A Brother’s Image

Two weeks ago I wrote about the concept of thinking of God as the perfect father and the difficulty of that concept as a result of, well, me being human and having a human father who, since he was human was not perfect. What I shared then was a portion of my next book, “An Unlikely Faith” in which I deal with the process I’ve gone through in order to stop the automatic assumption that God will react to me the way Dad reacted to me and my foibles. What follows that in the book is the natural assumption that I had been making about my relationship with Christ and the way it was affected by another earthly relationship.
In Matthew 12:50 Christ said” Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Mark in chapter 3:35 agrees as does Luke in 8:21. If I accept that premise, then I assume that in addition to being my savior Christ is my brother as well; a brother who suffered greatly for my inequities.
For as long as I could remember, I operated under a purely non-theological premise that one should always go straight to the decision maker with complaints and requests. I had never been satisfied with talking to an underling in any venue; I only dealt with the man. It was a habit which had served me well for many years in my work life. Maybe that was because Dad, in addition to being our Dad was the man to a lot of people even though he treated everyone who was hard working and honest as an equal and never looked down on any person. But, I began to feel a bit guilty for seeming to bypass the one who’d suffered so much on my behalf.
For some reason it seemed easier to relate to an unseen, untouched, figment of my imagination which had never really jelled in my mind, than to someone who had actually existed in flesh and blood. I know it doesn’t make sense but that’s just how my mind was working. On November 2, 2009 I wrote the following on Day 22, the first day in the third purpose for my life, in my Purpose Driven Life Journal:
“I live in constant fear of “assumption.” Do I assume too much? Do I make the wrong assumptions about Christ “likeness.” I have an easier time of assuming what God’s perfection is like … after all, He “is” God. What I have trouble with is, comprehending the person of Jesus … because he is both God and man. Man succumbs to temptation. It seems that knowing the right action, the right thought, the right passion is simple. It’s built in. But, resisting the temptations to follow the wrong course sometimes … no, many times clouds and hides the right course. Therein lies the heart of my problem.”
“How do I become so connected to God’s will that I become like Christ, because He was so connected to God’s will that it was impossible to sin. So I must approach and view Christ not like a brother, but like a big brother, who is already perfectly like God, ask him to teach, to show me, “How do you do that?” Ask God, “How do I become what you want me to be and do?”
And God answers: “Ask your brother. He will show you.” So I asked and Jesus said, “Do you really want to know little sister? Do you really want to know?” And I said “Yes! I really want to know.”
“Are you willing to do everything I tell you without question?”
“Yes, I am!”
“Are you sure?” (Karate Kid)”
That was the end of what I had written and below it in italics at the bottom of the page I had underlined this: “Jesus, I want to learn to think like you, speak like you, feel what you feel, and act the way you would act. Please use your words and your Spirit to make me like you.
Then last Good Friday, I did what I’ve been doing ever since the release of The Passion of the Christ, I stopped what I was doing in the middle of the afternoon I turned off the computer, the radio and my phone, closed the blinds and put my DVD of the movie in my player. Every year some new insight has come to me and that time was no different. That time, near the very end of the movie when Jesus’ body is being taken down from the cross I suddenly felt a real love for Him and what He’d endured for me. And then it hit me … I’d never felt that kind of love for my earthly brother.
He and I had been at odds most of our lives. In the process of writing Dear Mom and Dad, I’d realized that I had few memories of him at all and most of those were unpleasant. That is the reason I have so little to say about him in the book. Just as I had to quit thinking that God, my Heavenly father, would think of me and treat me the way I’d always felt that Dad thought of me, I had to begin thinking of Jesus, my Heavenly Brother, as a loving big brother who gave his all for me.
As for the way I relate to my earthly brother … That is a work in progress.

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