A facebook friend posted this on his wall:
A Franciscan benediction
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
& i smiled & added my amen too.
Neil is often teasing me - that for someone so sensitive to rejection, i sure picked a tough topic to be passionate about, (in my compassion for the unborn). It seems like being a Christian these days opens you up to all kinds of false accusations of intolerance, hatred, ignorance and fear... & it's hard to silence your desire to defend yourself, and to search only for Truth amidst the anger and hurt that pervades our current cultural climate.
The littles & i have been reading Job this past while... & it struck me this time through - how hard it must have been for Job to lose, (on top of everything else), his spotless reputation. Before, he had been the kind of guy who was sought out for his opinions... he was the kind who cared for the fatherless and the poor, he was the kind of guy who offered sacrifices for his kids, "in case they sinned" while he wasn't watching... & suddenly - when he was afflicted - everyone was quick to believe that he must have done something wrong. i don't think that part of the story had ever been impressed on me before... i thought of the disappointment of losing riches, the grief of losing children, the agony of the loss of physical health... but to lose your reputation too on top of it all, knowing that you had done nothing to deserve it - that must've stunk.
Jesus was no stranger to false accusations either... & He was perfect, sinless... a spotless sacrificial lamb... & it wasn't by accident that he was attacked in every possible way - physically, spiritually, mentally - his reputation was scorned & even now, i hear people scoff at my King - & mock Him for claiming to be the son of God. It was prophesied years before he was even born, that this was going to be his fate... It says in Isaiah 53,
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
& now... i know that sometimes the half-truths would be easier to swallow. i see so many who, like me, are uncomfortable with rejection & false accusations. We wanna bend - to say, "Yes well... maybe that's not sin then... for you... in your circumstance. i don't want you to hurt so i'll give you a comforting half-truth and in return you'll not call me a bigot, misogynist, hateful, hurtful Christian..."
Our job is to gently, lovingly - humbly... speak truth... despite the labels, despite the rejection, despite the discomfort.
i'm sure that's how God must feel when He corrects us. It's humbling as a child to be taken out of a situation where you're making a little fool of yourself (i'm remembering my childhood more than my children's) - & corrected... & i know it has been embarrassing as an adult, to have my bad behaviour become so obvious when God has (in His great mercy) corrected me. But God offers us direction & correction because He loves us and He wants to protect us. He doesn't want a woman to live in grovelling fear & shame for the rest of her life over the heartbreaking decision of abortion, but He wants to bring her Home, to set her apart, He longs to protect us from our own selves & our own evil choices.
So, today i took it as a tiny blessing when i read that Franciscan Benediction above, that can i see that i *do* have that ounce of foolishness that would allow me to believe that maybe God can use me to make a small difference in this world... & so i'll take up my cross & follow.