Brothers and sisters: As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ. (Col 2:6-8)
Recently, I’ve been speaking to an old friend who has been struggling for years with substance abuse, physical abuse and maybe even sexual abuse. When she looks at herself in the mirror she does not see what I see. She can only see filth, worthlessness and emptiness. I’m not sure when it all began. It could have been during those heydays of High School when we could do no wrong – or better, when there was no wrong that could be done! But with time, the body and the soul begin to rebel, and this internal rebellion tears us apart.
Where am I to go? What am I to do? Many of us have heard AA’s Twelve Steps. I have heard them many times. I seem to forget the order of them all the time! But the process is nothing new. It began with an addict who sought healing and found understanding and a Higher Being. I personally believe that these twelve steps began long ago to the time of Christ and with sinners (addicts) that reached out to Him. The Lord came into the world to heal the sinner; to heal the broken hearted. He cured mind, body and soul. He was able to do it immediately to those who had had enough; to those who could believe in Someone greater than themselves.
It was not easy for the leper to come forward. It has never been easy to humble oneself (even to the status of a dog) to help a loved one. It must not have been easy for that woman who was in pain for twelve years to break through a large crowd and touch the tassel of Christ’s robe.
Sometimes friends and enemies can make it easier for us, without them even knowing it. It was because of four men that the paralytic broke through a roof and was brought into the presence of the Lord. It was because of evil men that an adulterous woman was thrown in front of the Lord and received healing and compassion. What a day!
“I chose you from the world, that you may go and bear fruit that will last”
Sin twists and turns our body and soul and distorts our very name! The disciple that betrayed Jesus was not known as Judas. He was simply referred to as “The Traitor”. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works. He never called Judas a traitor. His disciples did as they forgot their own betrayals.
May we never forget that the Lord, out of mercy and compassion, chose us for a purpose. He wants all mankind to be saved and He wants us to be a part of it. He wants all creation to receive his mercy and love, forgiveness and compassion, truth and understanding.
Many heard the Lord but not many received Him. Many asked the Lord for healing. All received it. He never failed, unless those who sought him did so half-heartedly; that is, they were still captivated by emptiness rather by His grace!