Thursday, October 5, 2017

Complexity part 6: Facing issues

Forgiveness is an important part of the Christian creed. Even among those who have a hard time accepting it, like the idea, and want to believe in it. (At least as far as it applies to self, not so much when it applies to others.) Yet, many people seem to believe that forgiveness somehow excuses us from having to face and deal with our complex issues that lead to the actions that we need forgiveness for. That seems to be how many people are applying it at least, if not in actual words. But is this perception true? Well the story of the woman at the well (John 4:1-26) and the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-29) seem to indicate otherwise. In both cases, Jesus puts a proverbial mirror up to their hearts to reveal exactly where they were lacking, and ultimately what they had to deal with. Which begs the question why? This Old Testament passage is a strong clue.

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 
-Numbers 33:55

Forgiveness is of great value in being able to move forward. But that in itself does not prevent these same destructive patterns of behavior from recurring and having a negative impact upon our lives. These issues that we try to avoid often become barbs in our eyes, and thorns in our sides if we don't face them, and eliminate them at the root.

Obviously, the woman at the well looked to relationships for hope, and amassed many ex's; as a result. I'm sure it doesn't take any explanation on how past relationships can become a set of virtual thorns in the side. She would have done well to seek another source of hope. The rich man clearly looked to riches for hope. If the never ending cycle of celebrities dying young has taught us anything, it's that fame, fortune, and achievement are no guarantee for wholeness and peace of mind. We need to seek the eternal wholeness that Jesus offered, not the temporal things of this world. All the things that we try to avoid, stand in the way of finding that completeness. An obstacle that we refuse to acknowledge is no less an obstruction after all.

With that being said, what complex issues are you avoiding? What do you look to for hope other than God himself? What is keeping you static and unchanged? What issue do you need to face to move forward as a disciple.

A person unsatisfied with who they are being consoled by Christ.
click to enlarge

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