WHEN OUR LOVED ONES MAKE BAD CHOICES
(Saturday, July 15)
“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” (Rom 9:1-5)
St. Paul’s anguish, voiced here, over those of his “countrymen according to the flesh” who did not receive Christ for Who He was, can be a consolation to those of us who anguish over loved ones, perhaps even our own children or our own parents, who are making bad choices. How does St. Paul deal with his anguish? For one thing, he focuses on re-affirming his faith in God, rather than on his disappointment in his people. God knows what He is doing or not doing with all of us, according to His freedom, mercy, and judgment. We need to trust Him, rather than try to play God ourselves. It’s only human for us to grieve over the poor choices being made by someone dear to us, but not to the point of losing faith in the God Who loves all of us more than we can ever love ourselves.
This morning let me re-affirm my faith in the active presence of God in my life, and in the lives of others. Let me also respect the messy reality of our God-given freedom, to make our own good and bad choices. Let’s make a healthy choice for ourselves this morning, to embrace faith instead of fear, gratitude instead of resentment, humility instead of pride, and hand over to God the things and people we cannot change. “Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.”