Our Shadow Side
This past Sunday Peter Rollins spoke at West End (check out the podcast!). He raised the bright and cheery topic of our shadow side. His point was this: we can’t experience the depth of God’s love unless we extend the grace to one another to share all of who we are—even our brokenness. When we do, the journey of healing and hope begins.
I might put it another way. Denial may be a great short-term strategy to temporarily forget, but it does not permit healing and learning from what we have experienced. If we allow each wound, each negative experience, each difficulty to close off a portion of ourselves, we are giving ourselves over to pain and brokenness. Though we may pretend it isn’t there, it occupies important real estate in our lives.
Herein lies the beauty of being in a community of faith. Instead of facing it alone, we walk together through the pain of our pasts so that we may live in a new way today. This is the basis of true hope. Being a hopeful people does not mean we pretend that past hurts do not reside within us. True hope arises when the Spirit of God touches the reality of our lives. So let’s be real with one another so that we open ourselves to the healing presence of the Spirit and to the hope God offers.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).