Two edged sword

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

There are many times when, out of fear or stinginess, the desire to belong or some other selfish motive, I don’t behave in a loving way. I have a chance to be welcoming or supportive or to give real help in a situation where someone is in need, and I blow it. I can rationalize my behavior in countless ways. But the word of God whispering in my heart will not let me dodge the reality.

By the same token, it is often hard for me to confront others when I am unhappy with something they have done. What if it causes them to dislike me? And it makes me feel so vulnerable! I want to put up a facade of false well being and call that a magnanimous acceptance of their shortcomings. But once again, God is there demanding of me my truth.

In both cases, my failure to act is a failure to love. Avoiding difficult exchanges, whether I am giving something or asking for something, might be comfortable and non-threatening, but it is not honest and it is not helpful. It does not allow me to really meet those around me, to open the way for the alchemy of compassion to flow between us. Giving, receiving, giving again – in that commerce God is an inevitable part.

God’s word whispers in our hearts. “You know what to do,” it tells us. But that is not a happy clappy kind of thing. It tosses us into the lion’s pit, bounces us off the shiny defenses of systems of injustice, causes us to touch the sweating sick, the disconsolate dying, the dangerous other. And it moves us to make a place of truth between us where all grievances are heard and all wrongs are addressed and forgiven. It is not easy. It is not remotely easy. But it is how God would have us love.

Loving God, judge of my heart’s intentions, speak your razor sharp word and give me the grace to receive it. Amen.

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