Monthly Archives: January 2016

Facing Truth

638504242fac8a2292a25aa705cb69c6It was a fall day in October, many years ago, that I headed to Lake Tahoe for a personal retreat at my friends cabin in Tahoe! Upon arriving, I settled in and drew back the curtains, hoping for a splendid view, which did not disappoint. The beauty of the area greeted me as I breathed in the fresh air. I immediately knew that this was exactly what my soul needed.

Then to my surprise, not three feet away outside of my window, there was a small black bird…a small dead black bird. I recoiled as I was taken back from the sight. This dead bird was intruding my weekend, interrupting my landscape, reminding of realities better forgotten. I determined that I would remove it as soon as I finished unpacking, but as I began to walk away, I realized that if I merely moved a few steps back, that I couldn’t see the bird anymore. And I thought for a moment. “what if I could simply ignore that dead bird all weekend?”

As I entertained that thought, I pondered the reality of that in our lives. Isn’t that just like us humans, wanting to avoid the unpleasant realities of life? When something painful or unpleasant happens in our life, we simply deny it or refuse to look at it. Like my experience with the dead bird, we prefer to take a few steps back and see only what we want to see. Psychologists call it denial. And for many of us, we would much rather take few steps back and ignore what’s really happening, than deal with reality. But unfortunately, that propensity doesn’t help us to grow or reflect more of Christ’s character, conduct and commitments.

As I look at the life of Jesus, He never refused to look at his pain or disappointment. In reading the Scriptures, I see that

* He acknowledged Himself drained of personal energy as He ministered to the sick
* He cried at the untimely death of His friend Lazarus* Jesus cried out to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane
* He voiced disappointment at His disciples for not being able to pray with Him

Jesus could have stepped back three paces to ignore the dead birds in His life, but instead He embraced them, knowing that facing them leads us unexpectedly into life. Therefore, to enter into the abundant life God intended, we must confront our dead birds fearlessly.

God offers us a choice, we can either face pain or run from it. And through my years as a follower of Jesus, I have found that when I deny my pain and/or my sin, I simply keep myself in bondage to it. That’s because denial keeps me from accepting the gift of grace that God wants to bestow. In other words, wellness requires that we look honestly at our dead birds of pain and sin. Not to become bitter, but to become better. To learn to live as Jesus lived. To love as Jesus loved. After all, it’s the truth that will set us free.

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