Here is a short meditation as I have been thinking about 1 John 1 and reading the poem, Cleanse the Thoughts by Walter Bruegemann
Why do I try to hide
When I am already fully known by You?
My secrets ooze out of the pores of my life,
despite my best efforts to keep them hidden.
My shame keeps me
from the help that I so desperately need.
Your wooing voice cries out to me,
Allow yourself to be known.
Join in the celebration with the saints,
our blood-bought victory,
our bondage-breaking liberation,
our friendship-restoring redemption.
Allow yourself to be known
And to be loved
as a less-than-perfect
image-bearer of the King.”
After reading Luke 6:17-45 yesterday, I pulled out the massive first volume on Luke by Darrell Bock. Following are some nuggets I discovered:
- Luke 6:21a The consequence of being among the poor is “hunger and sadness.” Darrell Bock 575
- Quote from Goppelt, “The hungry are men who both outwardly and inwardly are painfully deficient in the things essential to life as God meant it to be, and who since they cannot help themselves, turn to God on the basis of His promise.”
- Bock’s summary of the verse: “Blessed are you who sense your lack and depend on God, for God shall accept and reward you in the consummation.” 576
- Luke 6:22 from Bock, “Blessed are you who suffer scorn and pain as you identify with God and depend on him, for you shall be fully welcomed by him at his table and shall rejoice.” 577
- Luke 6:22-23 “The disciple is treated as evil, unclean, and thus as a person with whom one does not associate.” Total rejection. 579
- Luke 6:24-26 Warning about trusting “too greatly in wealth, comfort, popularity and possessions.” 582
- “An attitude of independence from God is the road to destruction. Its reward is fleeting, limited to the present.” 582
- Luke 6:24 “What is condemned is a misplaced focus that zeroes in on this life and its possessions without concern for God’s desires or fellow humans. The danger of succumbing to things of only temporal value is all too real and deceptive.” 583
- Luke 6:25 “The joy of possessions now will become the pain of what is lost forever.” 585 Darrell Bock
- Luke 6:26 Warning “not to fall into the trap of courting acceptance for one’s message at the expense of truthfulness. . . Popularity at the expense of being God’s faithful representative is disastrous.” 585
- Luke 6:27-38
- Mercy should produce a hesitation to judge others. Luke 6:27-38
- Mercy and generosity belong together
- The disciples are to “make clear what the justice of God would mean for one who steadfastly refused to listen to God; but they were to seek to benefit their enemies as much as possible.” 591
- Luke 6:28 supernatural love being discussed here since it reverses “all natural instincts.” 590
- Luke 6:29a “Love is available, vulnerable, and subject to repeated abuse.”
- Turning the other cheek “is not so much an active pursuit as it is a natural exposure when one reaches out to those who have contempt.” In other words, we continue “to minister at the risk of further persecution.” 591
- Luke 6:30b “To commit to a radical love, one must see that God honors such a commitment to reflect his grace (6:35-36).”
- Luke 6:31 “not simply a command to avoid unfair treatment that one might not wish for oneself. Rather, it is a command to give the same sensitive consideration to others that one might want others to give.” 596
- “treat others with the respect and sensitivity that one would wish from them.” 597
- “As you wish to be treated with sensitivity to your preferences, so treat others with sensitivity to their preferences.” 598 (“this does not involve moral areas where God’s desire is clear”)
- Luke 6:34 “One should give without strings attached.” 601
- Luke 6:37-38 When we are merciful, we are hesitant to condemn and quick to forgive. 605 (my summary of his words)
- Luke 6:37 Jesus warns against a harshness that holds onto an unforgiving attitude and ceases to hold out hope. 607 (my summary again)
One thing I might add, “I don’t want to do it again.”
I love you–awkward and problematic
I am sorry–troublesome and maybe the hardest two and a half words
I was wrong–the hardest three words you will ever have to say
What are the elements of a good apology? Let me suggest we need
Much to think about this morning from Genesis 50:15-21. I am deeply impacted by the failure of Joseph’s brothers to deal with their sin and their inability to receive forgiveness.
In going back over the story, I do not find any confession or acknowledgment of their wrong doing until here in chapter 50. Argument from silence? But, for 17 years they had lived in Egypt (47:28) and yet they still feared the revenge of Joseph. (Reminds me of the sad, sad story of King David in 1 Kings 2:1-9) Did they make up what Jacob said? They seemed to minimize even in their confession (avoiding the words sin and evil in their confession to Joseph) and seemingly trying to manipulate him by saying we are servants of your father Jacob and we are your servants. Had they ever talked about their sins of envy and anger?
Well, I have times of obedience in this area but in one relationship, I know I have yet to fully acknowledge my wrong doing to the other person and that is where God is speaking to me.
With regard to Joseph, once again I am amazed by his view of God in these verses and summarized so well in 45:4-8, “you sold me but God sent me.” Actually, he says God sent me three times. His gracious attitude reminds me of the Prodigal Father in Luke and of 1 John 4:18, perfect love casts out all fear.” I want this view of God, this perspective that allows me to see God at work even in troubling circumstances.
Finally, I am challenged by the forgiveness of Joseph–sometimes I say I forgive but I don’t really want to bless the one who has hurt me, much less comfort and speak kindly to them as did Joseph to his brothers.
Usually, I read about why we should offer or give forgiveness but this post from the Henri Nouwen society on Jan 25, 2010, is on receiving forgiveness.
There are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight giving seems to be harder, it often appears that we are not able to offer forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? It is very hard to say, “Without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. Only you can set me free.” That requires not only a confession that we have hurt somebody but also the humility to acknowledge our dependency on others. Only when we can receive forgiveness can we give it.
To be honest, I picked up The Process of Forgiveness by William Menninger because his name sounded familiar and on the back cover was written, “Going beyond Lewis Smede’s classic Forgive and Forget” Now I am not sure he is beyond Smedes who is one of my favorites on this type of book but it was not a bad read.
A couple of useful things. Useful chapters on the “Stages of Forgiveness.” Since I have studied a bit about the enneagram, his nine chapters on the challenges of forgiveness for each of the nine enneagram types was unique. Ends with chapters on lectio divina, compassionate meditation, centering meditation and focusing.