I need a catharsis. Everyone does. There are those things that we keep inside our souls, deep in the recesses of our hearts, that weigh down life and prevent us from having the buoyancy needed to continue sailing in the ocean of God's grace and love. Hebrews 12:1 calls them "...every weight, and sin which clings so close." They are the dross of life that needs to be burned up and purged away.
Years ago, doctors would give people a mixture of rather unsavory tonic to cause them to "purge." Today it's known as Ipecac and it does the same thing--as every parent is probably aware. The ancient Greek physicians would call it "kathairein" and it would mean to "make pure" or to "cleanse." It wasn't pleasant... but it was purifying.
Today, people seek for those cathartic moments, experiences and situations that would help them purge away the emotional baggage from their souls. However, rather than purging themselves of the sinful nature they run to that very nature in hopes that they will soon feel the release from the demands of their conscience. If only they could feel comfortable in their own skin and not have the burden of a continued sense of guilt. It would be like a person dying from ingested poison, only to seek out more of the poison in hopes that their body would soon get used to it.
It's foolish. But it is happening all around us.
However, it doesn't change the need for a catharsis. The weight of burdens and sins that cling are still there. What does it take for us, for those who believe on the Lord Jesus for salvation and yet still carry the burdens of past failures, present sins and personal griefs, to experience that catharsis?
We must come to Jesus.
As Jesus washed the disciples feet in John chapter 13 He said this in verse 10, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean." That is to say, those who have come to the Lord Jesus for salvation (bathed) still walks through the dirt of this world and needs to have their feet washed. There are still things we pick up along the way, sins from which we still struggle to be free, and past failures that still weigh us down with sorrow. Ignoring them does not cause them to go away. He has already invited us to come in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
So, how do we come to Jesus?
Our Lord answered that very thing--we come to Him by faith through His word. John 15:3 Jesus said this, "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." That cleansing, that purging that is so desperately needed is going to be found through the Word of God. It is the "tonic" that the Great Physician has given so that all who drink deep of His water will discover a well of everlasting life.
An interesting illustration of this, and I use this ONLY for the illustration, is Revelation 10:10. "And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter." And so it goes with much of God's medicine of His word. It is sweet to us, we desire it for we know the cathartic properties it will provide. Yet it is bitter and will cause us to grieve and sorrow. But consider the words of 2 Corinthians 7:10, "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." It is the very thing God has given to us in order that we should be purged of our burdens and sins.
But it's not magic. You can't just read the Scriptures and walk away thinking that somehow it will magically transform you. It is to be ingested... made a part of you... obeyed. The Word of God must become the living and active experience of your life (Hebrews 4:12-13). James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
All of us need catharsis. All of us need that cleansing and purging of sins and past weights that cause us to sink into personal sorrow. Will you pick up the "tonic" of God's word and begin to drink deep of His remedy? I will too.
From the Mountains to the Sea
Every step we take on this journey called life ought to be used for greater understanding. I've lived from the mountains to the sea, and this blog is my personal thoughts and observations with a desire for Biblical understanding. Welcome.