Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Transformation and Freedom

. . .where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror.                         2 Corinthians 3:17b-18a

Veiling inhibits freedom. When we are afraid to unveil our faces, we stay in captivity. Unveiling is a willingness to look deeply at God by looking within ourselves. Many of us are uncomfortable with introspection. When we begin to see ourselves for who we really are, we grow uneasy with what we see, as Peter did at Jesus’ transfiguration. When we don’t know how to handle the discomfort we kill the moment before entering into it fully.

We would rather remain captive to our own delusions, to our familiar ways of thinking that keep us within well-defined prison cells, than to step across the threshold to freedom. To embrace freedom is also to move beyond what is comfortable and familiar. To embrace freedom is to acknowledge ourselves fully and truthfully, both the light and dark parts. We see both our gifts and our shortcomings, the ways of doing and thinking that make us feel good about ourselves and the thoughts and actions that we are embarrassed to acknowledge as parts of ourselves.

To remove the veil is to invite transformation, but to invite transformation, I must first acknowledge my need to be transformed. If my ego won’t admit this need, I remain captive, my soul veiled to honest self-assessment. I miss the wonderful freedom the Spirit offers, the grace and acceptance of both my light and dark sides.

Irenaeus, an early Church leader, is credited with saying that the glory of God is a human being fully alive. Full aliveness comes from freedom. Full aliveness is honest acceptance and love of ourselves, for only when we fully love ourselves can we fully love and accept others. When we love ourselves, we live in freedom and we glorify God. We are fully alive!

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