Signs of Mercy
“This generation is an evil generation;
It seeks a sign but no sign will be given it,
Except the sign of Jonah” – Luke 11:29
I spent a couple of days on this verse. It has become my day 8 and day 9 reflection.
The reading talks about accepting the truth that people we may not like or approve of, are a part of God’s plan too. It drives home the point that we are all God’s creations. Not one person, denomination, culture, or spirituality outshines another. It may help to see God as a parent with many children, all with different personalities and talents, and all of whom He loves. We are not cookie cutters. All are worthy of a relationship with God. Everyone gets a chance.
I have allowed this concept to settle within me over the last 48 hours. It has been very helpful in my journey to healing this Lenten season. I have mentioned the church I used to attend, and how I was hurt. The most hurtful – and final – thing that happened was I received a registered letter saying I was to be removed from the membership in not only the local church, but the entire denomination. The reason cited was lack of attendance and financial support. No other explanation was given. I cannot begin to describe what something like this does to a person after years of faithful service. To add further hurt, my expulsion was to be done at the meeting of their board. How completely humiliating! The church board was made up of people I knew and worshipped alongside for years. All because suddenly somebody deemed me unworthy.
After this letter, I started to see myself as an “outcast” – sent away from Christian life.
It was isolating
It was embarrassing
It was infuriating
And it was soul crushing.
Admittedly, I was not attending anymore (I had my reasons). But it is such a shame they could not have simply left it at that, without the letter being sent. I would have either decided to come back, or not.
Signs of Mercy. I needed some back then.
Afterwards, I began to define myself as the “outcast”. This thought grew. It took on a life of it’s own. Soon, it was not just this church that I felt estranged from. I started to see all churches that way. I had lost trust. And when you feel unable to open your heart to corporate worship, unfortunately this can extend to affect your relationship with God Himself.
Reading the Jonah reflection, together with prayer, has opened my heart up to a refreshing possibility. Perhaps the next time the idea of “outcast” enters my mind, I can replace the thought with something more positive and healthy. I can start to define myself according to who I really am – I am a child of God. As worthy as anyone else of His love, care and blessing.
I am not an outcast.
I am one of His own.
This is a big shift in perspective for me.
This is the direction I would like to continue on.