The Message is to You

Rohr The Message is to You

In the spiritual life, there aren’t too many absolutes I can make, but this is certainly one. On the spiritual journey, the message is always to you. The message is always telling you to change.

Now, what most people do is they use religion to try to change other people. It’s always someone else that needs changing. No. Stop it. Once and for all. Whatever happens to you in your life is a message to you.

Oh the ego wants to avoid that. So we look for something out there to change–somebody not like me is always the problem.

 – Richard Rohr

Pete Enns shared the quote (twice, as it happens) from Rohr. It is definitely worth sharing, and is simply a restatement of the point of the parable of Jesus, about trying to remove the splinter from someone else’s eye, while ignoring the utility pole in one’s own.

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  • Jason

    I agree with this idea, but wonder how we should understand Jesus’ own proclamations to repent. I think most evangelicals would say repent means to turn from your sinful ways and that personal morality is the top issue. I think those people feel they are continuing Jesus’ work in that way. I never liked that understanding and I think the quote reflects this. I did however hear a different idea about this; that the Greek word used for repent may be better translated as to change ones way of thinking, which makes a lot more sense to me in the context of then hearing the radical message of Jesus (the Good News). The problem I see is that these two ideas about repentance share a blurry border. How do we tell others to change their views and thought processes, and even their worldview, to better embody the message of Jesus without just becoming like those who focus on the sins of others (while claiming they are mostly concerned with their own sin…)?

    • charlesburchfield

      perhaps the answer to your question lies in the fact that one cannot teach what one has not learned. I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous the hard way that my thinking was stinking! I needed to change that in order to stop drinking. I have 12 years sobriety much of that with some serenity. other people who seen me as a former gutter drunk know I have changed. religious addiction has some of the same attributes of drug and alcohol addiction. if one’s behavior is out of control because of a religious addiction people on the outside of one’s cult know it. there’s nothing attractive about it! it’s all about being in control and angry all the time. on the other hand, IMO, if one is living the life of love in the Holy Spirit, one is manifesting the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance & these gifts do not rise up out of one’s being spontaneously. IMO one is intentionally seeking a relationship with God on a daily basis, allowing one’s personality to be reformed, transformed, remodeled, informed by whom one is paying attention to. BTW I’ve noticed the more one is loving and safe to be around the more children and animals love you.

  • John MacDonald

    When you point the finger at someone else, you have three more pointing back at yourself. lol

  • arcseconds

    I think this is more than a restatement. The metaphor of motes and beams sets us up to think of faults that need correcting, as though it was a simple matter of removing a foreign object or two and then you’ll be right. These could be simply enumerated, easily recognisable, etc.

    Whereas Rohr seems to be opening the door to, or at least allowing for, something more radical than this: a total reorientation of one’s life, perhaps

    I think this is more or less where Jason and charlesburchfield are going with this too…