14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022

Paul writes, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

A man can bless a woman abundantly without even knowing it. A female client with a history of chronic and violent sexual abuse shared this story. She was afraid of men and of church, since that’s where much of her abuse had occurred. After several years of counselling sessions with me, she wanted to go to church again. She attended every Sunday, sitting in the back, arriving late and leaving early. After a few months, she told me about a family that sat in front of her every Sunday, a father, mother, and two little girls.

She watched them like a hawk, most particularly the father. She said, “I have never seen a man treat a woman or little girls like this man does. He is never rough or sharp. Every Sunday, week after week, he is kind. He treats his wife with dignity. He bends down to the little girls, and even if they are wiggly or naughty, his voice is low and kind. For the first time in my life, I have a little picture of how you say God is with me. He is like that father.”

This man demonstrated power under the control of the Spirit of God, manifested in humility and used on behalf of others. He demonstrated power with kindness. He looked like his Lord. He did not know that his humility carried tremendous power with eternal results, as he gave my client a glimpse of the Father as he truly is. Our Father, our Head, uses all power to bless his children as he bends over them with love and serves them. That very God, in Christ, calls us to do the same. Ω

Reflect: When have you witnessed “power under the control of the Spirit of God”, that is, power tempered with gentleness and kindness, and used on behalf of others?

What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent. This year’s theme is Fruit of the Spirit. Why? Read this. #Lent2022. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent © Sanctuary, 2022. From Diane Langberg. Redeeming Power. Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2020: 105.

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