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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Circular Dilemma--Nurtured by Our Own Experiences

How does verse 18 [quoted below] fit as a description of your spiritual journey?  Which other images describe what coming to faith was like for you? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1562).

Acts 26:17-18  (NIV)

...I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

A key to understanding human behavior is that we are nurtured by our own experiences.  Our experiences tend to delimit our vision. It is frequently the case that when we are in error, we are in error not so much by willful determination but by the limited experiences upon which we draw.  That is, experiences have a profound impact upon our perception in toto--intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Shortcomings therefore are not so much a matter of will as perceptual barriers inevitably wrought by our idiosyncratic experiences.  God's grace takes this into account and is not preoccupied with guilt so much as changed behavior based upon new creative insights.  This requires a self-imposed excommunication from our institutionalized past and a courageous leap of faith into liberty of thought and perception--a very risky thing to do save for the love of God.  That is, the Creator understands the inevitable need for forgiveness; forgiveness (by which we are allowed to drop our defensiveness) makes possible transformative lights of fresh perspectives. 

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