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Right/Wrong

“One of the reasons that we “never get it right,” is that getting it right is the wrong question – the wrong approach to our life, particularly our life in Christ. Where does the language and thought of “getting it right” come from? I would suggest that it comes out of our school-days. It is the language of a math test, a spelling bee, indeed, it is often the language of shame. We imagine that “getting it right” will make us “be right” ourselves. The two, however, are only kin to one another in their bondage to shame. I find it deeply interesting that the language of St. John, both in his gospel and in his letters, uses imagery of a different sort when speaking to sin and the spiritual life. It is particularly strong in his first epistle. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have communion with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) St. John makes “walking in the light” the primary point of our lives. Additionally, he extols this as the means for having “communion” (koinonia) with one another.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“We ask, “Did I get it right?” which phrases the question with the emphasis on ourselves. We become the center of our attention – which misses the point. That point is better stated as, “Am I walking in the Light?” In this, the focus is on Christ who is the Light. If I fail, then I fail within the light. The point is not my failure (for, if I walk in the Light, then the blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sin) but the Light. Christ is everything.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“I think as we get older – hopefully – we stop worrying so much about getting it right and become more focused on becoming right as in Christ-like. This means we understand and embrace our failures as means of growing and don’t equate them with being a failure as a person. So much of our obsession with getting it right and the self-flagellation that follows when we don’t lies in our pride that we are not even conscious about much of the time. Failing at times is a good way to elevate this to our consciousness so we can purge it and move toward humility that frees us from the torment of shame, perfectionism, and anything else that keeps us bound up.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“The word “mercy” means to not give someone the thing they deserve. For instance, a criminal commits a crime and deserves to go to prison. However, a judge decides to be merciful, and rather than sending him to jail as he deserves, the judge sentences him to probation; he gives him another chance. God’s mercy works in the same way, especially in our spiritual lives. We all dirty our souls with sins. We all do this every day. In Romans 6:23, Saint Paul writes that “The wages of sin is death.” In other words, the rightful punishment for our sins is death, permanent estrangement from God. Yet, we petition God to be merciful to us, to not give us the thing we deserve. And God is merciful. Rather than smite us each time we sin, God is patient and gives us innumerable chances, and days and years to get it right. When we come to God in repentance, God is merciful and forgives our sins.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


“Peter provides us an example of what it is to believe and then to fall, and then to get up, and then fall again, and then get up, and repeat this cycle many times, but in the end to get it right. At the end he stood up for Christ, was killed for his faith, and received a heavenly crown from the Lord. At the end he got it right. This is what the Lord’s hope is for each of us. He wants us to follow. He doesn’t expect us to get it right all the time. He expects us to repent and “stay with Him,” to pick up ourselves when we fall down. In order to inherit eternal life, we need to make sure we have it right at the end.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


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