Ask Jonathots… August 18th, 2016

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What does Jesus mean when he says “Let the dead bury the dead?”

Jesus was neither extremely religious nor just a “lovey-dovey hippie.” Any extensive study on the life of the Nazarene will bring out two strong impressions:

1. He believed human beings had great, untapped capacity

2. He also believed human beings were capable of being judgmental jerks.

So when you consider Jesus’ words as recorded in the Gospels, apply these two principles. He is always trying to get us to tap our greater humanity by learning to deny our selfishness.

One day he meets a fellow who really wants to be a follower, but uses the excuse of burying his father to delay his decision.

Jesus responds, “Let the dead bury the dead.”

This is not a disregard for giving honor to a family member, but rather, a realization that missing the moment of our greatest conviction normally means that we never get back to what we originally set out to do.

A crossroads of contrition: where we focus on what we really want to be and what we really want to accomplish.

This person had decided he wanted to follow Jesus. Jesus’ point was simple: You will never, ever feel this energized again.

Find a different way to give tribute to your father, but truly show your respect to him by pursuing your heart.

Nothing should stand in the way of an inclination to make our lives better. Too often we use family responsibilities, such as weddings and funerals, as a way of excusing ourselves from chasing our dreams.

Give your tribute to the dead some other way than showing up to the funeral.

Share the responsibility with another family member.

But don’t miss your day in the sun … when the warmth is on your skin and it’s clear what you need to do.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Three Ways to Forgive… November 20, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Nothing invokes more teary-eyed sessions and popcorn psychology than the subject of forgiveness.

And it isn’t because we’re all trying to figure out how to forgive other people, but more because we realize how frail our efforts are and how much we need forgiveness ourselves.

The danger is the sappy logic that forces people to pretend they have forgiven while never experiencing the personal satisfaction of moving on.

Honestly, my friend, there are only three ways to forgive, and in this particular case, they are approached in order.

1. Look for your own personal responsibility.

Yes, very few things in life are the fault of one individual, but rather, a twisted spider web of confusing details which have to be untangled order to get to the truth.

This is the power of the warning to “take the log out of our own eye” before removing the “speck of sawdust” from someone else’s peeper.

Of course, there are times when there is no fault on our part, but more often than not, we will discover a seed we planted which unfortunately grew into a root of bitterness. You will find that it is much easier to negotiate with an enemy when you’re willing to be honest about your own part in the mess.

Once you’ve achieved this step, you’re ready for:

2. Look for repentance.

The key to forgiveness is that those who have offended you feel a sense of regret.

I think it is a great lie to tell people they can forgive others who have not admitted their fault. It’s popular to act as if forgiveness can be a one-sided event when others have not joined in the contrition. But if you want forgiveness to work in real life, you need to see repentance in those who have wronged you.

And what happens if you don’t see that repentance? In other words, you have found your own personal responsibility, but those who have attacked you are not convinced of their evil, and refuse to repent? Then:

3. Look to create distance.

It is ludicrous to think that you can exist, prosper and be in good health while remaining around individuals who have hurt you but feel no compulsion to make recompense.

It is important to forget–but virtually impossible to do so if you don’t put those old things behind you.

Look to create distance. You can’t see the face of your abuser every single day and believe that forgiveness has any reality in your being.

Now I know there are people who will disagree with me on these issues, but I do believe that those people are offering a spiritual act of forgiving which has no reality in the human experience.

I don’t forgive people in order to be magnanimous. I forgive people because I need to get the hell out of the mess. If they won’t let me move on, then I need to move away from them–sometimes literally.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool, but even God took on the responsibility of creating humans as emotionally frail creatures. Therefore He looks for repentance, but when it’s not there, He draws away. This is made clear–God only comes close to those who come close to Him.

So if God has discovered the true essence of forgiveness, why don’t we take the step?

Look at what we’ve done, look for repentance, and if it doesn’t come, look for a door to sanity.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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