Why do people feel a need to go through a cleanse? As someone who is experiencing this kind of process in my nutrition and I get it. We desire to feel better, lighter, and healthier. Those are physical benefits, but have you stopped to consider the mental and spiritual ones?
Scripture this weekend is all about cleansing through the love and mercy of God. We see this in the leper, who is instructed by the Prophet Elisha to plunge into the Jordan River seven times. His leprosy disappears, and his body is made whole.
In ancient times, leprosy was considered a symptom of sinfulness. Think about that for a moment. How many people were condemned by society because they had eczema? It's a sad thought. Many cases of leprosy were due to lack of fo hygiene. So, Elisha told Naaman to wash isn't exactly miraculous to us today, but put yourself in Naaman's shoes? It would have been pretty impressive!
Here is something for us to think about as we move out of Church on Sunday and into the rest of the world the other six days of the week.
How often have we been the beneficiaries of God's Mercy and Love? How often do we return to Jesus to say, "Thank you."? I am like the other nine lepers from the Gospel reading. I usually take the mercy gifted to me for granted by simply not acknowledging the grace present in my life.
So here is what I am going to do this week. Care to join me?
I am going to start each day with a simple gratitude prayer.
When I wake up, I will thank God for three things. Nothing specific, whatever comes to mind at that moment. When I have practiced this in the past, I find that my world fills with more and more blessings than I can ever track. Don't be mistaking, and it is not self gloating to be thankful for your health, your family, your job, your car, your house, your friends, etc. Those blessings are precisely what God put you here to experience in the first place. You have the amazingly simple opportunity to multiply that gratitude by demonstrating it daily.
Along with the attitude of gratitude, I am also going to look at the areas where I fall short. Maybe not first thing, but at some point after my workout or on my way to work. See, I need to be honest with myself in that I am flawed, deeply flawed, and that makes me equal to everyone else. Resolving to improve in my imperfect spaces will hopefully grow compassion for my neighbors. Practicing this will lead to more profound kindness and genuine concern for others.
Perhaps you might do the same? Who would want to start a gratitude accountability group? Where each day we post one thing we are grateful for in 14 days? Then we aim to improve one thing about our attitudes or actions each day too. Do you think we would all grow closer, or distance ourselves?
Let's find out!