“In our culture we are often told that we should not say no to our children. Indeed, in our society repression is often correlated with evil. We have a society that holds itself back from nothing, except perhaps to gain something more in a different area. Any concept of a real no is avoided as much as possible. We who are a bit older may feel we can say this is the younger generation. Much of the younger generation surely is like this: they know nothing of saying no to themselves or anything else. But this is only half true, because the older ones are also like this. The present mature generation has produced this environment, and environment of things and success. We have produced a mentality of abundance, wherein everything is to be judged on the basis of whether it leads to abundance. Everything else must give in to this,” (Francis Schaeffer True Spirituality, pp. 17-18).
The Kingdom of God opened up because someone said: no. A worthy and suitable sacrifice said no to life, no to self, and yes to death.
Jesus’ no, became our yes, and amen. His no, became the Father’s yes, to anyone who believes.
The path of Jesus’ cross-bearing life and rejection of self love, gave humanity an opportunity to know eternal and divine love.
The cross and the road of death is how we live daily. Jesus said, in the taking up of the cross, and the death of self-love, we find true life, and true love.
A world bent on self and importance and stuff and things and success is surely to implode on itself. This is not a young, old, or economic problem.
It’s a human problem.
Want a good marriage? How about become a decent parent? Effective employee? A good friend? Take up your cross and die daily.
No can be life giving when used appropriately. Abundance can blind to our true need.
Money, sex, and power can blind to the deeper needs of community, love, beauty, truth, and transcendence. Things, stuff, and success can blind the eyes to where real life is found.
Repression and restraint are not evil, repression and restraint are often the path to life and joy.
What path will we choose?
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