Unborn life trumps convenience

Posting from the Facebook slammer:

Kevin DeYoung: The real monstrosity of Roe was not legal but moral

Read it here

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Do you know why we are lonely?

I am lonely.

So are you.

At least, most of you are. Almost 60% of Americans say no one knows them well, and almost half say the relationships they do have aren’t meaningful. Almost 60% of Americans, single or not, eat all meals alone. [source]

That would be a tremendous opportunity to spread the good news of God’s deeply personal love for us — if not for the fact that most Christians simply reflect the loneliness of their society.

Each of us is designed for relationship, and the relationships we have (or don’t have) define us. Our experiences of childhood and youth blueprint our entire lives – and our culture markets shallow, meaningless relationships as if they will bring us fulfillment.

We moved quite a bit when I was a kid … 9 towns over the course of 17 years – the last of those in the middle of my senior year in high school. I said in an earlier post: “I never had time to develop deep relationships. Eventually I gave up trying. After all, you get close to someone, then you just have to deal with the pain of leaving. That not only left me ignorant about real friendships, but actually afraid of them.”

In that same post, I explained how I ran away from the first opportunity God gave me to have a deep personal relationship marked by unconditional love and acceptance. I ran away because I had believed the lie that close relationships always end in pain. And when I finally had a chance to change my life’s narrative, I followed the false script. Following the lie set me up for a long cascade of ugly consequences that included deathly illness, alienation from my son, bankruptcy, and divorce from a faithless woman.

As part of my 10-year “back to the future” journey, I have constructed a timeline of major events that have both built on that false narrative and reinforced it. And nowhere along the line did I find another opportunity for a long-term relationship defined by the vulnerability and trust to know and be known at the deepest level.

Some time back, a Christian counselor suggested reading The Relational Soul* by Richard Plass and James Cofield. I wish I had read it before beginning my timeline, but it wasn’t published until two years later … and I’ve only recently gotten down to reading it. The book encapsulates everything the Lord has shown me over the past 10 years.

The final chapter, entitled “Transformation,” lays out the stark truth about life-change: “Change is possible, but it is harder than we want and takes longer than we expect.” The authors lay out five traits of a soul capable of deep, personal relationships: openness, awareness, curiosity, acceptance, and forgiveness.

The section on acceptance of our limits and losses is one of the most underlined and highlighted passages in any book I’ve ever read. They describe life as “filled with incomplete symphonies.” They point out that we (I) have missed opportunities for love because of our (my) own limited ability to embrace love. They go on to say that not coming to terms with loss leads to a series of poor decisions made in reaction to that loss. They add that as we “feel the pain of what will never be and accept what can never change,” we can discover that Christ is present in our pain.

As a result, contentment of soul can rise and we learn that “in dying, we are born to life.”

There’s no way to measure what I lost in running away from that collegiate friendship. Yet for 45 years God has used that memory to help me gradually understand my need to create for others a space where they can trust and share their deepest losses, pains, and struggles. Sadly, those relationships are hardly ever reciprocal, but that’s not the point of God’s kingdom. We are not here to be served, but to serve. We are here to love others the way Christ loved us. We are seeds that can only bear fruit when we fall into the earth and die.

At my age, it’s impossible for me to experience the lifetime of unconditional love and acceptance that I ran from all those years ago. Tears well up at that mournful thought. But the Lord has, in his mercy, given me dreams in which I actually have felt his unconditional love and acceptance for me.

And I can at least be for others the kind of friend I have always needed and still need.

* Amazon Affiliate link

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