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The Rorschach Test

• Greg Boyd

Psychologists use Rorschach tests to reflect what is inside a person. How we see the world and even how we read Scripture works in a similar way.

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Greg introduced a tool (the Rorschach test) that psychologists use to reflect what is inside a person. What it does is present an ambiguous image which gives the viewer the responsibility to make something of it. What we see is partly a function of what we tend to see and focus on in general. So, if we are generally upbeat, optimistic and hopeful, the chances are good that we’ll see something pleasant in the image. The opposite is also true. The principle here is that we reflect what is inside of us onto what is outside of us.

The reason Greg introduced this tool is because the principle applies to how we make our way through complex/ambiguous things like life in general and the Bible in particular. An example of this is found in today’s text. Jesus acknowledged that the Pharisees studied the Scriptures diligently, but because they didn’t have the love of God in their hearts, they were not able to see the love of God and the fulfillment of that love in the Old Testament.

In a similar way, when we have the love of God in us, life will be seen through that lens. Greg challenged us to let the love of God overpower the other things that may reside in our hearts. Some of those things might be hurt from our past, consumerism, violence, sexual issues, selfishness, nationalism or legalism. When we allow the love of God to live in our heart that love comes into conflict with these things and it is up to us to choose love rather than these dangerous ways of viewing the world.

(Greg used a video clip in this sermon. View the original video on YouTube.)

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Sermon Series: Can't Stop the Love

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Focus Scripture:

  • John 5:39-42

    You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

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6 thoughts on “The Rorschach Test

  1. Michelle Laudet, France says:

    Awesome closing to a series that I have loved. I do need to point out: The 4th of July celebrates not the war, nor the killing nor does the birth of our nation assume that we would celebrate that killing. It’s not the killing war part, but the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776. The war actually began a year earlier on April 19th, 1775, at Concord Mass. I always found it admirable that the date chosen wasn’t the beginning of the war, when we started fighting, but the declaration of independence, which wasn’t declaring war, but declaring freedom, right in line with your God’s Kingdom nonviolence. However, if we chose to put the US as an idol next to God then we are in trouble..
    God bless, great message, minus the mixed up history. Hard to keep everything straight 😉 chandeliers etc… 🙂 I’m the same way…my husband when he shaved off his moustache that I begged him to shave off, I missed it…oops.

  2. Teresa says:

    so according to this theory, I’m wondering if it could work both ways…

    If our past colors our reading of scripture, it might also be possible that we can be overly centered on the love and forgiveness OF GOD (and our understanding of what that means) and somehow obscure, not want to hear or ignore the passages on his judgment/eternal torment by filtering out words like “away from me I never knew you” and ” they will never enter the kingdom of heaven” “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” etc.

    Important considerations for all of us, i guess. .. more reason to focus on the Holy Spirit, prayer (individual and corporate) and doing what our Father calls us to do in relationship with him moment by moment in reverent fear…

  3. John says:

    It’s not as good that the WHC vids don’t embed on site like FB. People don’t take the time to go to the link, but will hit a play button.

  4. Just like many other “holidays” (e.g. Christmas) we “celebrate” in America, there is always some “dark history” n the origins. We just got to look at the “positive” of them and see how we can bring the “Light”! For example, I once shared about the “dependence on God” during one year celebrating “Independence Day” and “freedom from the slavery of the bondage of sin” on an email-website I shared amongst friends. I just wanted to challenge their “way of thinking” as Greg did in this message. It’s a daily challenge!

    In lite of this topic, here is a video I just watched with my 2 1/2 year old nephew that I thought of the “Rorschach test” in Greg’s share…

    I Love My Lips Silly Song

    What do you see?…lol!!!

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"Thank you all the way from Oregon. I deeply appreciate being shepherded by Pastor Greg and everyone else on the panels. You are a rare find in the church nowadays. Tackling tough questions with humility and a kingdom perspective. It has been life changing for me in such tumultuous times."

– Heather, from Oregon