Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thanks for the Memorization... :)

       Autumn... "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..."

Sadly, that's the only thing I remember from my Romantic Lit class eons ago.  If, indeed, that came from my Romantic Lit class...
       Well, maybe that's not all I remember.  I do recall things like, "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" - we students excelled in wit as we joked about how the poet must have been uncomfortable, writing suspended in space over a church like that.   Or there was the  title, "Ode to Intellectual Beauty" but I won't go there right now.
       Moving right along...
      I once heard an assistant principal tell a kid:  I've forgotten more than you've even had a chance to learn...   While I liked the pithiness of that statement - and still do - I now wonder at the overall message it sends...  You don't know anything because you haven't learned anything... And I don't know anything either because I've forgotten everything I once knew???  As in youth and age somehow end up in the same boat?
     I think not!  (Youth don't have knees that creak nor do they have to live or die  by sticky note reminders...)
      So, the point of this blog entry - if there is a point, still not sure about that - is that even though I may not remember where I put my cell phone, still, every once in a while snatches of beauty come floating to my mind and that's not a bad thing.  Long ago lessons may be mostly forgotten but somehow, from time to time, they come to mind when least expected.
     Like as in  this past week.
     Looking out my kitchen window early one morning a couple of days ago, I saw a white scrim moving towards our house. Since I hadn't found my glasses yet, I wasn't sure if it was a morning mist, a light, almost invisible fog, or if it was rain moving towards our property.
    Rather than hunt for my glasses, I went outside where clearly I could see that I was  surrounded by a light, almost ethereal fog.  For just a few minutes, I stood there drinking in the beauty of my Morning Glories, marveling in  the "softened" images all around me due to the mist, thankful for yet another clear sign that autumn was closer than ever.
   And at that moment, the phrase "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" (Keats) went through my mind and I could recall my professor, Dr. Nolte, looking at us with his characteristic half-sardonic, half-serious smile while he talked about entering a pub in London, England.  He told us that one foggy day he had walked into his normal hangout after office hours where to his surprise,  the bartender greeted him by saying, "Gene, how do you like the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness?"
   Dr. Nolte's point was that only in Europe could you walk into a bar and hear the bartender quote a Romantic poet.  Not in America where the majority of the population didn't even know the Romantic poets, let alone quote them.
   However, thanks to Dr. Nolte and many other dedicated professors and teachers, I have to say that this geriatric, arthritic old lady who can't always find her glasses, her keys, or, in some instances, her car - can appreciate the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...
    We have a saying, "If you can read this, thank a teacher" and I heartily agree with that.
    I would like to add:  "If you can appreciate the finer things of life - art, music, poetry, nature - then please, thank a teacher."

Monday, September 23, 2013

A World of Difference...

      One day the phone rang very early in the morning.  Phil answered it and heard a voice on the other end telling  him in no-nonsense terms that he owed a ton of back taxes. It wasn't a joke; it was the IRS and they weren't happy.  Phil could only think to do one thing - he managed to blurt out his social security number. When the caller heard it, he said he had the wrong person and to Phil's great relief, the story ended there.
     There were other incidents like that over a period of several years.   Clearly there was someone else with my husband's name - someone who didn't pay their bills on time, date nice, single women, or always drive when sober. (Apparently hitting a telephone pole and then leaving the scene is a federal offense - who knew???)
    We continued to receive calls from various officials and creditors until eventually the other Phillip moved out of town.  However, long after the other Phillip left, I would run into people who, upon hearing my name for the first time, would smirk and say, "Oh, are you by any chance related to Phillip...?"
    Well, my husband had that name but, no, I wasn't related to the Phillip they had heard about.
    The other Phillip had married, settled down, and been living out of state for many years - something I knew but my curious new friend obviously didn't know.
    Because they didn't know the "other Phillip"  - they just knew about him.
    The book of John in the New Testament gives us many of the teachings of Jesus.  We can read His own words - not what others have said about Him - and know Him.
     Or we can primarily read what others have said about Him down through the centuries - and just know about Him.
    To know Him.
    Or to simply know about Him.
    There is a world of difference between the two.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

When You Don't Have a Rottweiler....


      Sometimes you have to walk.
      This morning it was simply too beautiful not to go outside.  However, in the 'hood, you need certain accouterments  to take with you.  Rottweilers are good...  However, since we have rat terriers and mixed (not to say goofy) labs, I don't walk the dogs.  The rat terriers prefer to be carried and the labs prefer to pull me rather than vice-versa.
      So I took a cane. Partly for defense, partly for support in case, as my granny used to say, my knee started "acting up".  (Definition of "Senior Citizen" - when your joints act independently of your mind and receive more attention than you, as a person, do.)
     And I took my memory verses with me.  Once, when a young wannabe kid - pants sagging, attitude showing - met me on the sidewalk, I felt uneasy, prayed, and then to my surprise (and his) I started talking to him about my verses.   I ended up, rather like a school marm,   asking him somewhat sternly if he read the Bible.  I still have trouble believing I did that and can only say that fear causes you to do some strange things. Stranger still was his response.  His bravado disappeared in an instant, his face fell, and he started calling me Ma'am. (At one point, I swear he was on the verge of calling me mamma...)  Before we parted, he was sheepishly promising me that he would read the Bible.  Ha!  Ever since then, when Phil can't walk with me, I try to remember... to take my memory verses...
     Only some mornings I suffer, not from arthritis but from what I fondly call Teflon brain.  When nothing seems to stick in the old grey cells.  And this morning was one of those.  Yes, I did remember to take my verses and as I walked down the street I knew what to do with them (I'm not that bad... yet...).  However, try as I might, I could not get one new phrase, let alone a whole verse, to stick in my brain.  Worse yet, the ones I had previous memorized weren't sticking too well either. As in one minute I'm quoting I Peter and the next I'm quoting Ephesians...  Bit of a leap there....
     So I just started mindlessly flipping through my memory cards, which I compiled years ago, noting that 3/4ths of Psalm 37 was no longer among the others.  Wonder when those cards fell out???  And where???
     And then I came to some cards that weren't verses. Instead they were notes I'd taken from a book by Charles Stanley,  When the Enemy Strikes: the Key to Winning Your Spiritual Battles.   I remembered taking notes out of this book in 2005, when a friend was terminally ill.  I photocopied the notes onto index cards and made a copy for her and for me.  Over the years, however, I have only occasionally looked at them.
    Today was one of those days when I focused on reading the notes - since everything else seemed to be pretty much a lost cause - and the first thing I saw was a morning prayer by Dr. Stanley.
     So I prayerfully read:
     Lord, by faith here's what I'm doing right now to prepare myself for the coming day.  I'm putting on the belt of truth.  I ask You to make it very clear to me what I am to accept into my life and what I am to reject.  Help me to see clearly the motives of others as they deal with me and converse with me. Let me walk in Your truth, making decisions and choices according to Your plans and purposes for my life.
     Truth.  That word swept into my mind like a beautiful autumn breeze.  I realized I had been bombarded by various "truths" and "half-truths" lately.  (It's called the news...) And that on this stunningly clear morning, my greatest need was to be anchored in the truth, instead of being blown about by every thing I see on the internet or hear from my contemporaries.
     Fresh as an autumn breeze in the sweet autumn of my life.
     I really don't want to leave home without it.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

He Makes All Things New

      Regrets are hard to carry and so are some memories.
      My father died of pneumonia in Sept. 1995.  My mother died of pancreatic cancer in Dec. 1995.
      My father's death was relatively quick and we were not close. I hadn't seen him since I was 18 or so as he had lived out of state, away from us for the majority of my adulthood. Still, when his health took a final turn for the worse, I remember him asking me (in writing because he couldn't speak) when the surgery would be?  I realized that he expected the doctors to save him one more time and I had to tell him there wouldn't be any surgery, that he was too weak to survive an operation.  That was hard. He wasn't ready for death and yet, it was coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
      But it was my mother's death that rocked me to the core.  For many months after she went home, I was haunted by the things I had seen during the six months that she was on Hospice.  As anyone knows who has dealt with cancer, after the disease has come, done its worst, and gone, there's not much left of the person who played unwilling host to the illness. I just had so many heartbreaking memories from those six months that I often longed for the days when I was a child and was not allowed to go above the lobby floor of the hospital. I would tell people that it was as  if a curtain had been pulled back on something I never wanted to see and, in fact, wanted desperately to forget.  To say she lost all dignity and suffered acutely would be putting it mildly.  In many ways, she was my best friend and that wound has not completely healed even yet.
       When my sister died in Oct. 2008, the regrets were even worse. Overwhelmingly so.  No images though, because my sister and I had been estranged for many years when she died. Yet the last time I had seen her, in 2006 when she was admitted to the hospital for lung cancer, I could see that decades of mental illness (paranoia schizophrenia)  had  taken a huge toll on her; so much so that she scarcely resembled the sister I once knew. Just as cancer had ravaged my mother, so mental illness had ravaged my sister. Only where the cancer took months to do its work, the mental illness took decades and throughout those 40 years, the mental illness exacted a very high toll on everyone who knew her and loved her. When the toll became too excruciating, I opted out and never really opted back in.  My regrets are legion. Hindsight truly is always 20/20.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that hindsight is also viewed only through rose-colored glasses.   Still, I find myself looking in the "rear view mirror" of my life from time to time.
       Over the years, I've developed a habit of trying to justify my existence - not to others but to myself.  Rehearsing the things I did right -to prove I'm not so bad.  Rehashing things others have done wrong - to prove they "started it" or to prove that I do know right from wrong even though I don't always act on my knowledge.
       While we were in Memphis earlier this week, I got on my knees and asked God to deliver me from this recurrent need to justify myself, in both large and small matters - all having to do with the past.
       The first thing He showed me, through an internet Bible study that I'm doing is that I have a choice. I can justify myself or I can love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I can't do both.  God or self?  Who am I going to defend, exalt, and meditate on?  Which is more important - what I've done or what He has and is doing?
       The second thing He showed me came through a book I bought yesterday, Appointments with Heaven by Dr. Reggie Anderson.  It was an iffy purchase.  A book that I thought might be "on the money" or might be spurious.  I can't tell you whether it's legit or not. I'm only half way through and up to this point, I am convinced he's being straight with the reader. But it's a subjective thing and each reader would have to make up his or her own mind.
      All I can say is that when I got to the pivotal point in the story, I knew God was dealing with me.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.
     Dr. Anderson, the author, grew up in a Christian home and then left both - his home and his faith. He had good reason for wanting to move out of state as well as  for wanting to turn his back on the innocent, untested faith of his youth.
     The fact is that when his faith was tested, it was huge and his faith faltered, died, under the onus of that trial.  Basically life was good - so God was good - until Reggie Anderson turned 18 or so and learned that his best friends and cousins, two Godly young men, had been killed, murdered. Along with three other men in the family - all five guys had been shot execution style by some escaped convicts who were looking for some gas for their escape vehicle and a little fun along the way. The fun they found with the young pregnant wife of one of the men they killed.  She also died but probably not quickly enough.
    Six deaths in one day.
    And God didn't prevent it.
    Six people who loved Him and served Him.
    And God wasn't there.
    That was how Reggie saw it.
    So he left faith in God and put his faith in education, a good career, hanging out with his drinking buddies, and being an intellectual atheist.  As he put it, when he was 8 he realized there was no Santa Clause. And by the time he'd reached 20, he knew there was no God.  End of story.
    Essentially, the horror of those deaths, the memory of what happened to his loved ones, the first-hand knowledge of evil that was suddenly forced on him - all of this drove him to live and serve something he could see and understand. That something was education and, in particular, science.  During his undergraduate years, he felt he had the answers that he needed as well as the keys to success. He was on top of the world with a great future.
    Then he hit medical school, where he was inundated with information which changed often times before he had even fully grasped the old, now outdated, information. New studies, current studies, past studies - it all humbled him and convinced him that he couldn't learn everything that was out there to grasp. That no one could.
    And then he had to work on a cadaver and the intricacy of the human body, particularly the complex nature of the eye, convinced him that the body was a work of art and that where you have a complicated piece of art, there must be an artist. Somewhere.
    So he moved from atheist to agnostic.
    He began to search.
    And that search culminated in a weekend camping trip where he ended up alone with just the stars, a flashlight, and two books:  Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis and a copy of The Bible. He read the C. S. Lewis book in one sitting and then turned to the Bible where he read the gospel of John from start to finish.  Finally he fell into a deep sleep, unlike any other he had ever experienced, and had a dream in which he saw his murdered friends.  The dream ended with a challenge from Jesus and when he awoke, he was most definitely a believer.
    What stood out for me in this account was the fact that his friends were not the way he remembered them.  They just weren't.  No bullet holes. Not even any childhood scars. They were whole; they were healthy - glowing with vitality in fact -  and and they were happy, joyous even.
     When someone dies, we say they are in a better place.
     We say they are whole and well now.
     We say that they are happy now.
     But do we believe it?
     Obviously I didn't.
     Because for years, I've held onto memories of the way my loved ones were when I last knew them. In addition to that, I've held onto memories of the many ways in which I failed them.
      In reading this book, it finally hit me - my loved ones are well, they are whole, they are happy now, and they have no regrets.
      And neither should I.
      Focusing on the past, and my mixed bag of success and failure as I lived through it - that is not where my focus should be. Because the past doesn't exist anymore and because Jesus, when He comes, makes all things new.
      In both life and in death, when the Risen Christ comes to us, He makes all things new.
      And that is where our focus should be.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Day I Didn't Have My Listening Ears on... :)

      This past Saturday I had a jillion things to do - suddenly my "to-do" list was overwhelming.
      So I went to the place where all Americans go when they are stressed  - Wally World. An oasis of peace and sanity in a crazy world... Right?
       With the clock ticking and an out-of-town trip looming large on my horizon, I  found myself standing in line, trying to surreptisiously peer at the items in the carts in front of me and guess how long it would be before I could get to the register to check out. So that I could rush to my car and go on to my next frenzied stop.
      Suddenly this wizened old man standing behind me, leaned right up next to me and bawled, "WHAT-YOU-SAID-IS-RIGHT!!!!"
      Since I hadn't said anything at all, to say I was nonplussed would be putting it mildly.  You can probably imagine the thoughts that went through my mind.
      Who is this old codger???   (Hmmm... I'm pushing 60 myself...)
      Um... this guy next to  me obviously has a screw loose.  The less we say to each other, probably the better....
      Gee, he must be hard of hearing, too!!   Just what I need right now, a hard-of-hearing guy yelling at me while others start to stare at us.  How awkward is this????
      While these thoughts traveled at a rapid-fire pace through my bumfuzzled and slightly alarmed  brain, on the outside I  managed to smile politely and thank him before angling away from him.
     He was not discouraged.
      Whaaaat??? I hadn't said anything about Jesus for sure!  I mean, I don't talk about Jesus in Walmart!!
     And then it hit me:  the little old guy was reading the back of my tee-shirt!!!!  Only I couldn't remember which one I was wearing!!!  (Well, I have a lot of them...!!!).  I hastily looked down at the front of my shirt and read (upside down), "It's not about me..."   And immediately I knew - on the back of that particular shirt it says:

 It's  all about Him


     I knew the back of that shirt  had a lot more than just those five words - it was a particularly wordy tee-shirt  :)- so I wasn't sure what else the little guy had read but at least I knew where he was coming from!    He went on to talk about how he was looking for the Lord's return and about how  he knew that every day Jesus delayed was a day that God could teach him patience.  By this time I really felt we had a listening audience and was more than a little uncomfortable with that.  I mean talking about the return of Jesus with a a total stranger who speaks (and hears!) only in the upper decibles and all this taking place in a crowded  Wal-Mart on a Sat. afternoon - well, it's  somewhat whacked!  But I realized he was sincere - basically a nice guy. And after all, my tee-shirt started it...:)  So I said something in response and after a bit we parted on good terms.
      It wasn't until today that I had time to think about the irony of it all....  And trust me... there was a lot of irony to consider in that exchange of just two days ago...  "It's not about me... It's all about Him..."   Really????
      Now, in a quiet hotel room, I've had time to get the tee-shirt out of my suitcase and actually read the back of it.
 It's  all about Him

washed in HIS blood
saved by HIS sacrifice,
trusting in HIS word,
depending on HIS love,
living on HIS promises
waiting for HIS return.

I'm tempted to say that the moral of this blog entry is:  be careful what you wear to Wal-Mart... Or perhaps more to the point:  don't leave home without re-reading your tee-shirt first...

But I think I'll just say that sometimes God sends the physically hard-of-hearing to enlighten the spiritually hard-of-hearing.
Oh, and the next time you are in Wal Mart, look for a little old guy who likes to bawl at the top of his lungs about Jesus' return. That guy... he's God's guy.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Just Ask Snowflake...

     It's 1 a.m. It's been a day, as we like to say here in the South.
     Even David's bird has had issues...
     Snowflake  has been given free range of the library for some time now but he's mostly stayed on his little wooden jungle gym.  Lately, however, he has taken to flying to the top shelf where he perches, far above our heads.  At night he rests against the corner of the book shelf, trying to look like a multi-colored miniature vulture I suppose.
    Tonight David told me he thought Snowflake had probably suffered Post Traumatic  Syndrome earlier :)
     Apparently Snowflake's wings had gotten too big for his britches... or something like that. He wouldn't come down from his perch at all for David and eschewed his jungle gym completely.  David and his friend, Joel, couldn't get Snowflake to come to them no matter what they did.  So they resorted to drastic measures.
    They started flipping the light switch on and off so that the bird couldn't see to fly; this caused the bird to flutter to the floor, the only seemingly safe place for him to be when the world around him started strobing. :)  Then one of them threw a shirt over the bird as soon as he landed and together, the two guys clipped Snowflake's wings.
     David said Snowflake was not a happy camper during the process and was probably a candidate for PTSD.
     No doubt...
     But then he added, "As soon as his wings were clipped, he was like a different bird. Now he wants to sit on my shoulder all the time, he's docile, and he seems happier.  I guess once his wings were clipped, he knew he had to be dependent on me and now he seems grateful to be near me."
    I thought about it.
    Clipped wings?
    We've got them.
    Phil has made tremendous improvement this week, so much so that he did a lot of "normal" things yesterday and woke up in pain this morning. Not terrible pain like he had at first. But pain that pretty much said, "Whoa, Buddy, not so fast!"
    Just as he thought he could do some low-level hopping, skipping, and jumping, he realized that his wings were still clipped.  He was discouraged and before long, my feathers were ruffled. It was just that kind of a day...
    So we "got on each other's nerves" until, finally,  we acknowledged our inability to fly and nestled close to the Master.
    Corrie ten Boom used to say, "Don't wrestle; just nestle."
    It's good advice.
    Just ask Snowflake ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Midnight Moments of pure Happiness... ;)

    Tonight I lost it.
    We have two large "outside" dogs except that one, Buster, has been hiding in the laundry room because.. .he's afraid of flies. And gnats. And moths.  We made the mistake of letting him in the house a couple of weeks ago and haven't been able to get him in the back yard since.  He'll go into the front yard but he won't go into the back yard and when you try to take him back there, he becomes absolutely frantic. However, if you leave him in the front yard, he digs under the fence and frolics down the street.
     His companion, Heidi, is the smart, calm one.
     Tonight, just a few minutes ago, as the clock was approaching the witching hour, Buster started whining and then scrabbling at the laundry room door.  I let him out thinking he needed to go potty.  Not so.  He just wanted to go outside in the front yard and  get under David's bedroom window - David has to work early tomorrow - and bark.  Loudly.  At the neighbor's dog, an indolent mutt who is too lazy, most of the time, to bark back.  (If the neighbor's dog would bark back, Buster would add Hurricane to the dreaded Enemy List and rank him right up there beside moths, gnats, the weekly tornado siren, and mosquitoes and consequently leave Hurricane alone.  But that hasn't happened yet. Because, as I said, Hurricane is too doggone lazy (pun intended) to respond to Buster's challenges...)
     So let's say I was a tad stressed.  And let's say I raised my voice just a bit.  And let's say that I started speculating vociferously about how many brain cells Buster has - two by my current estimation.  And how many he is lacking - about a million I figure.
      As I began my raised-voice diatribe, Heidi, the smart one, looked at me nervously and moved several feet away from Buster as if he were the canine version of a human lightening rod. Which at that point, he was. Buster continued to stand in my flower bed, oblivious to my increasing ire, and proceeded to bark his head off.
     Soooo ... I lost it.  I turned on the water hose and started chasing both dogs around the front yard while maintaining my larger-than-life soliloquy about Buster's defects, which were increasing by the minute.
     Was one of my neighbor's out in his yard?
     Um, yes.
     Do I care?
     Absolutely not.
     It actually felt good to chase those dogs around with the water hose!  Plus, our plants got watered, both the ones near the house as well as the ones by the fence (where Buster had been  mindlessly barking and wagging his tail).  I got some exercise. And both dogs went meekly back into the laundry room and I haven't heard a peep out of them since!!
    I went; I saw, I conquered!!!   Score!
    I came in, a bit damp I admit,  but still exhilarated by my own victory,  to find my husband sitting up on the bed in the spare room, relishing his own victory from earlier this evening.
    "Wow. Supper was really good tonight!" I didn't cook it. A friend who can cook circles around me did it.  And it was good!  But his sister has also cooked for him and she is an excellent cook. And I made him a pizza a couple of nights ago that he said he really liked ;)   So.. I wondered... Why the rejoicing?
     He elaborated. While he was probably wondering - why are her slacks and shoes wet?
    "You don't know how much better food tastes when you can sit up and eat!!!  It just doesn't taste the same when you have to lie on your back like a beached turtle and try to stretch your neck up in the air so you can eat!  I don't know why but it just takes the flavor right out of the food!  Now that I can sit up and eat, everything tastes so good! Amazing!"
    I rejoiced with him and then shared my own little moment of pure happiness.  "You have no idea how good it felt to chase Buster and Heidi around with the water hose tonight! I think Jason and maybe CArrie saw me running around like a lunatic at midnight but that's what they get for hanging out at midnight in their front yard.  What is it with this neighborhood???  Anyway,
And, yes, I know they are cute. That's primarily why Buster is still around...
 it was wonderful to see that idiotic dog finally get out of the flower bed and cower beside the fence for a change!  And maybe we'll all get some sleep tonight!  And I think they both got soaked enough that it sort of counts as a bath. Man! I wish I'd had the flea soap out there with me! Maybe next time..."

    So goes it at our house. You have to grab joy in the journey whenever you can...
    And we are :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Musings from a Therapy Clinic...

    This morning my husband had physical therapy while I sat in the waiting area and worked on my Bible study.   As I read Luke 17 in the Wuest translation, I could hear my husband saying things like, "Okay... so I need to do this.. and then I can do this..."
     The goal was clearly to heal some internal injury which was making the whole body miserable.
     As I listened to occasional  background phrases concerning various exercises, I  tried to focus on the passage before me.
    First, Jesus talks about how it is inevitable that people will cause others to stumble.  But He warns that the one who causes a weaker brother to stumble would be better off dead.  It's not a light thing to hinder someone in their Christian walk or cause them to leave it altogether.  I had to wonder how many people I've stumbled in my life by careless talk, angry talk, whining, gossip... And I had to ask God to forgive me.
   Then Jesus abruptly changes course.  One minute He's talking about not stumbling someone else.  Then He tells the disciples to "Watch themselves!"  and launches into directives about what to do when a brother hurts them. Okay. Not sure what one has to do with the other... But I get the main message.
   Essentially He is telling  them to go to the one who sinned against them and  to confront that person  with the truth.  At that point, if the brother repents, then forgiveness must be offered and healing if you will, takes place.
   I looked at those verses in Luke while  still hearing occasional background noises at the therapy clinic (No screams... I promise!)
   And then I realized that Jesus' command here is somewhat like an exercise:  Confront - repent- forgive.
   How many times do you do this exercise?
   As often as needed.
   What is the point of all this?
   To heal an injury within the Body of Christ, among other things.
    I thought some more, prayed over it, and asked God what the warning about stumbling had to do with the prescription for dealing with wounds within the church.
    And, for what it's worth, this is what came to me:  it's not just that wounded people may get ticked and leave the church.  It goes much deeper. What about the walking wounded who stay in the church, festering with bitterness, anxious to tell everyone else about what so-and-so did to them?
    But it goes even deeper than that. What about the person who is young in the faith, the one  who is watching all this, hearing all this? What happens to them?
    Often they stumble in their walk and/or give it up altogether.
    Because Person A sinned against Person B and the injury was not dealt with quickly according to the Therapist's instructions, innocent bystanders are stumbled.  The injury spreads, worsens.
    And that is exactly what Jesus warned so strenuously against  at the beginning of Luke 17.  Do NOT stumble a weaker brother!  It would be better for you to have a big stone tied around your neck and for you to be thrown into the water than to cause someone else to be stumbled in their faith!!
    He doesn't say this about someone who sins against another brother.  He says this about someone who stumbles another brother.
    Sin happens.  Even within the body. But it doesn't have to fester. And it should never be allowed to stumble someone else. Sin happens between brothers and we've been told how to deal with it.
    Right now, when Phil exercises, I have to hold his body down while he raises his back and shoulders.  Together we count while he strains his back muscles and I use much of the strength in my arms to create resistance for him. In other words, some exercises call for two people working together.
    Jesus' procedure for healing wounds within the Body is like that:   the injured party confronts (speak the truth in love).  The one who did the wounding Repents.  The injured party forgives. Two or more people working together to heal a hurt within the Body.
    Confront.  Repent.  Forgive.
     Confront.  Repent.  Forgive.
     As often as needed.
    So that there are no walking wounded in the church.
    So that a sinner may be turned from his injurious ways.
    So that a weaker brother, an onlooker,  may not be stumbled.
    So that Satan may not gain a foothold in the body of Christ.
    Confront.  Repent.  Forgive.
    A directive  from the greatest healer the world has ever known.
    To His people.
    So that we may run the race that is before us  and receive the prize that He has laid up for us.