There is a whole thesis to unpack about the mysterious place that a Christian finds themselves. On the one hand there is an ever loving God keen to show and give his love fully, a love which without the freedom to choose we wouldn’t understand. In fact, the freedom to choose is itself a gift of love. On the other hand there is this sense that our capacity to act in accordance with our desires towards loving God is hampered by various factors. Therefore a dependence on his provision and guidance is also necessary. How far then does the pre-emptive love of God stretch and how much choice to we really have. Omnipotent everywhere or potent in some areas? It is on this dilemma that my question rests.
As I continue to contemplate Addiction and Grace while studying Gerald G. May’s text, this idea of responsibility, irresponsibility, and choice seems to be the fog to wade through. The idea of sin as a choice emerges from the same root as that of sin as a sickness. When does the indictment stop accounting for socio-economic factors, or psychological and physiological dysfunctionality? How far into the soul are these dysfunctionalities weaved? Most importantly are these dysfunctionalities – the capacity to countermand – the bedrock of our freedom? And if so, what is the purpose of Grace?
See, I firmly believe in freedom, but also firmly in brokenness – our inability to wisely use our freedom. Sin to me is as much a complex mix of both a sickness and a choice just as I am a complex mix of mind, body, and soul. (As you would probably come to see in most of my works, I fray from dichotomy. Nothing is as affixed). This all makes the idea of teaching this at church this sunday quite daunting (I’m writing the talk this week). The quote below is my starting point.
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked for forgiveness
Repression, then, in spite of its sinister reputation, is relatively flexible. It is workable. Addiction, the other force that turns us away from love, is much more vicious.
Gerald G. May MD Addiction And Grace
As reflected in my posts of late, the idea of being vulnerable and broken has been burning within my mind and heart. I have been contemplating the effects of denying my own brokenness on my relationships and the expectations I have within them. By relationships I also refer to the one I have with myself. The questions regarding how I interact with myself, treat myself, apply also to the way I treat others. This is because the command that I feel my desire leads me to try and follow is that by Jesus to us to try and love our neighbor as we do ourselves.
I have therefore been forced in a way to confront my own desires, both the deep inner good ones as well as the deep inner bad ones; the kinds that lead to my diceitful and selfish choices – choices that I knowingly make and even desire to make. This contradiction is a reflections of my own brokenness and unless I face them and begin that first journey of self acceptance, there would be little success in my attempts to love others or even accept being loved – especially by myself. Odd to think that unless I see myself for what I am, warts and all, I am bound to constant self-deception which weakens rather than strengthens.
In discussion with a close friend about these conflicts within me, the ideas regarding addiction and repression in respect to sin were brought up and he recommended Gerald G. May’s Addiction And Grace which I have just started reading. It is very insightful and one chapter in has opened my heart to thoughts I had denied within myself. The nature of addiction is still far from my understanding. The nature of love, however, is much closer and I think is the driving force on this journey.
Lets see where it leads.
Happy New Year to you all.