Thursday, 20 October 2016

The accidental sinner: Deuteronomy 19

The accidental sinner.  The one who unintentionally becomes a murderer.

God tells the Israelites to set aside three cities of refuge, near enough so that: "the avenger of blood racing in hot-blooded pursuit might  (not) catch him since it’s such a long distance, and kill him even though he didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t his fault. There was no history of hatred between them (the murderer and his neighbour)."  God does this so that the Israelites don't "pollute it with innocent blood and bring bloodguilt upon (them)selves."

God is merciful.  I do well to remember this, I who do not 'believe' in accidental sinner. Brought up to take responsibility for my actions, I have an over-developed sense of guilt when my actions unintentionally go wrong. Guilt which has, over the years, fuelled feelings of shame and blame.  And it is worth, hear, referencing Brene Brown's inspiring work on shame and blame and her encouragement to be vulnerable. As I look at her work, I am drawn to this blog with inspiring quotes from her:
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brené Brown
2. Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough. ~ Brené Brown
3. I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~ Brené Brown
4. A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. ~ Brené Brown
5. Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce. ~ Brené Brown
6. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare. ~ Brené Brown
7. We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions. ~ Brené Brown
8. Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. ~ Brené Brown
9. When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible. ~ Brené Brown
10. If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. ~ Brené Brown
11. Normally, when someone we love is turning away from a struggle, we self-protect by also turning away. That’s definitely my first response. I think change is more likely to happen if both partners have common language and a shared lens to see problems. ~ Brené Brown
12. As a shame researcher, I know that the very best thing to do in the midst of a shame attack is totally counterintuitive: Practice courage and reach out! ~ Brené Brown
13. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. ~ Brené Brown
14. When the people we love stop paying attention, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. ~ Brené Brown
15. First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be. We should watch our own gossiping and anger. We should model the kindness we want to see. ~ Brené Brown
16. Guilt is just as powerful, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive. Shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement. ~ Brené Brown
17. Men walk this tightrope where any sign of weakness illicits shame, and so they’re afraid to make themselves vulnerable for fear of looking weak. ~ Brené Brown
18. I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values. ~ Brené Brown
19. Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change. ~ Brené Brown
20. I’ve learned that men and women who are living wholehearted lives really allow themselves to soften into joy and happiness. They allow themselves to experience it. ~ Brené Brown
21. The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows. ~ Brené Brown
22. If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm. ~ Brené Brown
23. In my research, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who never fit in, who are what you might call ‘different’: scientists, artists, thinkers. And if you drop down deep into their work and who they are, there is a tremendous amount of self-acceptance. ~ Brené Brown
24. If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief. ~ Brené Brown
25. Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives. ~ Brené Brown
Let’s push past what is holding us back and live a good life."
All helpful and true and I rejoice that Jesus has forgiven me EVERYTHING. The unintentional sins AND the intentional ones.

And yet - God protects his people who live together in society here on earth. He gives clear instructions for dealing with the intentional sinner, the murderer who plans and plots and brutally carries out harm to others.  They are to be pursued and brought to justice, convicted by the words of at least two or three truthful witnesses. There is to be no summary justice on the word of one accuser.

God is good. He loves us all, bringing order out of sin's chaos and ensuring with his words at the end of the chapter that even the intentional sinner is to be treated with dignity and truth.

God is good. He loves us all.

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