Catacomb Resident Blog

Authenticity and Alienation

16 February 2023

Sometimes things tire you out. You come to that moment when you have to pray and ask God whether you've done all you could in certain fields, take the harvest you got from it, and move on.

I'm grateful for all the times the Lord has used me. When I can, I testify of His power, mercy, and patience. I want people to believe in His promises. It's not that my life has been so perfect. I'm no model; I'll testify of my own failures, along with God's grace and mercy in rescuing me. But there are a whole host of things that simply happened regardless of my choices, and those sorrows are just par for the course. There's no point in carrying on about those things. Still, after a long life of faith that began very early, I can see a huge difference when I witness how others have gone through the shreddings that I avoided. They testify, and I want to testify, too.

But I've often been rebuked for getting involved in conversations among those who have been shredded. They don't want to hear about faith that was able to keep you from the shredder. I can certainly appreciate a long and detailed analysis of the failures when the tools are available. But it seems to me that, at some point, they are wallowing in it, as if it makes them better men. I have no authenticity with them because I don't have matching scars.

I call it "the recovery ghetto". I've ministered around folks who are "in recovery" from various human follies, and the whole thing has become an industrial way of life. They cannot bear the presence of those who don't suffer their particular brand of sorrow. "You just don't understand!" Somehow, faith that kept me from their particular sorrow means I cannot get inside their sorrow. It's as if my other character flaws cannot transfer over to allow understanding a different brand of failure. Because I lack their weaknesses, I cannot walk among them.

Jesus didn't have to go through recovery to heal folks who got trapped in their fleshly nature, but the Gospels do talk about people who simply couldn't accept His healing because they apparently were enjoying too much the affliction. By no means am I anywhere on His par, but I've followed His example and walked away from those situations. I'm sure I'll have to do it again in the future.

Still, I'll testify that, if you raise children whom the Lord touches early in life, and whom the Lord calls to serve Him, keep an eye on how it turns out. Children who grasp some measure of faith early and generally stay out of trouble will be aliens among their age peers. Their humility and trust in the Lord will make them the ultimate outsiders. It would pay well to counsel them about this aspect of coming to faith early, and how it will socially isolate them.

But also teach them that there are far fewer regrets in life when you walk with the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

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