Weekly Reflections On:
Grace And Personal Responsibility
An Essay On Deep And Light
The following paragraph is from the essay "Grace And Personal Responsibility – God’s Amazing Plan For Change" written by James O. Henman, Ph.D. It is followed by some thoughts to consider after reading the paragraph. Dr. Henman has had the opportunity to spend the past 28 years as a psychologist, intimately involved in the process of change in the lives of his clients. He noticed the obstacles that prevented people from making healthy choices. Over the years he began to recognize patterns of these obstacles, and particularly what prevented Christian clients from accessing God’s power for healing. People were often unable to see accurately the underlying assumptions they were making in important areas of their lives. Each paragraph in the essay explores a dimension of assumptions regarding Christianity and recovery/change. This is paragraph #9:
"I believe that one aspect of sin is the knowledge of good and evil unfiltered by God’s Love: "But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me!" (Romans 7:8) In 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, Paul points out that: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit." It is clearly an imperfect process. Our job is to relax into His Spirit, as we transform, a layer at a time, into Him. (Stop and Reflect)"
When you try not to think or feel something, there is a natural reaction to do the opposite. Try not to think of the color green. Try very hard not to think of that color! Remove the color green from your mind! Your life depends on not thinking of the color green!!! What do you notice when doing this exercise? Do you notice that the harder you try not to have green in your mind, the more pervasive green becomes. Over time you come to the painful conclusion that you are addicted to the color green and "that’s just the way you are." You may continue struggling against green, but in your heart you know that you are hopelessly green.
God’s Plan is very different than the pattern described above. God wants us to keep our eyes on blue, feeling the warm, loving qualities of blue. He wants us to realize that we are free to focus on blue, breaking the power of green in the process. As we grow in our experience of blue, green continues to weaken its hold on us, until we demand to totally remove green from our minds, and then we fall back into the trap again.
The knowledge of good and evil allows us to see how terribly short our best goodness compares with God’s Perfection. Seeing this contrast floods us with shame and self-rejection. We naturally defend against such overwhelming pain with denial, blocking our ability to see accurately. Without the ability to see accurately, we cannot choose differently and are stuck in our sin. God’s Plan breaks this circle, allowing change to take place. As we continue to focus on His Nature and Love for us, our image becomes more and more His Image, as His Spirit transforms us from glory to glory. Are you willing to allow Him to love you that much?