I really work hard to try to articulate and discuss difficult thoughts and topic in just the right way. In the past, I have presented topics on the ampersand of the gospel.. or the ampersand of our faith.
When Martin Luther was starting the reformation and what eventually became the foundation for every protestant denomination today he had a saying “simul justus et peccator” which means I am simultaneously sinful and lost AND I am also just and righteous because of what Christ did for me. He was basically saying the same thing as me when I discuss the ampersand and this is the founding thought I want to talk about again.
The reason I am bringing this up is this what I believe the most basic ingredient for creating an environment for change and growth is to understand the ampersand of the gospel. Understanding the ampersand gives us elasticity in how we can discuss painful thoughts and feelings about ourselves. We don’t have to run from the painful thought and feelings and get into patters where we minimize, deny, and blame others for our junk and sin. We don’t have to hang our heads in shame nor do we lift our heads to boast and continue to sin. We can have deep discussion about our sin without hiding. We are not giving repentance lip service and skirting past the emotional discomfort quickly and easily to get past it. We understand we are children of God that can sometimes do terrible things.
Part of the origin of how elastically we can discuss difficult thoughts and feelings often comes from patterns we have inherited from our families of origin. I am hoping I can pass on to my now adult children and grandchildren this elasticity and understanding of the gospel that took me so long to understand in my own adult life. I hope to have more conversations without getting into black and white/all or nothing thinking but doing this while maintaining the truth of scripture.