Sunday, August 16, 2015

Praying and Letting Go of People

Manistee River, Grayling, Michigan

As Jesus was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. 

Over the years many people have come in and gone out of my life. They arrived and departed. God gave, and took away. Several came for help. Some stayed, as friends. 

I'm thinking today of a man who came to me for help years ago. 

They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 
“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

I spent many hours with him. According to him, God worked through me to save his marriage and family. 

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” 
And as they went, they were cleansed.

When things got stabilized in his life he left, not telling me why, or where he was going. This was hard for me.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

I cannot control the choices people make. I don't have epistemic access to the deep waters of troubled human hearts. I can, however, pray to be set free from a spirit of rejection, within me. How can this happen? 

Ruth Haley Barton's question helps me. She asks: "Are there places in your life and leadership where you recognize that you are holding yourself tight rather than experiencing full surrender to God, where you recognize that you are not free?" (Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 57)

When I experience rejection it is mostly not because someone has rejected me. It's more complicated than that. Often, my perceived rejection has nothing to do with me. Yet I have taken it on myself because I am holding myself and others too tightly. 

I must not allow these kind of things to "degenerate into morbid introspection." Instead I must be praying to give other people and even my own self over to God, inviting him to guide the process.

I am praying to let go of people so as to love people better.