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Posts Tagged ‘epiphany’

That is the point. Forgiveness. Unless you’re fine with all that, you know, fine with the things you’ve said and thought, fine with the choice you made that hurt someone else, fine with the way things worked out when you lied, fine with the time you looked away, fine with your plenty in the face of another’s scarcity, fine with the status quo. But if you’re not, if you want to turn a corner and do life differently, then, there’s this:

woman_crying_1Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” [Luke 7:47-49, NIV]

Who indeed?

We each have had a way in which we do life. For some, it was an upper middle class dream with plenty of food on the table, two (or more) cars in the driveway, and college tuition paid out of a well-thought out plan. Others grew up under a cloud of smoke and the smell of stale beer, got lost in math class and never caught up, accepted a minimum wage job and bolstered their income with a few illegal drug deals or sex for hire. Some of us skated and while others drowned.

To choose a savior, a kind of help that can turn a life’s direction requires an experience of awareness, a moment of revelation, an epiphany if you will, before forgiveness even comes into the picture, before surrender is possible, before faith can be born.

I cannot make that happen for anyone else. I can only tell you my story.

For, like the woman who drenched Jesus’s feet with her tears, I too have nothing but gratefulness for this same Jesus, who, by the power of Spirit, which makes this three-dimensional world  pale in its atmosphere, I capitulated my former understanding of the way of the world. I am changed. Forgiven.

And now I am asked to do likewise. To forgive the “you’s” in my life who failed me and hurt me and shamed me; to forgive myself for my self-indulgences and false starts. To forgive daily.

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Photo by Ed Rybczynski

Photo by Ed Rybczynski

Leaving is not easy. Starting over is never easy either. But sometimes, that’s all we can do. Circumstances and time and emotions come to a head, and it’s clear, something must change. At this time of year, we mockingly call them resolutions (and I say mocking, because we laugh at our poor resolve over the years). But true change is no joke. True beginnings are powerful and even painful.

Genesis 31:3; 17-18
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” . . . Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

Meaningful change is rarely made overnight with a glass of champagne in one hand and horn in the other. It’s rarely a wish list; it’s a must list. That kind of break with the past comes after a build up, a collection of situations, a norm that is no longer acceptable.

Often it takes an epiphany or insight, a new view of an old way, that becomes the impetus for change or builds a desire or appetite for metamorphosis. We see with new eyes. We see reality. We see truth. And it is longer acceptable.

In Jacob’s world, it took more than fourteen years to realize that something had to change. He had achieved the short-term goal of acquiring wives and even children, but he was still dependent on Laban. It was time to grow up.

I remember making a very small discovery, probably in my late twenties, that there was no one who would be picking up after me. If I chose to leave dirty dishes, they would be there the next day. If I put my clothes on the floor, they would remain. If I forgot to water the plants, they would die. If I wanted my immediate environment to be pleasant and acceptable, I would have to do it.

But sometimes, the changes are more challenging, like women who have entered abusive relationships or tied themselves to addictive personalities or other enslavements (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, television, and other mind-numbing substitutions for living). To see these situations in their true form is beyond difficult and may require divine intervention.

For myself, I pray for open eyes this day, to see clearly. I pray for God’s revelation and direction. I pray for loved ones whose eyes are still closed. I pray for my role in their lives. I pray for grace and mercy and courage. I ask for epiphanies to abound.

Today. Not resolutions but meaningful change.

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Whatever God gives, it’s given on purpose: salvation, forgiveness, healing, anointing, power, revelation, and more. All of these gifts are given according to his understanding of what is needed, when and why. Our leap of faith is accepting the timing.

Ephesians 1:7-8
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

It’s a trust issue. Do I trust God to give me what I really need or am I always looking for God to give me what I want in the moment?

And why is it so hard for me to remember that what I already have was given in the same spirit? I was redeemed 32 years ago. I had an epiphany, a revelation of the Christ and the necessity for the veil to be taken down. I was offered a relationship with God that was unlike any other relationship I had or would ever have in this 3-D world. I was invited to partake of the universal “Body.”

I needed that moment back then. And now, along the way, oh God, help me to see the other moments. Help me to recognize the gifts you gave and to return thanks. Help me to appreciate this path instead of complaining about the conditions of the way. There are so many other ways things could have gone.

If I were totally surrendered to your wisdom and understanding, I would know true joy. I still can, right? The invitation has never been snatched away. Today is just another example of the story we are making of my life.

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Mark 38-39
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the [or a] Son of God!”

An epiphany is “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” For the centurions with execution detail, this was a commonplace experience. They had killed hundreds and hundreds of men. They had nailed them and stripped them and mocked them and thrown dice over their belongings. It was tedious work.

But at least one centurion began to see this man in a new light. He listened to his words. He watched him suffer and he watched him die and then he understood. They had just crucified a holy man, a son of God, a man, and yet not a man. Nor was this a quiet time; it was frightening. Darkness had descended upon the place followed by a great earthquake at Jesus’ death. People must have been running and screaming as anyone would during a cataclysm.

And what was next for this centurion? What did he think or do? Did he believe it was too late? Did he bow down before his new Lord right then? Did he weep like Peter or despair like Judas? Did he change?

My mind keeps going to that wonderful old book (by Lloyd C. Douglas, 1942) and the 1953 movie by the same name, The Robe (with Richard Burton and Victor Mature). Here Centurion Marcellus (Burton) does not transform immediately but over time, having won Jesus’ robe, he is affected by the proximity of the robe and haunted by his experiences on Golgotha. Eventually, he becomes a believer, joins the other Christians and ultimately he is martyred as many were under Caligula.

What does any of this mean for us… for me? I know what it means to have an epiphany… a true insight from God, but I confess I have archived most of them in distant reaches of my brain. Abba, forgive me. Give me mindfulness that I might build on the truths you reveal to me.

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