Friday, March 15, 2013

Walk with Dogs: Sin and Repentance

This morning while taking the dogs on their daily constitutional, I meditated on sin and repentance.

The word sin congures up images of absolute:
Bad
God's Mad
Black
Separated from God
Alone

Early in my 20's I became acquainted with Grace. A word thrown around a lot in churches, but not really defined. "Unmerited Favor" is the usual definition. "Not getting what I deserve" is also a classic, but those definitions are the skin of Grace. It was when I learned the definition of sin and repentance that I found freedom.

Setting aside the cultural and political definitions of the word, I went to the Hebrew and Greek Lexicons. "Sin" at it's core, simply means: miss the way, go wrong, to err, be mistaken, (and my favorite) miss the mark or target.

The application is simply, I miss God's fullness when I choose for myself.  I choose a candy bar for lunch over a salad, I am missing the target of health. If I speak an unkind word about someone instead of praying for them, I am missing the target of relationship and possible damage is the result.

Sin cannot exist in a Christian discussion without its counterbalance: Repentance.

Visions of tears, grand words of regret and prostrating at the front of the church come to mind. All theatrical and overwhelming. I turn to the Lexicons and again I find beautiful simplicity: regret, turn back, to change one's mind for the better.

Freedom came when I changed my mind about a choice, admitted my mistake to a loving God and purposed to learn the lesson. Sometimes it is as simple as a candy bar or an unkind word. Other times the action is bigger but the point is-big or small- a change of mind about the aim. The best companion we have for this is Holy Spirit, who we are sealed with when we accept Jesus.

Recovering from an eating disorder for 21 years has been a long journey. Often I would recognize my off-target eating and change my mind about it. The recovery gained traction when I accepted Holy Spirit's help to implement change. Part of Grace is accepting the partnership between God and I. It is only with Divine help that true change can happen. Sin and Repentance need no longer be extreme or alienating words.  With Jesus, sin and repentance are the facts of true change that lead to the great freedom of Grace.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Walk with Dogs-Jesus is Everything

Taking the dogs on their morning constitution I pondered an often used cliche, "Jesus Is My Everything."

A cynical giggle started the conversation. Holy Spirit was quick to ask why I was laughing. Thoughts stopped for a moment and listened to the challenge: what does that mean?

The Sunday School Jesus was not my everything. He didn't remove me from harmful situations. He didn't change people around me. Life was like Alice's Wonderland and Sunday School Jesus didn't fit there.

Pausing for the dogs to make their deposit I realized; as I grew up in Wonderland, Sunday School Jesus became a character, but the Real Jesus became my companion. It is through this Real Jesus that I have access to an unconditionally loving Father. Heavenly Father is ever present, knows my every need and provides for it perfectly. He never leaves or forgets me. He looks upon me as a work good of art, pleasant and valuable.

Through this Real Jesus I have access to Holy Spirit. A presence that is unconditionally nurturing and affirming. A voice who whispered words of bravery to my heart. A Teacher who challenges and patiently instructs me in the ways of constructive life. The Spirit grants me strength as I walk away from destructive examples and methods of living. A constant Presence of companionship and regeneration. A reason to live with a purpose to fulfill.

Because Jesus voluntarily gave His life for the cost of my wrongs, no longer do I need to feel alone and lost. I can boldly come before the throne to a place I am accepted. I have light for understanding and decisions. As the sweet Spirit and I finished the mile walk the truth was cemented and I giggled with delight.: Jesus is my Everything.