6th Sun C
Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.
This Sunday's Reflection
In his book, The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs describes how for a year he tried to live by the rules of the Bible. His upbringing had been as a secular Jew. He didn’t undertake this project as an expression of faith but rather as an interesting idea for a book. Over the course of the year, as he tried to get behind the rules to their meaning, he experienced a personal transformation. He hadn’t presumed that the rules would be easy to understand and often he had to discover strategies by which he could fulfil a commandment.
His strategies for fulfilling the commandment ‘not to lust’ give an insight into the mechanism of sin. In trying not to become infatuated with another man’s wife, his first strategy was to imagine her as out of his league – ‘she a princess, he a peasant.’ His next strategy was to imagine her as his mother. Then he tried distracting himself by reciting passages from the Bible. But his final strategy, recommended by a Unitarian Pastor, went to the core of what sin is about. The advice was:
Do not objectify. Battle your urge to objectify women and/or men focusing on them as a complete person, instead of a collection of covetable body parts. Think about their childhood, what their favorite novel might be, how many cousins they have, whether they own a PC or Mac.
In short, treat others as though they are complete human beings, not just as objects to fulfil our passing desires. This strategy can be applied to the whole myriad of temptations we may face: anger, lying, theft, revenge. It helps us develop the heart and mind that will treasure the richness of others, and of ourselves, when we are faced with the temptation to be less than what God desires us to be.