What has to end or die so we can experience a rebirth in our relationships? Brené Brown.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:10-11)
For me, today’s passage is the most personal and telling statement Paul makes in the Prison Letters. Paul wants to experience whole-life transformation, and he realizes that something must die in order for that to happen.
He realizes that Resurrection is a mystery, and he’s not sure how this will be accomplished. I suspect he is gazing at two horizons in his mind’s eye: Living in union with God now; and the assurance of safe passage through a physical death into eternal life with God.
I cherish Paul’s statement, because I have these longings myself. I want to know True Life today: healing, character transformation, JOY, freedom, creativity, Love and Wisdom… I want these goods in my heart, my home, our church, my workplace. I want a flourishing life in the kingdom of God with the family of God—NOW. And I want to see this Resurrection happening in the world, where individuals and groups of people are living in spiritual darkness, hunger, war, persecution, loneliness or exclusion in their earthly lives.
I also want to be a part of the ultimate Resurrection that God is accomplishing in all of creation and which is everlasting and beyond our dreams.
This understanding that something must die as a part of Resurrection is actually addressed by the author in Rising Strong. When she discusses Rumbling with Forgiveness, Dr. Brown frames ‘forgiveness’ as the process of healing from loss and experiencing new birth. I want to refer you to read this section in Chapter 7. Here are a few bites to whet your appetite:
“In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt.”
“The death or ending that forgiveness necessitates comes in many shapes and forms. We may need to bury our expectations or dreams. We may need to relinquish the power that comes with “being right” or put to rest the idea that we can do what’s in our hearts and still retain the support or approval of others.”
“So, forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act; it’s the process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.”
After you read Rumbling with Forgiveness in Chapter 7, consider these questions:
- Where are you holding on too tight, because you are afraid of experiencing the pain and grief of letting go of an expectation (forgiveness)?
- What will you lose and grief if you let go of this expectation?
- What will be resurrected in your soul or relationships if you choose to walk through this grief?
- What expectation did God let go of when Christ Jesus came and died among us?
- How do you feel about this larger way of thinking about forgiveness?
LORD God, light the path of forgiveness before me. Help me make forgiveness a regular practice of rising strong.
Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
We are in week 4, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 7-8 of Rising Strong. The topics are: Rumbling with difficult emotions and human need. Next week our discussion groups will focus on chapters 8-9.