I spent the weekend doing shadow work with a group of men at Stillwood Retreat Centre, lead by Scott Swanson. The other side of grace is painful work. As Bonhoeffer says, "The man [sic] who has grace is obedient; the man [sic] who is obedient has grace."
"I ask for the desire to pray and meditate regularly. I ask for patience, tolerance, compassion, gentleness, and empathy. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, arrogance, and self-centeredness. I ask to know and follow Christ more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1) "... sincerity and truth;" "...boasting is not a good thing;" "...a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough;" "...clean out the old;" "...be a new;" "...the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth;"
2) "a little yeast leavens the whole batch," one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. The part in me that cannot have compassion and empathy for the part of me that gives me shame is enough to make my life entirely unbearable. That small part that cannot find empathy for that one person in a community who pushes all my buttons is enough to sour the whole community. How do we stand fast when someone is clearly harming themselves and the community? How do we separate compassion and enabling? How do we have empathy without consenting to alienating behaviour? In ourselves and others? How do we call one accountable but stay loving? of ourselves and others? Especially when they are causing harm to the community at large? Wasn't Bonhoeffer executed for being complicit in an assassination plot against Hitler? I've no plans to assassinate anyone, but how do we stop behaviour that is leavening division? What is the true cost of grace?
3) What is the invitation in all this? To be very weary of my own boasting. To be more attentive to that part of me that is short on empathy and compassion. To be more constant in making sure my own needs for empathy and compassion are met. To be on guard against my own malice and evil and to live for sincerity and truth.
"Holy One nourish us with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Breathprayer: "Celebrate... sincerity and truth."