Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 5) Mercy … January 3rd. 2016

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Jesonian hands

Our greatest fear is having our weakness exposed to others. To avoid this horror, we pursue positive attitudes, lies, anger, defensiveness, deceit, prayer and self-righteousness.

Yes, the absence of candor is the open door to deception. And when we are dishonest about our true selves, we have the ugly by-product of prejudice, which robs us of our better nature.

Why do we become prejudiced? In order to keep the attention away from the beam sticking out of our own eye, we try to bring focus to the speck in our brother’s eye.

So I can tell you of a certainty, honesty has a little brother and its name is mercy.

Without honesty, we feel no need whatsoever to be merciful, but spend all of our time drafting plans to escape notice of our vice. And maybe it’s not even a vice–perhaps it’s just a piece of us that requires grace instead of criticism.

It is time to become reasonable.

If the Gospel of Jesus does not afford us the humanity to confess our faults one to another, then it merely is a temporary pain-killer, or worse, a dangerous diversion.

Here’s a beautiful process–maybe better phrased, a way of thinking that actually produces thought:

  1. I have a weakness.
  2. You have a weakness.
  3. We have weaknesses.
  4. Therefore, we choose mercy.

If I do not believe I have a weakness, I certainly will not tolerate your peccadilloes. And if I discover that you are weak and I am unwilling to admit my weakness, then I will focus on yours and attack you for having it.

Thus, mercy is avoided, ignored and cast aside.

A world without mercy is always a lie, ready to be prosecuted.

For it will only take you a few moments after you meet me to discover that I have weaknesses, whether I confess them or not. It will not take me any longer to uncover yours.

So the only advantage we have is to get in front of these revelations by admitting that we have weaknesses, encouraging others to make the same confession, and then humbly allowing mercy to do its healing work through understanding and the passage of time.

Nothing happens until we realize how weak we are.

Strength is not owned; it is given by humbly admitting weakness.

 

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Confessing … November 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XXX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

For the sake of this essay and season of confession, let me refer to it as “Thanksbumping.”

It’s that uncomfortable moment when older folks such as myself decide to openly share some insight with younger folks who absolutely have no interest in the input whatsoever.

It is tricky. It can slip up on you when you merely believe you’re sharing your heart, and almost always is interpreted as intrusion.

I thought I had outsmarted “Thanksbumping” this year by controlling the amount of time I spent with my family, while also promising myself to keep my convictions to my own inner pleasure.

I did really well the first night, but at the second joining together, subjects came up for which I had great passion.

I spoke up.

It did not go well.

I quickly retreated and spent the rest of the evening trying my best to imitate invisibility.

At the Thanksgiving meal the next day I was much better, and had learned my lesson.

But I must apologize to myself, to my Father in heaven and to those who once sat under my tutelage, for accidentally continuing to “tutle.”

Before you become self-righteous and insist that you never do such a thing, let me gently and mercifully explain that our children perceive any intervention which they have not requested as a breach of their territorial waters.

So as I confess this to you–that I did better at “Thanksbumping” this year but am still not without reproach–let me give you three hints to keep you out of this iniquity:

  1. Avoid giving opinions without hearing a question coming your way.
  2. Don’t offer contrary views in a climate where well-established ideas are being revered.
  3. And certainly, don’t attempt to do any sideline parenting.

It may be difficult to succeed at being a bystander when you feel as if you should be included and treasured, but it is the nature of our species.

It is the changing of the guard.

And to have a good Thanksgiving, you must make sure you dodge the “bumping.”

 

confessing chairs

 

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Slick and Slack … December 4, 2012

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Jon Signing

Sin or hypocrisy. Which one is worse? Or maybe those two words are too old-fashioned or medieval for you.  How about error or cover-up?

The trouble with human beings is that we are more comfortable with hypocrisy than we are with sin.

Not so with God.

Matter of fact, we are told that He does not look on the outward appearance but instead, does an inventory of the human heart. People, on the other hand, don’t hang around long enough to register our intentions or faltering, but instead, leap upon the action and focus on the dynamic.

The end result? We are taught from a very early age that it’s better to lie our way out of a situation than it is to own up to our mistakes and move forward in the learning process granted to us through the experience.

It really is the difference between cutting yourself slack and cutting yourself slick. When we cut ourselves slick, we come to the decision that we have done something that is not particularly savory to the appetite of the human family so we quickly begin to find some deceptive way to avoid being exposed. Matter of fact, I think some folks would say it’s just human nature to hide under our “fig leaves” of misconception. When we cut ourselves slack, we’re using the God-given intelligence we were provided to choose the moment to unveil our own inadequacy and confess it before someone else puts a spotlight on us and turns us into the next sideshow.

This leads to an interesting possibility–for we are told that “if we confess our faults one to another, we can be healed.” So does that mean the lack of confession produces illness? It sure appears to do so, doesn’t it–whether it’s emotional turmoil, mental distress or our actual immune system breaking down because of struggle, rendering us physically ill.

So let me be candid with you and tell you that I think I’m going to follow the heart of God in this matter instead of the teachings that were instilled into me by my culture, growing up in Central Ohio. I would much rather tell you about my foibles and stumbles, selecting the wording and staging of such a confession at my own pace and leisure instead of having you drag me into the streets and beat it out of me.

I don’t know why people want to “cut themselves slick” and end up sliding down to a hellish conclusion on their own greasy path. It’s just better to cut yourself some slack. Realize that whatever you’ve done wrong has been done before, repented of and has been redeemed–so if you are brilliant enough to get ahead of the horde, you will survive also.

I don’t know if I can convince many people to abandon the American predilection towards lying, but I will guarantee you that if you cut yourself slack, to be honest, you will not find yourself humiliated by cutting yourself slick and ending up exposed.

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