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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today in Sunday School

The scripture today was Psalm 139:1 (NRSV) Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me.  Julia Denton, the writer, wrote …I thought of the people dearest to me and realized that my knowledge of them is the basis of my love for them Upper Room 03/21/11. The challenge of the day was Make an effort to learn more about someone you find annoying. A discussion of this lesson and the issues it raised took the entire hour.  One class member years ago lost his wife and children in a car accident.  He was not with them, working at the time.  But, ever since, he has felt survivor’s guilt.  He would have preferred dying in their place.  He feels guilty even though he had nothing significant to do with their deaths.  This represented an example of where knowing more about a person leads to better understanding.  We discussed how people sometimes rationalize misdirection in their lives rather than dealing with it honestly.  This lack of self-candor can make matters worse.  Addictions, for example to alcohol, can result from feeling unhappy about oneself.  One member of the class has had problems with drinking and discussed how alcohol offers an escape from psychological pain temporarily.  But after a period of drunkenness, the self-loathing if anything gets worse.  Another class member discussed the abuse he received at home and the good care he received later in an orphanage.  The bottom line of the class was that we should attempt to replace anger and judgment with an understanding of the complexities of individual histories.  The closing prayer: Loving God, help us to know others so that we may love them.  Teach us not to judge but to listen.

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