Not To Point Fingers, But…

When we read spiritual writing or scriptures or even health books, whom do we picture in our minds as the audience?

I’m reading Pauls’s letter to the Romans in the Message translation to get a new perspective. It shakes up your thinking when you read in a different translation that changes words around a bit.

Paul said early in the letter after he listed all the bad things humans are capable of doing, “whatever is written in these scriptures is not what God says about others but what he says to us.”

That really hit.

Now go back and read those paragraphs about lust and rampant evil, grasping, groping, backstabbing…

That is not other people. As the lead character in the old comic strip, Pogo, said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”

During some of my meditations, God has shown me quite graphically how I am capable of all manner of evil and sinful acts and thoughts.

When I read those lists of sin and evil, it is I who is described. Pull out John Climacus’ Ladder of Divine Ascent, reading through his lists of emotions and realize that I am described. The point is not that others share those faults. The point is to take it personally.

That is where Paul begins his discussion of the growth of spiritual formation. Until I realize that in me, I’ll never progress.

[Spoiler alert: Paul (and God) shows us the way out.]

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