Follow the Straight Path: Adapted from Proverbs 3:5-8. Dear Lord, help me to trust in You with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge You, and I know that You will make my paths straight. Save me from being wise in my own eyes; help me to revere You in all things and turn away from evil. I claim Your promise for healing to my body and refreshment in my bones when I follow Your path. In the Holy name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
In a reading from Richard Rohr today, (A Spring Within Us, p. 152), he says can learn a great deal from how our enemies see us. At first, I bristled. But after a few hours to chew on it, I think I understood what he was saying. Leaning on my own understanding is really like saying, “I know it all.” If I can learn from my enemy—then my enemy can also learn from me. Ultimately, I think the word enemy needs clarification. If I think of an enemy as a worthy adversary or opponent, I am more likely to want to now how that person sees me. But if I think of an enemy as an unfriendly opponent or hostile power, I am immediately protective of myself. Rohr says it is our shadow self that we do not want anyone to see—not even ourselves. So this proverb is really explaining that when God’s way shows us our own faults, we can be healed and refreshed.
Any time I have experienced God’s “healing to my body and refreshment in my bones” it usually requires an openness that embraces a new (sometimes painful) discovery. When I can see how my actions may have been misunderstood, or when I see my own mistaken response, or if I dig in my heels and try to defend myself, I often make it worse. Leaning on God allows God’s image in me to shine through all of the armor I have been wearing for years to protect myself. Spiritual armor—the Word of God—covers me in love and shows me how to act in a new way. When people talk about being “born-again,” it can bring up images of “holier-that-thou” behavior. However, seeing a situation or person with new eyes of compassion and a sincere desire to understand is what a real “born-again” experience will render. When we trust that we do not have to hide God’s image in us, we can see God’s image is in others, too. Will we let God’s image in us shine, or will we load up with refusal and self-defenses?