  People who,on closer acquaintance, I came to dislike more and more, rather than grow in affection.

But I can also call to mind great friends, sweet friends, for whom this is absolutely false.  Getting to know them better inspires confidence instead of contempt.  I find myself drawn to love them in increasing measure, warts and all.

What makes the difference?

Sometimes I think as I get to know someone, I see their character and it strikes certain chords in my heart.  My heart either vibrates with resonant tones and I want to hear more, or I experience dissonant tones and plug my ears.

I am a bit fickle in this, admittedly.  At times I resonate with people like me or like I want to be.  Other times I take offense at people who are obviously living in a way I know I should, but am not.  The result will be either to divide from the person, or to go deeper.  It is rare that I want to go deeper with someone who strikes those discordant sounds in my heart – either from true offense or my own sinfulness.

The question then becomes, what will I do with Jesus?  Does familiarity with scripture breed confidence or contempt?  When I am aware of discord between my sinful heart and his righteous desire, do I divide or go deeper?  Will I grow in affection or alarm?

Good questions for me to evaluate:

  • How often do I read the word?
  • How often do I spend time with Jesus?
  • How often do I read his word expecting something?  Expecting to learn and be changed?
  • How often do I welcome the surprise of who he is and who he is calling me to be?
  • And will I go to his word to look for where I just don’t understand him yet?
  • When I see implication for my own life, will I take offense or action?  Will I go deeper or divide?

The answer to these questions defines and limits my experience of Christ in my every day existence.

Do you feel a little distant from God?  Maybe you’ve been dividing and it is time to go deeper.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:8-10

 

 Familiarity Breeds Contempt