I saw a billboard on the way to the airport that read: Thou shalt not commit adultery. It advertised a website that specialized in extra-marital sexual connections for those interested in a little cheating.
I am speechless.
Perhaps I am a prudish, self-righteous Bible thumper mired in some version of an old Christian America that is fading away. So I will let someone else speak.
The problems that afflict us can be grouped into two categories: suffering and sin. Both are approached with humility and love. Sufferers hear comfort; sinners hear warnings, with comfort waiting on the far side of confession. Yet the author of Hebrews prefers to make the boundary between sin and suffering more permeable. He cautions sufferers about hardening their hearts, warning that it is a backdoor path to sin.
Say “yes” to an invitation and you have been robbed of your freedom. All other options for that evening have been ripped away. What if a better invitation comes along? Too bad, you are beholden to something else. Decisions, indeed, exclude.
I took a bang to the head a little while ago and have had headaches ever since. I am not thankful for the headaches. I don’t think they are “good,” and I certainly don’t want anyone to tell me that they are for my best.
I am also trying to think God’s thoughts about this.
After accepting a CEO position at a non-profit, in which he could make or break the organization’s future, he said, “I believe that one of the great comforts of the gospel is the freedom to fail.” I heard this echoed recently by a friend when he made a somewhat risky vocational decision. Though he struggles with the opinions of others, he was able to say: “the worst I can do is fail.” He smiled as he said it, and I rejoiced in his spiritual maturity, which clearly surpasses my own.
If you hear yourself say, “I am such a burden to _________ [my family, friends, loved ones, the world],” you are in danger. Your mind will go to very dark places, and you are developing immunity to the encouragement of both other people and Scripture. For example, you will hear others say that they are happy to serve you, yet you do not believe it. Instead, you believe their lives would be much easier and, therefore, better if you were gone.
If people are not telling you that you are a burden, why do you feel that way?
Bulimia is the new normal. The thin and wealthy specialize in it, but you can be sure that it is a cornerstone of any culture in which the preferred body type is thinner than is actually possible on a normal diet. You’ll find it in any culture that is obsessed with looking younger or where everyone is looking for that elusive weight-loss secret.
Some passages of Scripture could be read before every counseling time, no matter what the circumstances. This is one of them.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)