Shame and Grace Part 21 - A New State Of Things

Sep 17

Shame and Grace Part 21 - A New State Of Things

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:41 — Thabo Mokete

The predicament of human beings has been like one inheriting a mansion with countless rooms, but having access to two rooms only. There comes a time when we are released from this prison of a limited life to a limitless abundance1. It comes through a new state of things on the inside.

One knows he has so many wonderful places in the house, a kitchen, a lounge, en entertainment centre, a music room, a playroom, a dining room, a guest room, a prayer room, a steam room, an office room and many other such rooms.  However, he cannot get into these spaces, since he has keys only to the bedroom and the bathroom.

The encounter with grace finds us in this state: Having all the wonderful properties that were installed in us from birth, but with no access to them; Being rich in the potential of our souls, but actually living a poverty of life.

We have admired qualities such as joy, peace, strength (physical, financial, knowledge or whatever context), focus, composure, persistence, vibrancy, love, forgiveness (for self and others), compassion (for self and others), creativeness, intelligence, wisdom, intuition and spirituality. All these rooms and more others in our mansion are available for us to go in, develop them and live in them. Only as soon as we have the key to open.

The best we could do was make it appear as if we can get into these spaces. In the New Testament Bible, the Gospels in particular,  a religious group of Pharisees became the university of drama. They made long public prayers2, made a great show of fasting and giving3. Even today, society (both religious and secular) commits a lot of resources to the illusion of well being that actually does not exist. We are encouraged to always make a grand impression and deny the reality inside.

In a romance movie, two lead characters typically fall in love at some stage. The job of the actor and actress is to make it look as real as possible, with all the emotion they can put into it. They are acting out a story, but in their lives this story is not happening. They kiss on the set, but at the end of the day they go live their separate lives with other people.

So they appear on screen to be in a great love, but it is only an illusion. It does not remake their lives. The only shift is in the minds of those who are watching and believing. The world portrayed in the movie does not exist, and the transfiguration it shows has not happened.
In contrast, consider two ordinary people who are in love. They may not even kiss in public like the actors. However, love impacts their lives from the start. They are liberated from a state of isolation and brought to a union of shared bliss and compassion. This world, is there day after day. They have a new state of things. This is in sharp contrast to the actors who make a show of great love, but the state of things behind the scenes, remains the same.

It is so easy to get sucked into the mechanics of keeping certain laws and rules to produce an effect of being well. To create an illusion of a world where we keep the law. Some kind of a safe harbour for the conscience. Jesus shattered and continues to shatter this illusion - “...none of you keeps the law”,4 He said. He pointed out how the master pretenders cleaned the outside of a cup, but left the dirt where it counted the most, on the inside.5

Where the law has said, 'Don't lie'6, the mind understands that it ought not to lie. It, however does not know how to create a world where lying is not necessary. So the best thing for it is try all means not to be caught out in a lie. 'Be seen to be doing the right thing. Look good.'

This is almost perfect, had it not been for the conditions behind the curtain. For behind the curtain, inside the cup that looks clean on the outside, things are simmering. Sooner or later, something must explode.

Jesus shut down the drama theatre, of pretending to be well on the outside. We were not going to be needing it anymore. Instead He brought something that does a permanent transformation on the inside. He went behind the curtain, inside the cup.
When we are touched by grace, first the illusions get shattered. The great works of goodness we have performed all along come to nothing.  Those who look on may say 'he has fallen'. But what they don't know is that 'he' is down where he has been all the time. Only now the illusion of him being up in the clouds has been stopped.
All the appearances of being good were just appearances, for the person had no access to goodness. It was an act.

When we're finally done with the work of trying to look good, then we get down to the business of being simply who we are. We find that the key has always been there on the table, waiting.
One after another, the doors open and we have access to our own mansion of abundance of life. As the doors open seamlessly, we may even wonder why we could not open them in the first place. It is an act of grace.

1. John 10:9-10
2. Matthew 6:5
3. Luke 18:11-12
4. John 7:19
5. Matthew 23:25-26
6. Exodus 20:16

Copyright © 2014  S.T. Mokete