Tenderness
As I was reading through Brennan Manning’s book, "The Wisdom of Tenderness" this morning, one passage in the book really caused me to stop, ponder, reflect and pray. Brennan had been writing on how when we experience freedom we begin to have an appreciation for the captivity we have been in, or to put it another way, repentance finds its pinnacle when we’re brought to gratitude for our sins…because the awareness of them, and dealing with them serve to draw us closer to God.

Then he wrote on the damaging effects of sin in our lives as they affect us relationally. So read what Brennan wrote and chime in on your thoughts…

**********

"Sin is the starting point of all social estrangement. Every sin, even every sin of thought, leaves its mark on the psychic structure of the human soul. Every unrepented sin has a sinisterly obscuring effect on true openness.

"No man is an island." We need others, every one of us. Human existence is relative; it’s what philosopher Martin Heidegger called a "mit-sein," a being with. We’re social beings by nature. But sin is antisocial; it locks us up in the prison of our own egoism. And that imprisonment bears grave consequences: insofar as we’re closed and in-communicative with others, our own personality is impoverished; when we can’t reach out to others in a meaningful gesture of love, our own humanness is diminished. Callousness seduces tenderness, and insensitivity becomes a lifestyle.

After every grave sin, something of the power for good is diminished in us. With every subsequent evil act, a measure of our own true liberty is destroyed. The freedom to give ourselves to others generously and gently and the readiness to receive are diminished. The daily turning in on self paralyzes our interpersonal exchanges and constitutes a kind rupture in the evolution of authentic personality. Sin is a closed circuit. Regardless of species, every sin resembles (at least in character) the primal sin of Adam and Eve, which was a closing off from God and one another."

**********

how does that hit you?

Dei Gratia,
MC

10 Comments

  1. I agree so much to what Brennan is saying; sin is so full of “self” and solitude. There is no reaching out to people; it’s just all about yourself. I can think of times in my life where sin was the “norm” and I was lonely and unhappy! I couldn’t have helped anyone during those times because I was so miserable with myself!! It does “become a lifestyle” full of anger and being insensitive to people around us. Thank God for Jesus and the new life we have in Him!!! Thank God for the Holy Spirit that forever “tells us”, “reach out to that person, give them a hug” and
    “turn around and speak to that person, don’t walk away” We DO need each other!

    Like

  2. great words eileen! I think if we could begin to realize that there is probably something off within us when we begin to move towards isolation and disconnection, and not do the blame game…we would experience God on a far deeper level!
    MC

    Like

  3. How true is that!!! I only know from my own experience. Having bad thoughts about someone will destroy any relationship. If we can turn our thoughts around to first seek God’s grace and allow the experience, you can give grace to others.
    Yes, how horrible we feel when we finally realize that it is our own being that is destroyed when we have bad thoughts or treat others with an unloving heart. What freedom we recieve to love when we discover the walls we’ve built that eventually gave us no space to love. It is that insight that frees our spirit to seek answers to unleash the self torture and the torture on others and give again, the love that those around us deserve no matter what. It is God that sets that example with His only Son. When we pay attention to that there is only one way to be; with truth, love and grace.
    It’s the power we receive from the Holy Spirit if only we will open our hearts and rest in Him so that we can share that glorious wonder. LOVE
    Givng love is what recieves love. That opens us up to God and to one another.

    Like

  4. Great thought to pull out for us, Monty! The sentence which really strkes me is “Sin is a closed circuit.” We love because He first loved us. Everything which facilitates genuine connection originates in our triune God. We can even be egocentric when it comes to our battle against sin. I have experienced many seasons of confronting sinful attitudes or actions in the environment of a closed system. I close ranks around myself and try to align myself with the ways of our God so that I might present that work to Him, to myself and to those around me. The end result, if it were possible to acheive, would be a personal victory. The victory would be a very lonely, shallow and temporary one which, instead of bringing me closer into fellowship with Christ and those around me, would actually serve to cut me off. That is why the writer of Hebrews in Chapter 12 exhorts us to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the source.
    We get confused about what sin is. Romans 14:23 says “…and whatever is not from faith is sin.” That is why your opening paragraph is so important. When approached in the context of faith, sin does drive us to the one who can deliver us and the fruit of that deliverance is connection. When approached in the absence of faith, sin drives us into ourselves in a neverending mode of personal distraction which causes us to become a closed circuit. Great entry! I am so thankful for your leadership Monty! Love, Randy

    Like

  5. Great thought to pull out for us, Monty! The sentence which really strkes me is “Sin is a closed circuit.” We love because He first loved us. Everything which facilitates genuine connection originates in our triune God. We can even be egocentric when it comes to our battle against sin. I have experienced many seasons of confronting sinful attitudes or actions in the environment of a closed system. I close ranks around myself and try to align myself with the ways of our God so that I might present that work to Him, to myself and to those around me. The end result, if it were possible to acheive, would be a personal victory. The victory would be a very lonely, shallow and temporary one which, instead of bringing me closer into fellowship with Christ and those around me, would actually serve to cut me off. That is why the writer of Hebrews in Chapter 12 exhorts us to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the source.
    We get confused about what sin is. Romans 14:23 says “…and whatever is not from faith is sin.” That is why your opening paragraph is so important. When approached in the context of faith, sin does drive us to the one who can deliver us and the fruit of that deliverance is connection. When approached in the absence of faith, sin drives us into ourselves in a neverending mode of personal distraction which causes us to become a closed circuit. Great entry! I am so thankful for your leadership Monty! Love, Randy

    Like

  6. If we Christians were more open and honest with one another about our sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions, felt a freedom to express and dialogue, we’d come closer to genuine love and relationship. Why is it that acknoweldging our humanity is such a shameful act; one we hide hoping no one discovers but when admitted, respect, freedom and admiration follow? What’s the hang up? Sue

    Like

  7. If we Christians were more open and honest with one another about our sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions, felt a freedom to express and dialogue, we’d come closer to genuine love and relationship. Why is it that acknoweldging our humanity is such a shameful act; one we hide hoping no one discovers but when admitted, respect, freedom and admiration follow? What’s the hang up? Sue

    Like

  8. Great conversations all of you…
    In my thought, we mortals have a couple severe internal issues that Christ needs to massage…a deep level of self-hatred which results in masks and an inability to accept grace, so instead we live a “SHOULD” lifestyle that we never measure up to which perpetuates the nasty cycle..
    The second area is our broken process of receiving validation from others, things, achievements…we struggle with authenticity because we are afraid that if we really let people know, they would remove their acceptance from us, so their validation becomes an idol, and we go back to issue #1, we don’t like who we are.
    That is why the life of Christ in us is our only hope to accept our acceptance, receive our validation from the One who made us, and begin to step out into the otherworld of authenticity and beauty…
    okay, still thinking…let me hear your thoughts!

    Like

  9. Wow Monty! You burrowed staight to somewhere near the very core here. I am now speechless (almost) and contemplating. Keep thinking and sharing. You are diving depths I have yet to be familiar with. One thing I did connect with from studying Ephesians is the repeated phrase “…to the praise of His glory”. I had never really given much thought to what has to be a reality – that God truly and powerfully loves Himself! Somehow in my grid, self love at some level feels like selfishness or egotistical. I believe that meditating on the fact that God loves Himself may help me to let my guard down and receive it from Him. Love, Randy

    Like

  10. Wow Monty! You burrowed staight to somewhere near the very core here. I am now speechless (almost) and contemplating. Keep thinking and sharing. You are diving depths I have yet to be familiar with. One thing I did connect with from studying Ephesians is the repeated phrase “…to the praise of His glory”. I had never really given much thought to what has to be a reality – that God truly and powerfully loves Himself! Somehow in my grid, self love at some level feels like selfishness or egotistical. I believe that meditating on the fact that God loves Himself may help me to let my guard down and receive it from Him. Love, Randy

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s