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Denial’s effect on the world…

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Devotional Thought of the Day:

14 They have treated My people’s brokenness superficially, claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.  Jeremiah 6:14  HCSB

993    You reason well … coldly: how many motives for abandoning the task! And some of them are apparently conclusive. I see without any doubt that you have reasons—but you are not right.

For decades the Catholic church has ignored a crisis in their midsts, and now many are trying to avoid the blame that their denial of the issues has caused.  They are not the only ones, there are a few protestant mega-churches now learning the high cost of denial of the problems of sin and immorality

You see the high cost of denial as well, as churches that were once 10 or 15 times their present attendance are floundering, struggling not ot close. But for the decades in decline, denial was the passive strategy, or implementing programs that promised great success, but didn’t account for denial’s apathetic response.

I’ve seen it in personal relationships as well, from abusive relationships to neglect, from drug and alcohol addiction to work problems.  We deny our problems, we present that all is at peace, and the pain and trauma results in our heart and soul being destroyed. 

We have all the reasons to engage in denial, we can rationalize it out with the best of them.  We can claim we are powerless, we can claim we can’t do better, we can find theologians and pastors who will enable our denial.

But the denial is like covering up an infection without neutralizing it. It will rot, and build up pressure underneath the surface.  It will eventually have to be dealt with, but by the time it is, the results are even more damaging, the healing takes longer, significantly longer.

So how do we overcome the temptation to enter into denial? 

First, we have to recognize it. We have to realize we are running away and turning our back on the problem. 

Second, we have ot trust in God’s ability to sustain us, to make things work out for our best, even in the midst of the pain of dealing with the situation.  That trust grows as we pray, as we spend time in deep conversation, seeking God’s care, getting to be familiar with Him, and knowing His will.

What happens then is what Luther often mentioned, when he explains prayer, noting that God would see His will worked out whether we pray or not, but that we pray that we know it comes in our lives.

We pray so we remember He is here, so we are assured of His love, and His active care. Knowing His presence, the anxiety of dealing with the problem fades. W can take on the issue head on, we can deal with the problem.  We can even handle it with great tenderness, patience, and love.

And life finds healing, and revival, and hope. 

Lord Jesus, help us not hide our problems and the major issues in our lives, but run with them to you.   AMEN!

 

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 2307-2309). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Great Scandal, the incredible gift we can give God!

f68f6ad20bfbc6d47f4c6aab419b44e6e2044849510c043d7b02e848674b9064_1Devotional thought for our seemingly broken days:

Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him, but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him  Matthew 21:21-32

God’s patience calls forth in us the courage to return to him, no matter how many
mistakes and sins there may be in our life.

The Christian existence, therefore, includes this as well: that we, out of the distress of our own darkness, like the man Job, dare to speak to God. It also means that we do not think we could present to God only half of our existence and must spare him all the rest because it might grieve him. No—to him in particular we may and must carry the total burden of our existence in complete honesty.

If someone did a translation of the quote from the Bible in red above today, we would have to replace tax collectors and prostitutes with some other terms.  Simply put, those jobs aren’t as demeaned and distasteful as they once were.  They aren’t considered evil, so who do we choose?  Whose very identity and actions not only are scandalous, but disgusting?

What if it was those men who were accused of sexual harassment?  What if it were those in the media than manipulated with false news?  What if it were the out-of-control politicians that we all want to hold up to ridicule, as if that would change their attitudes and behaviors.  What if it were those who had committed atrocities with guns, or bombs?

The scandal of the Church being the church is that every sinner, even these are welcome in its midst.  That we will care for such, that we won’t just try to rehabilitate them, we will work to reconcile them to God, and even to those they have hurt. 

Jesus words to those who thought they were righteous, that they were holier than the rest of the sinners is that these disgusting, sickening, evil people are more likely to trust and depend on God, and therefore come to repentance than we are. 

They did in John the Baptist’s day they still do. And it is what we need to do, desperately need to do.

Unless we realize our brokenness, damaged by our own sin, and by original sin which left us helpless against temptation, unless we realize our sin is as scandalous as those mentioned above, how can we return to Him?  How can we out of the distress of realizing our own inadequacies cry out for mercy to God?  How can we, in Benedict’s words, give more than our “good stuff”, and hand over to Him, the offering of our sin and shame.  he has been waiting patiently to deal with that crap in our life, and to offer it to Him may be the greatest sacrifice we have

Yes Lord, here it is, my life, broken by sin, crushed by temptation, ridiculed by guilt and shame.  Here it is, Lord Jesus, create something with it…

This is our prayer in advent, that like Isaiah we would cry for God to rip open the heavens and do what He longs to do, because He loves us and calls us to be His own

It is a costly gift, this gift of our brokenness.  It will truly take courage to give Him, it will truly take faith and trust, 

It will be worth it… when we see what God creates… 

 

Pope Francis. A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. Ed. Alberto Rossa. New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013. Print.

Ratzinger, Joseph. Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Ed. Irene Grassl. Trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Print.

 

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