Jesus came to explain God to us. His actions and words reveal God’s heart. I have turned to the teachings of Jesus to guide me through these difficult issues.
Galatians 4:4-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law
the Message version continues
Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Abba!(Momma!)” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
God SO LOVED the world that he gave, and continues to give.
John 1:16-18 New International Version (NIV)
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made God known.
The Amplified version expands,
For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift].
I have certainly experienced this verse in the past year. One of God’s gifts came in the form of a book that about ten women read together entitled The Emotionally Absent Mother. The discussions provided many women the opportunity to tell their truth of abuse, neglect, and wounding, and begin to find healing grace. One of the graces received from the material was to view our mother’s with God’s grace as we considered the circumstances of their lives that led them to be absent to us. In that material I found a description of a therapeutic technique called re-mothering that exactly described what I had been experiencing with massage clients. As I held their tissues with a loving therapeutic touch and allowed God’s heart to flow through mine, many of the good mother messages that had never been heard by these souls were spoken to them and brought deeper healing than massage alone could accomplish.
I was also blessed to finish training in a specific massage technique that has benefited my clients. Some of those clients have in turn challenged me by their needs or words to step more fully into a mix of therapeutic massage, prayer, essential oils, and a deeper dependence on God’s guidance as a conduit of healing love and grace in their lives. That work has opened up opportunities to work with Gar Mickelson, who now is employed as the community liaison for Heritage Health (a community clinic) in their homeless outreach. We are developing a group of alternative healthcare providers whose focus is faith based holistic care for homeless in our community with an emphasis on trauma recovery.
In that work I have come to some difficult questions about what it means to offer the grace I have received in meaningful ways to broken people.
- How do we offer free services with sensitivity to the dignity and worth of the individual?
- How do I know if I am being told the truth?
- When does help morph into enabling?
- In an effort to help move people toward transformation and healthier lives, do we require evidence of increasing responsibility and growth toward change?
- How do I protect myself from being used?
- Does any of this matter?
Jesus came to explain God to us. His actions and words reveal God’s heart. I have turned to the teachings of Jesus to guide me through these difficult issues. I started to develop bulleted points for this sermon but decided instead I am going to read the words of Jesus from different passages and versions in a way that has spoken to my heart. Here’s what I heard:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.