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Matthew 8:34-37

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

Since an early age, I have always had a strong inclination to justify or rationalize my negative behaviors and actions; whether to parents, teachers, other adults, or especially to myself. It was much easier and palatable to shift and point the blame and to deny being wrong or at fault. “Those others are much worse than me; I am a good person in most ways; it was a little mistake;” on and on. Trying to save myself from humiliation, guilt, and shame.

Of course, this carries on to adulthood and has not served me well as a coping-with-life tool. My default mode at times is to be critical and judgmental and blaming; embarrassingly so to family, friends, and coworkers (Tari would add referees and umpires!)

But on this journey, I have experienced the profound giving and receiving of love and grace. As I have grown into maturity of my person and my faith, I have also learned to identify and name these millstones that have held me back from fully being the one I am called to in Christ.

I am learning from my bride to say and mean “I am sorry” in a more timely and meaningful way. I am learning to take a lesson form my son and think “Is this important” before speaking what first comes to mind. I am learning from my line of work that the gift of life is precious but tenuous and it is ok to not have all the right answers or solutions. I am learning from my own situational replays to be more mindful. I am learning from the life and words of Jesus to follow, to be vulnerable, to metanoia.

Lord God, you are the one that loves and saves. Alleluia.

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