“Seek out good disagreement with every form of evil, and by the power of the Spirit live a life united to goodness, mercy, and love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 24, 2022
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30, ESV
The disciplines of a penitential season (such as Lent) are meant to surface sins and patterns of unhealth that far too often creep in the deep recesses of our hearts and lives. We are meant to grow more and more aware of how easily we are annoyed with others, how quick we are to assume we are correct, and how slow we can be at seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. Yet this growth is not automatic! When made aware of the sickness within, we have a choice: do we let it linger or do we do the hard work of cutting ties and parting ways for good?
On the whole, peace and unity are virtues to be celebrated and pursued. That said, their virtuous nature is rooted in who and what we make peace with, not simply the act of peacemaking! In fact, far too often we seem quite settled and comfortable in our relationship to our sin and shortcomings. Our vices promise momentary comfort or escape, and so we welcome them with open arms. Unity? Yes, but not one that leads to our healing. As St. John Chrysostom said, “There is an evil concord, and there is a good disagreement…Now if we must separate ourselves from an ill-joined limb, must we not much more from friends united to us for evil? So that agreement is not in all cases good, just as division is not in all cases an evil.”
The invitation before you and me this season is twofold. First, we must do the hard work of identifying the sources of “evil concord” in our lives. What patterns of living have you embraced and celebrated, yet know in your heart of hearts are not for your good but will ultimately lead you down a path of destruction? What then does it look like for you to embody a “good disagreement,” separating yourself from the lies and deceptions that pull you away from Christ and your true home with him?
This is not easy work, and in many ways you are inviting pain and discomfort into your life. Yet do not lose sight of the goal! This pain is momentary and fleeting, and the freedom and life that is found on the other side is eternal. So today choose to seek out good disagreement with every form of evil, and by the power of the Spirit live a life united to goodness, mercy, and love.
Father, unsettle my spirit and give me a holy discontent with the evil that lives within me, and give me the strength to live today in the light and life of your love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Identify the people, values, or habits that you need to distance yourself from in order to cling more closely to the way of Christ.
Matt Redman: Holy
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