Saturday, April 12, 2008

Illiteracy: The Raping of the Soul

Are there lepers in the house/family of God today, or is leprosy something strictly confined to and defined by decayed and rotting flesh?

My wife has been in the teaching profession for over three decades and the last dozen years she has been working specifically with junior and senior kindergarten children ranging in age from those going on four to five and six years of age.
In her recent research into the issue of boys' illiteracy (that she has dived into with a passion), the issue of boys' failure to learn to read has revealed some sad statistics, the discovery of which has broken her heart. She has shared some of what she is learning with me.
As I listened to some of her documented research I could not help but see this issue of illiteracy being a living metaphor for something just as real and even more heart breaking.

There is way too much on my heart to even try and capture the explosiveness (gut wrenching) of what I am seeing/sensing regarding the deep seated (stigma) shame, within the body of Christ, the masses of re-birthed people who are as it were illiterate to the true knowledge of the love of God the Father for them!
I am beginning to see with new eyes, looking upon the sea (masses) of illiterate people in much the same way that people must have viewed lepers down through the centuries, but now I realize these illiterate ones shouldn't be shunned at all!

As my wife began to spell out in definite specifics the stigma (mortification-humiliation) attached to a person who is illiterate, I could not help but see my own great need.I’m not talking about learning my A, B C’s, and then learning how to read and write, but a far greater need and that being as it were in a most graphic sense, illiterate to truly knowing (experiencing) the greatness of His love for me.
I am more convinced than ever before, the pandemic plague of shame and humiliation attached to this illiteracy of not knowing the love of God is much like a blood sucking leach draining believers of their vitality, the raping their soul.

There seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted notion within Christendom that if one is still ‘straining and or struggling’ in their walk with the Lord, they have somehow not tapped into what grace truly means; otherwise they wouldn’t be so stressed out and filled with fear.

The subtle ploy that appeals to one’s own ego is to be seen/recognized as one who has risen far above such juvenile antics, of no longer straining or having to struggle with those fears anymore (no longer being illiterate) and who now project an image of unshakable confidence in the love of God. Having learned a little spiritual language, they have no compassion or empathy for those still struggling, but instead set themselves up as teachers and guides to those who just can’t seem to find their way. And what becomes of the poor illiterates? Compared to the ‘enlightened ones’ they feel inadequate and ashamed. They think there’s something wrong with them, otherwise they’d be able to grasp these spiritual truths!

However, Jesus, knowing full well where, why and how we are paralyzed, has tender compassion on the illiterate (which, by the way, is ALL of us). He would never kick a man when he was down! But as a mortal man Jesus was limited – that’s why he was planted in the ground like a grain of wheat so that he might bring forth a multitude of his own seed – with the same propensity for compassion He expressed to those enslaved by their illiteracy.

The extent to which every illiterate believer can experience and offer love and understanding to brothers and sisters as they progress on their own journey of knowing and experiencing God’s liberating love for themselves will go a long way to alleviating their shame.


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