Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Confession, Mercy, and Forgiveness

FROM Scott Lyons2/12/2009
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
I am not always joyful. I stop praying. Sometimes I’d rather complain, curse, and cry. I am sooner given to see my neighbor as “other” than as Christ. And giving thanks in all circumstances sounds some days as genuine to me as the Starry Night print on the wall of the doctor’s waiting room. So what follows is my complaint, a list of grievances that begins and ends with me. It is a complaint I lodge against myself.
There are people like me who get a rise of out of their own righteousness. People whose eyes twinkle as they speak of heaven in one breath and who curse their neighbor in the next. People who loudly give thanks to God, as if on cue, when their tire blows out in the pouring rain, but refuse alms to the man in ragged clothes begging on the side of the road, muttering about the sacred connection between work and food. People who speak of living lives of prayer, who are always singing praises with the local Christian radio station, but who have forgotten how to pray. There are people who, in their pride, say that it is their faithfulness that preserves them from the hardships of any adverse effects of a crumbling economy, not understanding that prosperity is not promised. Not understanding that disease or poverty might be sitting at their own door—not for punishment, but because suffering is real.
I am hard-pressed to distinguish genuine joy from that which is merely put on. But I want to want it real, brother—all or nothing. I want to want a faith that is lived out in love, mercy, and forgiveness. I want something real enough that when I am verbally or physically assaulted my first response is not “What’s the matter with you!” but “What have I done to offend you?” I want a Christ who is merciful and forgives rather than a Christ who separates me from my wicked neighbor, to strike him down. I am the wicked neighbor. I am the sinner. I am unclean. I deserve death and hell. I need mercy every moment of every day. How can I pray for judgment to fall upon the transgressor when I am he?
I find it difficult to write it all down. How can I call myself Christian—to smile and give thanks—and then revile my neighbor because of his sin? How can I condemn the evildoer and then hate my brother who does not condemn him with me? Is it possible to do any good without love? Does the new commandment not apply to this one or that one because of his or her transgressions? Are we no longer obligated to forgive after the eighth offense? If I cannot forgive my sister who continually wrongs me—forgive her from the heart even as she goes on wronging me—can I comfort myself with hallelujahs and comedic masks? The author of Dead Man Walking, Sr. Helen Prejean, says, “Forgiveness is not an option, it is a necessity. In our broken world, forgiveness will ensure that evil does not have the final word.”
I am tired and spent. I need God’s mercy. Listen with me to the great message of the Gospel presented by Luke when he writes of the sinful woman in the house of the Pharisee:
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:44-48). Jesus is not showing us that some love much because they have been shown more mercy, but that some love much because they recognize the great mercy they have been shown. You must know you are a great sinner—and a great sinner shown great mercy—in order to be a great lover.
Forgiveness is not an option. Christ forgives. Christ is merciful. If we would be in Christ, by grace we will do and be these same things that flow out of his very nature.

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