Seeking Praise – Good News for March 18

18 03 2010

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews, “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.

But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

The Daily Path: “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”

Driven. Relentless pursuit of success. Stature. Acceptance. These are a few of the things that come to mind when I read this passage from today’s Gospel. I know them because they have been a part of my being. For most of my life, going back to a very early age, I have yearned for the acceptance of others. In that pursuit I have led a very shallow life. I gladly accept praise from my brothers and sisters in an attempt to heal what Fr. Richard Rohr would call my “woundedness”, but only now do I see the false self behind this.

In recent times I have come to know the road that so many millions travel each day. Need, anxiety, and despair fill the vast majority of lives on earth, but they have never been part of my experience. In my life I have never known real worry. I have never truly held the hands that reached out to me in deepest despair. But now God has given me the chance to walk in the shoes of my brothers and sisters. And in doing so, He has begun to remove the false self that has prevented me from embracing the leper.

But why has He done this?

I can’t completely answer that. I’m still in the midst of it and have little perspective to analyze the situation – See? I’m still analyzing instead of trusting His plan! – But since I am an imperfect being, I will indulge my imperfection and offer this analysis: Perhaps God is taking me down this road to activate the radical grace within me, so that I will finally stop pursuing the acceptance of others (in all its forms) and start pursuing the only acceptance that matters… the praise of my Father in heaven.

Room to Chat: Father, you are allowing me to touch the wounds of your Son, the Christ. In doing so you have given me the ability to believe in You as never before. Continue to give me, and all who travel down this road, the courage and resolve to continue onward. Keep us in your light so that we may always see the way to You.

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One response

18 03 2010
Daniel Tomlinson

I’m thankful we share the same journey.

I’ve recently contemplated God’s unconditional love for me, and when anxious moments creep in to get the best of me that’s the place I try to go. I seek acceptance, respect and love from so many different people in my life.

I understand that fact intellectually, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but like you reiterated when the rubber meets the road what matters at the end of the day is whether or not I am accepted, respected and loved by God.

I don’t have to wonder about that.

Grace and peace.

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