We need more than forgiveness…

Aug 13, 2018

So much of Christian teaching is about the need for the forgiveness of sins, as if that constitutes the whole of Jesus’s teachings and actions during His ministry.[1] I am not saying that we don’t need forgiveness of sins; we need not only to own what we have done and said, but we need to forgive ourselves, and to seek God’s forgiveness. We also need to forgive other people for being as burdened by sin as we are. Maybe they haven’t committed the same ones that we have, but whatever they have done also needs forgiveness.

There are other things that we need, too, before we can truly walk with Christ as His disciples. Looking to His ministry, we can see that He healed any number of people of their infirmities and illnesses, the blind, the lame, the woman who had bled for years. We, too, need healing of our physical conditions that bind us or limit us, and of our emotional pain and suffering that we carry, too. We need to lift these up to God for healing, so that we can be free of their limitations. And sometimes, God won’t offer healing, but gives us the ability to live peacefully with our limitations.  We need to be healed of everything that would limit our ability to serve the Lord.

We also need to be whole people, no longer self-limited by the culture or what our families taught us. We need to express all that we are, to stand tall as we were created to be. We need to be whole. We need to express our whole selves, our souls in this world.

We need to be freed from our slavery to the world, to our own culture. That bondage is often so subtle, since we were brought up in this culture, that we don’t even know we are slaves to it and not yet disciples of Christ, until we are free of its influence. Like the Israelites we need to be brought out of slavery to the world so that we can live in the “land,” the spaciousness that God promised us. We need to be free.

We need to be able to see and to hear the truth which is very hard to do when we are seeing and sensing everything through our own personal lens. Jesus often said something to this effect: “Let those who can hear, hear and those who can see, see.”[2] Until we live in the mind of Christ, we are limited by our life experiences in this world and all it has taught us. It’s not just the world’s or the culture’s lens that limits us, it is our own personal lens, too. As long as we’re looking through our own pain and suffering out into the world, we will only see what we expect to see. If you’re like me, and your personal lens is that it won’t work out for me—whatever is happening right now—then you and I will not be able to see what is really going on. We’ll miss the blessings and the grace of God. You won’t see God’s invitation to follow Him or to go deeper with Him. We need to see and evaluate everything with the mind of Christ, so that we can see the actual truth.

 

The last thing we need is to return to our own true home in God. We were made to live in Him, in His arms, seeing the way He sees, expressing the way He created us to be. We will long for our home until we finally get there. Another way to look at this is from Genesis 1:27: we were each created in His image. There is something of God in each of us which lies in us as potential until we begin to engage with Him and allow Him to lead us for the rest of our lives. Then we will reside in Him in with the fruit of the Spirit coming forward in us: peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

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Questions to ponder over the week: Have I owned all that I have said and done? All that was done to me? Have I asked God to heal all the pain and suffering I’ve endured? Do I live in truth? The truth about myself? The truth about God? The truth about this world? Does my whole life revolve around God and His purpose for me? Am I fulfilling His purpose in the world?

 

[Just work with the questions that seem to resonate or disturb you.]

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Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who embrace themselves and their neighbors. May we be healed of all our pain and suffering. May we always live in the truth.

 

An Invitation to All of Us to Pray for our nation: for mercy and compassion for all, for community values and a deep sense of caring for each other. For peace. For love to reign. For a return to the love of God. For us to have one nation under God” as our motto again. If many of us would pray these things for our country, we could change the world. Invite your friends and neighbors to pray with us. in love and faith, Pat

 

See the archives of my blog here on this page, arranged by date and by topic.

 

[1] I am indebted to Marcus Borg and his book, “Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Power and How they Can Be Restored,” especially his chapter on Sin, p. 143ff. He got me thinking about all that we need to change in order to be a disciple of Christ.

[2] Matthew 13:9-16, Mark 4:9, Mark 8:18

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