Hope in times of fear (1)

……there was probably more to the inability of Mary to recognize Jesus….In her mind she had a narrative through which she was interpreting everything. ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.'(John 20:13)  Because of this narrative she failed to recognize the angels and even Jesus himself. Jesus and his salvation did not fit her expectations, which functioned like a filter or screen, making it impossible to see him right in front of her. Although she was looking right at him, she couldn’t see him.

(Thomas) ….these reasons and motives create barriers to belief for modern people today  …..might have a worldview that says it can’t happen, a temperament that tends to be skeptical or even cynical, or a heart fearful of disappointment.

Hope in times of fear (2) 

Like Cain, Peter’s identity was based on the assumption of his superiority to his fellow disciples. Peter told Jesus that he was the most passionate and faithful of all. He was not basing his identity on Jesus’s great love for him but on his great love for Jesus. …. while Jesus was Peter’s teacher, Peter was being his own saviour.

Any identity based on our superior performance over others will produce at least two results – fragility and hostility. First there will be a deep insecurity and an inability to see yourself. Peter, despite Jesus’s direct warning to him about his coming failure……had no sense of danger. Why not? Because if you base your very self-worth on being brave, and if you look into your heart and see cowardice, you will have to screen it out and deny it, or you won’t have a self left. And that is true of any identitiy not rooted in Jesus’s unmerited love – whether a traditional one, based on family approval, or a Western one, based on individual achievement. Any such identitiy is fragile and radically apprehensive and leads to denial and a lack of self-awareness.

….When a false identity is endangered, the result is always hostility……(Peter and Cain). Their false identity was shaken , and rather than change it and give it another foundation, they lashed out at the people who were endangering it.

…when people threaten that positive self-image, you will not be able to listen to them or learn from them. You will strike at them.

Your identity (is) – not… based on achievement but on free grace…the knowledge of God’s perfect love for us and delight in us in Jesus can and will eventually transform us like nothing else. 

Hope in times of fear (3)

Worldly sorrow is a form of self-pity, in which grieving persons are upset about the painful effects of the sin in their lives, about their shame before others, and especially about the damage to their self-image, which is still based on being good, virtuous people….In true repentance you are sorry for the sin itself, for how it has wronged and grieved your Creator and Redeemer. In self-centred sorrow you never come to hate the sin itself, and so when the consequences recede, the sin will roar back, as powerful within you as ever. True repentance is fuelled by grief for hurting the One we love, and that intensified love of Christ makes the sin appear hateful, and so it begins to lose its power over you.