by M. Kenneth Lyon

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Finding the Courage to Begin It (2 of 4)
Series: Making Changes That Last
Rev. M. Kenneth Lyon
Luke 15:17-36

Last week, we looked at the idea that for new beginnings to take a firm hold, significant endings must occur. We use therein the account of Jesus and the woman in the synagogue who had been bound by the spirit of infirmity. You see there that I made a few comments there to refresh your memory, that new beginnings have to have significant endings, that God is proactive toward us. God isn't simply waiting for us to come toward the Holy One, God is actively pursuing us even when we are not aware of it. The woman put herself in a position to hear, made herself available to hear what God might be saying to her and the reality of her situation had to be faced in order for those significant endings to occur.

Endings are important but they are not enough. You see, one of the things I discover, as I deal with people week in and week out, year in and year out, is that some people are able to bring a close to certain behavior patterns, certain things of the past; but they aren't able to move beyond it. They get stuck. I was reading in a holistic magazine not long ago about this phenomenon. They were applauding the efforts of self-help groups that are just burgeoning across our nation, but it was lamenting the fact that many of these self-help groups can help people get in touch with the negative and painful things of their past and yet they cannot move them beyond simply facing what has been. Instead, a pattern is created as they experience again the freshness of the wrongness of what has happened to them. Sometimes the consequences of their own actions, sometimes because of the consequences of someone's actions towards them. And they can get into a cycle of feeling and reliving those moments, but they cannot deal with them effectively and be free of them. Instead, they develop resentments and a systematic blaming. It almost becomes a litany that they re ...

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