Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 31, Wednesday

Today's Reading: John 15:18-27 (NRSV)

What's all this hate concerning God and Jesus being thrown around?  As the early church distinguished itself from Judaism, there may have been some resentment as some families may have split on their belief concerning Jesus.  Jewish communities may have seen Christians seeking to sway their flock away from what they would have called the true faith in God.

Wolves are social animals that have
dominant and submissive members not
unlike human families although
people are not always this overt.
Hate implies passion.  You cannot hate something or someone if you are a disinterested observer.  So the hate to which John refers would be the response of someone caught in the middle of a tough situation.  If you followed God one way, and that way was being challenged by members of your own family, you might come to wish that you had never heard of the person responsible.

Systems - whether families or corporations or even churches - resist change.  

Sometimes a system will develop balance whether or not it is healthy.  This may mean that one member of the family occupies the lowest rung on the ladder.  If this person attempts to climb higher, the others may subconsciously seek to keep the person in their original location.  If someone were to then expose these actions as the truth, this truth would be most unwelcome by all but the person on the lowest rung.  You might even hate the person exposing this truth because you undoubtedly love the low-status family member even if you want to keep them in their place.  The hate toward another is because of the shock one may feel when it becomes known that they are mistreating their loved one in this way.

You may hear:

   Why would you say such a thing?

    I only treat you in this manner for your own protection.

   This person has no real understanding of our family and what I go through with you.

Jesus does upset unhealthy balance if we allow him.  The difficulty for many of us comes in figuring out which parts of our lives need a little exposure to the truth!

Prayer for the day:

God, we long for truth.  We know that no one likes to be deceived...even when we recognize that we are the ones doing the deceiving.  Help us to recognize the truth.  Help us to see it even if we are at fault for obscuring it.  Give us the strength to break out of unhealthy situations - even if we are the ones benefiting from them.  We pray these things with the help of the Advocate, who testifies to the truth we find in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Photo by Ellie Attebery via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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