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A better way

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her?" Mark 14.6

If you feel trapped in your commitment to church, guilt-tripped into remaining at your post, or under threat of saying the "wrong" thing, then you should review your situation. Jesus certainly challenged people but he never abused them. And he defied the authorities but only in defence of those they were abusing. Jesus came to set us free from sin and guilt. He did the work so we could enjoy its fruits. We all go through periods of stress in our lives and sometimes we feel the weight of our responsibilities. But faith and church should be sources of support rather than of further oppression.

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to continue his sin-busting ministry through us. But, as with all offensive weapons, we have be careful how we wield this power. In fact, the power of the Holy Spirit is not something we "wield"; rather we allow Him to work through us. Problems arise when we arrogate that power and authority to ourselves. When we do that we inflict harm not healing.

We live in a compulsive age, characterised by superficiality - obsessed by quick-fixes, instant gratification - wrapped in a culture of blame and entitlement. Jesus calls us out of all that - to a gentler, calmer, deeper, more compassionate way of life. Where it is necessary ,healing may come immediately or gradually but never manipulatively. The focus is on thoughtfulness integrity and maturity. That might not sound exciting, it may seem inadequate to meet the challenges of our frenetic age but it's the way Jesus modelled and taught his disciples. It changed the world in their day. It has continued to transform people and societies ever since.



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