Today starts a new day; I realize I have been abused by religion. It took me through Day 8, 9 before realizing this, but I am glad I did. You can go back to see my comments on Day 8 and 9 to see what I am speaking of. I am taking the time to do the exercises as outlined in the book; Recovering From Religious Abuse, 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom written by: Jack Watts. While I know that hurt and abuse as described and presented in the book are two different things, I have come to the understanding that in regards to taking advantage of me I have been abused. I admit, one of my concerns is I may have at times also abused religion. I don’t think I have but this journey will help me understand where I am at and in the process help others as I journal each day with the steps outlined in the book.
One of the ways I am convinced God exists is that sometimes, things happen that just can’t be coincidence. Today is such an occasion. I have found myself speaking on a subject the last few weeks that isn’t all that typical, yet today, as an affirmation of those discussions and presentations, the reading today touches on the subject. There has to be divine intervention because the coincidences just can’t be coincidence.
It is so easy in life to place oneself above another, after all, there are foreman at factories, managers at department stores, bosses on construction sites, and it seems as if there is always someone in charge, exercising their ‘authority.’ Unfortunately, people of faith don’t seem to be any different, we have people who think they are in charge and take control, yet for those of us who have been at the bad end of their whipping stick, we wonder; ‘Where is the loving servant of Jesus in their attitude?’
I admit, there are times I find myself in a position of ‘authority.’ I am reminded of my faith tradition that sees one as an equal in the realm of God, one that says a follower of Jesus is called to servant leadership, that belief is called; ‘The Priesthood of Believers.’ Those who follow Jesus are in this together, as equal heirs. In that act of servitude to others, there is to be an attitude and act of love towards all people, no matter who they are.
The beauty of Jesus having the compassion towards the poor he did is that if he can love the least of these, he can love us all. There is another beauty though, that is that in our poverty, (whether spiritual or literal) we can find ourselves experiencing Jesus. We realize, the things that matter, are found in Jesus. If we love, the things we need and desire are easier to find. My hope and prayer today is this, I hope God reminds me that above all, I should love.
Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. ~ 1 John 4:7
Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen ~ 1 Peter 4: 9-11
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