Progress and Decline at the Same Time

A name calling President who regularly insults others in public doesn’t seem like progress. Yet, we continue to advance medical technology to the point of AIDS being more treatable than before. We can detect certain cancers earlier and life expectancy is higher. This is promising.

The leading cause of death for adults 25-45 years old last year was drug overdose. In fact, the leading causes of death in all adults under the age of 50 is, for the most part, self-inflicted. Drug overdose, suicide, and heart failure all compete for number one. This doesn’t seem like progress. Earlier I took a train from London to Paris which travels underneath the water. I ate breakfast at a preserve in Australia with Koala bears and Kangaroos and had a soft drink and wrote in my journal while sitting in Tiananmen Square, in the heart of Beijing. Some of this seems like progress.

Battling Your Relationship With Shame

Discovering who we are inevitably leads us to discovering the reality that we're not who we desire to be - at least in ways.  Shame and guilt over past sin or current struggles can paralyze us....completely.  We feel separated from God, the people of God and the things of God.

We have to understand, though, that shame creeps in because we wrongly identify ourselves in sinful actions/tendency/behavior.  At it's core this misplacement of our identity is because we view ourselves as bodies that have a soul versus a soul that has a body.  

It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it's not at all.  It's an entirely different identity.  If we view ourselves as a body that continues to sin and do what we ought not - cf. Romans 7:18 - we inevitably end with feelings of shame and guilt.  However, if we view ourselves biblically and through Christ as a soul that has been made new, our identity is beyond our fleshly limitations and actions.  This is important to understand because our identity, then, is not found in sin, but instead in who God has made us to be spiritually (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14).

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Good Gifts are Different for Everyone

At age fifty-six, Helen unexpectedly became a single adult again. Only nine months earlier her husband had been killed in a car accident. In an attempt to get her out of the house, a friend invited her to an adult singles meeting where I was speaking.

“I didn’t really want to come to this meeting,” she later told me. “I don’t feel like a single adult. I feel like I’m still married. It’s just that my husband is no longer here. But, I’m glad I came,” she said. “I’ve never heard about love languages. I think I need to apply this in my relationship with my son.”

Helen had one son, Brett, who was now thirty-two. He had married right out of college and divorced two years later. Since then, he lived alone and only sporadically made contact with his parents. However, since the death of his dad, he came around more often, and Helen was hoping they could have a closer relationship. “I think I need to discover his love language,” Helen said. I suggested she give Brett a chance to show his love language by responding to the following statement: “Since your dad has died, we’re the only two left. You have been so helpful to me these last few months, I’d like to do something to show you how much I appreciate what you have done. What can I do?”
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