“And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:4-7 RSVA)
Susanne wrote, “Meanwhile I believe that God only shows us that there is no good thing coming from the old man in order to bring forth those genuinely good things that spring from a new God-given heart. But the process until we are through with all these “ouch-experiences” and our natural tendency to run from pain and/or to attack the one who offended us is indeed PAINFUL.”
Yes, it is very painful, indeed, and we are not used to walking in complete honesty with one another as Christians. How many times did I hear while in the Sunday churches, “Well, I didn’t want to say anything for fear I would hurt their feelings”? In the first place the building up of the Kingdom of God is not all about protecting our feelings. A cursory reading of Hebrews 12:5-11 will pop that bubble.
Yet, true fellowship is found as we walk in the light of Christ together… and His Light exposes our darkness. When we react to something that a brother or sister says to us, it is a clue that there is something down in our hearts that has not been healed yet by HIS Light. So, God in His wisdom has put the members of Christ’s body in close proximity, not so that we can have a warm and fuzzy time together and call it “fellowship,” but rather so His Light, the Light of His Son, can first reveal to us that something is still in darkness in us and then to bring us with His great love into allowing Him to do the deep surgery on our hearts that is needed so we can fully walk together in the light of His love! Our old unhealed wounds impede the free flow of His love through us to others and God has so much love He wants to give to others through us. As long as we run from one another or even attack one another, that love is not able to do its perfect work.
So, you see it is in walking together in HIS truth (speaking the truth in love) with one another that builds up the body of Christ and allows the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all sin (areas in which we are falling short of the glory of God being manifest in us).
The author of Hebrews gives us another great piece of advice. He says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 RSVA)
When we feel triggered, it is like a weight on the heart and mind and no peace can be found, neither inside nor outside. If we cling to that condition, sooner or later, sin comes in since we want to get rid of these negative feelings. As soon as we have found a “victim”, we will treat them badly because we ourselves have felt so bad in the darkness. Instead of running from the pain and to God’s light so that we might be healed, we then upload our burden on another innocent human being. Now the weight has even increased since two people suffer! If we continue to do so with more people, we may easily anticipate what might happen: The evil spreads as we can see it in the world today, in this world that does not know God yet. It is like an infectious disease and eventually the former victim becomes the victimizer aka sinner. Only walking in the light constantly (!) makes us stay clear of sin.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, to avoid such negative consequences, we need to endure the cross like Christ and suffer the pain He exposes so that we might get healed. By the way, if we do so, the pain we might have felt over and over again can disappear in the wink of an eye when we pray for His light to open up the eyes of our heart. Don’t you wonder when you suddenly see that God still works miracles in our midst. 😉