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First Steps: "You(/I) Can't Handle the Truth!"

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

My face is finally less swollen, I just ran two complete miles yesterday first time post-surgery, and I am regaining stamina and energy each day. However, just in front of my left ear, where they did the jaw surgery on that side, it is still quite swollen and when I have to do my range of motion exercises there is a definite sound of alarm, or sound that makes me alarmed. I need to ask about this in our phone appointment on Friday but I just don't want to know if its anything bad. I don't want to deal with setbacks or discouraging news. I just want the surgery to have fixed it all and be on my way.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

God has rescued me from myself: from the self-absorption, self-satisfied, self-righteous, self-serving, self-centered, self-seeking, self-improving slavery that is my default mode when I am the center of my universe and the source of all my own truth, hope, strength, power, and change. He was successful in completing His job but that job is still being completed in me. Like my jaw surgery, the correction has been made, the old dysfunctional part was removed, new tissue has replaced the old and is in the process of transforming my jaw. But there is work I have to do in the midst of trusting the completed work of the surgeon.

Seeing my racism, my prejudice, my biases, my sense of superiority that lurks behind "opinions" of "proper speech", "proper attire", the "right" way to do or think about something is like asking about the remaining swelling and disconcerting sounds in my healing jaw. It can be scary to ask, to examine, to dig, to look, to wonder, to reflect...but don't I want to know and do whatever is necessary to have a fully restored jaw? Don't I, as a believer, want to know and do whatever is necessary to love others as I have been loved? Don't I want to accurately image the God of all creation, of all people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, by seeing where I am blind to my wounding, prideful, arrogant, superior attitudes and behaviors?

If I only watch news or listen to podcasts or talk radio that tells me I'm great and that its only others who need to change, (exactly what my own "itching ears want to hear"), is that consistent with the Gospel's invitation (that I accept in other areas of my life) to see how great my sin actually is so that I can see how great is the One who takes it and makes me new? What have I to fear in the hands of Love who casts out all fear? Like the rich, young ruler, am I just resisting letting go of my own perceived wealth/power/strength because I don't trust that His Kingdom is more than I could ever ask for or imagine?

He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Proverbs 3:34

Because God has been so gracious to me, may I be compelled by that very unmerited love and favor to see where I am the proud mocker, to repent of my trust and comfort in my own superiority, and to find myself hidden in His humble strength alone. May the person and work of Jesus, (the Life, the Truth, the Way) set me free to love others generously and unconditionally as the beloved siblings God has given me for all eternity. What Good News that we don't have to wait to being enjoying that even now.


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