Friday, September 30, 2011

Come Heal with Me

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

Notes from the Book:  Morris Wee teels that one day his theological professor said to the class, "About fifty percent of all human misery is caused by the violation of this commandment." That seems an extreme statement -- "about fifty percent ..." The students did not believe it, but after a score of years i the ministry, Dr. Wee says he now knows it is so. Sit with me in my study in a church on a main thoroughfare of a great city. Listen to my telephone, ready my mail, talk with many who come in person. You, too, will begin to believe the professor was right.

Adultery is violation of the marriage vow of faithfulness to each other.
It is wrong because God said it is wrong.
It is wrong because it brings further wrong. Sorrow is a wound.
[Jesus] hated the sin but never ceased to love the sinner.

[In John 8]: Now comes one of the grandest scenes in the Bible. The matchless Saviour is alone with the woman. Not one harsh word comes from His lips. Not even a look of rebuke. Instead, gently and tenderly He says, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."

Mother's Notes:  SR (sexual relations) between married person and another not their spouse. Voluntary SR between unmarried.

Psalm 32 & 51
Proverbs 5,6,7

1 Co 6: Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

Cover of darkness

My Notes: I turned to this portion of the book with trepidation. My father, as much as I loved him, committed adultery against my mother (and, subsequently, his children). He--like the woman in John 8--made amends with God, but the damage was severe. My mother, living in a small community where she and Daddy reared us--was forced to hold her shoulders back and keep her chin forward in the midst of personal heartache and sorrow.

"Sorrow is a wound" the author wrote.

Mother circled the words. How well she knew. But her grace and dignity taught me more about the person of Jesus than a month of Sundays sitting on a hard pew. Her forgiveness taught me how to love more deeply.

And my father's sin taught me that, without Jesus, we are all sinners--the adulterer and the gossiper.

"We are all sinners," I heard a convict-turned-prisoner once say. "Some of us rob liquor stores and some of us tell little white lies. But we are all sinners."

When I die, I wonder, what will people remember about me? Mother was far from perfect (actually, she was pretty close to perfect ... but by my standards) but her imperfections are not what I remember. What I think of, when I remember her--which is constantly--is the faith by which she lived her life. My father, even after the divorce, called her "a fine lady."

Even when I think of Daddy, it's not of his mistake, but his work for the Lord as a repentant and saved man.

When I think of them both, I remember her sitting by his hospital bed during his last days. Quietly they watched an old movie while their children took a break from death and dying. Not a lot of words were spoken, she told me later, but not a lot of words were needed.

When my father died, Mother wrote a letter and slipped it into his suit coat pocket he wore to the grave. In it she wrote: While our marriage did not survive, I will always love you as the man who gave me the two greatest gifts of my life, my children.

When I die ... what people remember about me depends on what I do now. Not what I have done ... but what I do.

Photo: Bracker (1924) Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery 
art by M Leone Bracker (1885 - 1937)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Come Heal with Me

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Notes from the Book (God's Psychiatry): God made us to live with each other, and the very process of living requires certain rules. God laid down five rules for us to live with each other. The first one is: "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13).

This applies (first) to our own selves. We did not create our lives, and we do not have the authority to destroy our lives. The very fact of life carries with it an inescapable obligation to live.

Murder, too, is prohibited.

Also forbidden are the destructive emotions of men: fear, hate, jealousy, anger, envy, anxiety, excessive grief, and the others. To counteract them requires developing within our lives the healing and life-giving emotions such as faith, hope, laughter, creativeness, and love. Love, for example, is a process of giving.

Positively, it means to live and help live.

Mother's Notes in the Margins:  Mother's mind was ablaze with questions, it seems. She wrote:

have the car checked
war & self-defense
mercy killing by doctor
capital punishment
kill by our words
God values life

My Notes:  What stands out to me more than anything in this portion of the book is one word Mother circled: anxiety. My mother tended to be an anxious person. She worried about things ... try hard as she may not to. She knew God didn't want her to worry, but she did. Her worry came naturally. She worried about my father (who worked in law enforcement) when he was out working a case. She worried about her children (with good reason ... we tended to keep her knees calloused until the day she died). She worried about her grandchildren (who also kept her knees bent).

One thing I can know for sure, when Mother died, she left all her anxieties in this world for the joys of heaven. As my brother and I sat vigilant by her deathbed, two people called and told me the same story. Just recently, they said, Mother had expressed her desire to leave the worries of this life for the face-to-face presence of Jesus. She loved her Jesus. More than she loved us. And that's okay by me.

Still, for a year and a half I've struggled with Mother's death. Before I had two seconds to mourn her, another tragedy hit my family that has rocked me far more than losing Mother or Daddy. Their deaths make sense in the light of this. We live our lives and, if we are Christians, we die to gain our reward.

So, for a year and a half, I've been tossed like a ship on the Galilee during a storm. Then, about two weeks ago, I admitted something out loud that I'd only toyed with in my mind. "I don't want to die," I said to a friend. "I just don't want to live any more."

Just saying it out loud ... and the healing began. Don't ask me why. I don't know.

I do know enough to know that death by my own hand is not what God has in  mind for me. His desire is that I lean into Him and trust Him with ... my life ... and my death, which will be at His command. Not mine.

Meanwhile, I have a life to live. I have a life to give. 

Father God ... let the healing not only begin, but continue in the days, the weeks, and the months ahead.

"I am ready."

[photo by Eva Marie Everson]