There have been many emotionally difficult moments this past month or so. Each one reminding me that we are all both sinners and saints. So much that I bought a barn wood sign with the gifts (fruits) of the spirit on it and hung it in my bedroom where I see it last before going to sleep and when I wake up as a
reminder to try to be mindful of my sinner and saint sides.
Walking to the end of life on earth with my dad was like living out an emotional menu…empathy, loss, relief and great joy for him. For me, grief to lose him, all the emotions that occur as you review your life time together and have moments of reliving them, empathy and anger for my siblings at various decision points, questioning myself and the awareness that it was on me to defend his wishes but also to get the others into consensus. All the emotions as you see your own children, nieces and nephews come to say their goodbyes and you feel their hurt. The old good friends who come and grieve the loss of their era and contemplate that they are likely next.
I had the privilege of taking this same “walk” with 2 other SOTH families shortly after my dad’s death and recognizing the emotional menu they were experiencing too. The emotions of grief as related to loss of any kind on a person are hard but mixed with the many emotions most of us ramble through with extended families adds to the exhaustion. It likely is not even that they are wrong, or we are wrong…but that we are all sinners and saints. In the end, we all need the forgiveness of one another and of a graceful loving God whose Son was our earthly model of forgiveness and love, even before He was our Savior. This realization is what finally brings my weary heart rest and peace.
Coincidentally this month we will begin hosting SMART Recovery, an addiction group meeting at SOTH weekly on Monday nights. SMART Recovery is a self-empowering addiction recovery support group for any type of addiction, where participants learn and use tools based on scientific research to change their thinking and thereby change their behavior. Meetings are small group, free (donations accepted) and open to anyone.
I have met and love several saints who struggle with addiction. I have grieved with them and the losses it brings. I have prayed that they could process the hurts, heal damaged self esteem and/or do whatever emotional and spiritual work it takes to be free of the addiction that holds them hostage. I pray that they can find forgiveness for themselves and those around them, recognizing we are ALL sinners and saints. I pray both the knowledge about the science of addiction and the connection to a powerful, gracious God who hears our plea daily can help each of them find a world where peace inhabits their core and replaces addiction. I hope they and all of those around them who have weary hearts can find peace that is beyond our understanding. You see in the beginning, middle and end, as sinners and saints, we all need forgiveness for ourselves and in turn for those around us.
This is not a new message, but as humans I think it’s one we need reminding of regularly…I do!
The challenge: There are nine fruits or gifts of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I believe only Jesus can do all nine…so pick the number you think you can do routinely. Try that and see how you do each day. After several days if you do well, challenge yourself to add one 🙂 re-evaluate. Apply them to others and yourself. Remember, sinner and saint…Child of the One True King!