Ambivalence

Acknowledging our “ambivalences” is a significant part of following Christ and experiencing His grace and love.

Ambivalence is having thoughts or feelings that contradict one another. Brennan Manning describes it well …

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and I get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty, I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, ‘A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.’”

Quite often – we are afraid to admit the reality of what is going on in our hearts. I need to be honest about the fact that I have a dark side. However, I am realizing that admitting it is not the point. Admitting the truth and being honest is for the purpose of letting go of the power and lure of sin.

In addition, I have to equally admit that God is doing something in me and giving me desires that are bigger than anything I’ve known before. I have to admit that because of the grace of God, I am being redeemed and shaped and formed by God’s love. So, as I struggle with sin (the lure of living on my own terms, in my own power, independently of Him), it is those desires to love and be loved that I need to focus on more than the desires to sin.

I need to be aware of those desires and even do the work to understand and dismantle those desires, but true freedom, I am finding, comes as I look at the dark side and say, “ok, you’ve had your day — there is something deeper and more true about me and I choose that.”

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~ by Ted Wueste on June 3, 2010.

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