parresia

I AM MERELY THE WINE BOTTLE POURING OUT THE WINE OF THE LORD.

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Location: New England, United States

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dependence to Dependence


"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. " Matthew 18:1-4


My office window at work looks out over a day care playground. At times, when I hear the the children playing with screams of delight, I turn from my computer to watch their play. Two little boys are waddling up and down the sidewalk - back and forth with no apparent destination. Another little boy is trekking furiously around and around in circles, and a group of four girls (determined by their pink and purple coats) are sitting in the bottom of a sand box in a lively exchange that I cannot hear.

Each time I watch this parade of energy and abandon, I remember what Jesus said and I know that he is referring to their joy, peace and faith. Yesterday was different. This time watching the children, I wondered why they have such joy, peace and faith while those in my office were stressed, concerned and worried. A word hit me - Dependence.

We all start our lives dependent. We don't worry how our food will come - we know if we cry - it will be provided. When we are cold - we cry. When we need to be held - we cry. When we are scared - we cry. When we are hurt - we cry, knowing and expecting someone will respond.

As we age, we are taught to become more independent - to do these things for ourselves. This is good, but with independence comes arrogance. "I can do it myself!", is a favorite tune of small children. As we lose our dependence, we forget the faith we once had that our needs will met when we cry out. We begin to place our faith in ourselves instead of our parents.

So too as we grow spiritually, we place less and less faith in our Heavenly Father and more faith in our own abilities. Relying on ourselves alone steals our joy and abandon - or courage - as these are replaced with stress, concern and worry.

There is salvation, though. It is ironic that as we mature spiritually, our bodies decline until we are once again dependent on others to supply our needs. It is as though we are once again returned to childhood where our learned independence is replaced by dependence in preparation for the meeting with our Father.

4 Comments:

Blogger Lucy said...

I’m Japanese mother. So my comment might be not good.
But I try to comment for this blog.
When I was young, I didn’t like my father’s recommend. But now I am two son’s mother.
And my father passed away and my mother is sick. I wish I would talk with my parents.
I really wanted to meet my father.
Recently I realized I live in dependence on my parents in my feeling.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Hello Lucy - Your comment was beautifully written and I understood it completely. I too wanted more from my parents but God helped me realize that I was the one who needed to change. He told me to forgive them which is the first step to healing my soul. I learned that forgiveness is not a feeling, but a decision - so I decided to forgive by speaking those words out loud. There is such power in speaking the words ( this is why Jesus said - I am the Word). Everytime the hurt feelings came back - I just spoke again - I forgive and do you know - in a few weeks - that feeling of forgiveness finally became a part of me. My parents are the same parents I have always had - but I changed and now I see them and understand because I am seeing them from freedom instead of enslavement to my pain. I am praying for you.

1:17 PM  
Blogger lanatjb said...

Hey, I noticed you commented on my blog. If you're interested in the term "antistenai," then I would love to submit my research on it to you. I'm actually really excited when I researched this topic:

The following verse is actually one of the most widely misunderstood of Jesus’s messages. In Matthew 5:38-41, Jesus encourages nonviolent resistance to the political and economic oppression plaguing the Roman-ruled Israelites, rather than physical retaliation. The Greek word He uses to command his audience to so “resist” them is antistenai, which comes from anti, “against,” and senai, “stand,” and it is a term commonly associated with warfare. However the English translation of his message from ‘Don’t react violently against the one who is evil’ to “Do not resist an evildoer” implies docility rather than nonviolent protest. The rest of his commands tell his listeners how to nonviolently protest oppressors in specific situations of that time.

You should research it for yourself! It's pretty interesting!

~Lana

2:58 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Dear Lana - Thank you for that insight and the original definition. It appears that what Jesus spoke works as this is how Gandhi freed India from British domination and subsequently, Martin Luther King provided greater freedom for African-Americans. I look forward to checking this out.

9:19 AM  

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