It’s can be difficult to fully understand God’s complete and total love for us. However, understanding His love for us can lead to true transformation, including how we treat other people. Dr. Timothy Jennings says that there is a direct relationship between our understanding of God and the people we are becoming.
“If we worship a God who is the source of inflicted pain and suffering, this causes us to develop fear and insecurity. We develop theologies to protect and hide ourselves from God. This changes us from becoming benevolent beings to self-centered beings in order to protect ourselves and to feel safe.”
“But when we worship a loving, benevolent God, it fires different pathways in our minds. We calm our fear circuits, we become more others-centered and giving. We act differently towards others because we feel loved.”
Dr. Jennings explains how having a wrong understanding of who God is, or god-construct, can actually cause people to hurt others in the name of their god.
“People who worship these authoritarian gods can do terrible things to other people in the name of their gods. They can do horrible things to people. We see it throughout history. Even Christians burned people at the stake because they had a wrong picture of who God was. And if we have a wrong picture of God, we likely have a wrong picture of ourselves. The brain is firing out of fear rather than out of love.”
According to Dr. Jennings, the key to spiritual and emotional health is to grasp the truth of how God loves us so that our hearts can direct our minds.
“The heart is your inmost secret self, your core identity, your character, the things that make your unique self. Your brain is simply the machine, the hardware upon which your individuality is currently operating. Your unique identity is different than everyone else’s – that’s your heart – regardless of how your brain presents yourself to the public.”
Timothy R. Jennings, MD has been in private practice as a Christian psychiatrist and certified master psychopharmacologist since 1997. He has spent more than two decades researching the interface between biblical principles and modern brain science and is a highly sought after lecturer and international speaker, and the author of The God-Shaped Brain.