I decided to put these two together because I was behind from last week and it just made sense to me. The list come from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherds list of forty things to give up for Lent. These two are related because it seems obvious to me that “impurity” however one defines it often comes from a lack of counsel.
As I look at the “lack of counsel” this points to the tendency to be a Lone Ranger and to not seek advice for both personal and business decisions. More often, I have observed, that when people are hiding for lack of a better word “impure” parts of their life, they often withdraw from any wise counsel might receive. They no longer hang out with friends and self isolate in order not to be questioned or to be caught.
It becomes a vicious circle. Isolation, lack of counsel and then one stumbles and falls into ones own weakness: whether is be an affair, lack of financial integrity, addiction issues. Much of this is driven by fear, fear of not being perfect, fear of being found out, fear of not being enough.
In my Christian tradition, John Wesley wanted everyone involved in a “class.” This group of people met regularly and had a covenant for their personal Christian walk and how they lived their faith out in the world. “How is it with your soul?” was a question everyone was required to answer. With a committed group it was harder to go one’s own way and certainly one was not without “lack of counsel.” Probably one had more counsel than one wanted!
Yet, having close friends, close community makes it more difficult to live a life of impurity however you want to define it. Being “accountable” helps spiritual growth and helps keep one’s integrity intact. So this challenge is to be more connected and vulnerable with people one trusts. In trusting others, it helps keeps us true to ourselves, to our relationships and to our faith.
I am grateful to have a couple of groups where I can be honest and open, be supported and challenged. It means I can have the counsel I need to continue to grow into who God has created me to be. With that community that loves me and challenges me I am graced to serve.