-by Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor
Some of what I didn’t have time to explore very deeply on Sunday….
The shadow self is the false self. It is the accumulation of untamed, impure motives that impact our behavior. More often than not, we are not aware of our false self. It is the “blind spot,” if you will. One of the challenges of the spiritual life is our tendency to fall prey to the influence of the false self. The false shelf sabotages our good intentions and effort (remember…God is not opposed to effort; but is opposed to any sense of earning).
Therefore, when it comes to judging or condemning….we typically judge or condemn out of the false self because as defined earlier…it is the untamed, impure, immature part of us that gets projected onto others. The person who condemns liars is a person who struggles with lying because lying is a part of their false self. The person who judges people harshly when they have committed sins of a sexual nature are people who have sexual issues at work in their false self. I have never found this to not be true.
The people, in contrast, who are merciful and gracious toward a person who has committed the same sin as they are people who have experienced and applied the grace and mercy of God in ways that have healed the soul.
The key to spiritual growth is to become increasingly aware of what we condemn in others. We are essentially condemning that same thing in ourselves.
That is why St. Paul in Galatians chapter 6 says….
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves.
The interpretation of “you who have received the Spirit,” is a very poor translation from the original language of Greek. A better translation would be, “you are who considered spiritually mature.”
The point St. Paul is trying to make is that judging or condemning is serious business and there are very few among us who have the spiritual maturity to be doing it.
Why? Because holding people accountable in a spirit of gentleness is challenging enough. Even more so, to not sin ourselves in the process of correction is nearly impossible without spiritual and emotional depth.
Hear from Eugene Peterson in his paraphrase of the Message….(Galatians 6)
1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out if you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. o those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
More to come next week…….