Friday, April 27, 2007

The Shaving

Deuteronomy 30:6 (New International Version)
6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

It was an intense conversation with my friend Frances. She'd had an upsetting experience at the beginning of the week and although a couple of days had passed, anger had only faded from white hot to red. She needed to talk it through in order to fully resolve it. A few minutes later the storm was settling; the bad feelings evaporating. As she said goodbye, she told me about a razor she'd bought, made especially for trimming callouses, which she suffers badly from. "I'm willing to be shaved," she said--not referring to feet--"there is such comfort afterwards and there is soft skin below."

Her words took me back to Tuesday evening at cell group. We had read Acts chapter 16, which starts out by describing the circumcision of the young disciple Timothy by Paul. The irony was not lost on us. Paul did this to the half Greek, half Jewish Timothy, so that he would be accepted by the Jews in the area--and then he took Timothy along with him on a trip--for the purpose of delivering the decisions reached by the council in Jerusalem. One of the decisions was that circumcision would not be required of the Gentile new believers. We had read all about that the week before in Acts 15. Timothy though, paid a higher price as one called to leadership--the painful cutting off of flesh.

Today I spoke with a young man, freshly baptised into the faith within the past year. His joy was deep and moving. He had no trouble pinpointing the change in his relationships since taking the step of publicly acknowledging his faith in Christ. He said, "You have to love--you even have to love your enemies."
"Wow," I thought.
He went on, "You have to forgive. It isn't easy at first."
"Wow," I thought again.
And he described a transformation from a living a selfish life to wanting to serve and love.

He was describing the shaving. The hard, tough, callous of self had come off, revealing beneath, a soft and tender, sensitive, feeling heart.

Ephesians 2:11-12 (New Living Translation)
11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.

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