This way has no retreats.

“Behold, my children, this way has no retreats; there are also no byways, that lie on the right hand of the left… If you do what I write, you will see me again in great glory…”

– Maeyken van Deventer, Martyrs Mirror, p. 977-979

When you can’t see clearly

You can look through your glasses, but you can’t look at your glasses at the same time. Your perspective is the same way. Only God and your brothers and sisters can give you any different perspective. That’s why you don’t see your needs. We need community, a closer community than most have ever experienced, in order to break free and be healed. In most of our religious organizations, we don’t get close enough to really see each other’s needs, let alone really help them. It’s as if your cancer surgeon greeted you warmly, pointed to the tumor bulging through your skin, waved his scalpel with a smile, but never began operating. The scalpel has to get close enough to cut before it does any good.

Redemption and lift

Sociologists decry the weaknesses of single-parent families, but how many of them speak out against the socially-acceptable sins that made them common? Historically, repentance and conversion, not social programs, have been the only effective solution for a myriad of problems such as child abuse, child exploitation, poor working conditions, low incomes, high unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and teen pregnancy. God helps a father to stop drinking and start working, God helps the father’s employer to provide job training and increase wages, God helps the employer’s teenaged daughter to seek love from himself instead of boys. Social scientists have even coined a term for the phenomenon: “redemption and lift.”

Cheap grace and false conversion

If I had cancer, I’d want to know in time. It wouldn’t be a kindness to wait until nothing could be done. Particularly when my soul is at stake. Nowadays few people think about their soul. As Jesus says, “What does it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul,” the world yawns. But the word “soul” means “mind, emotions and will.” As your “harmless sins” grind away at your unkept conscience, can you see that you lose your ability to think clearly, to feel deeply and to force yourself out of your rut into a decision?