Starting Points#4. “Free to Grow.”

Starting Points#4. “Free to Grow.”

What do Charles Manson (the criminally insane murderer), Pricilla Presley (actress and wife of Elvis), and Tom Cruise (the A-List Hollywood actor), have in common? The answer is, of course, The Church of Scientology. Ironically, Charles Manson, after completing 150 hours of Scientologist “Auditing” in prison declared the religion: “too crazy.”

When removing the thin veneer, Scientology is just another cult. But what makes it especially dangerous is its focus on “Turning off one’s emotions.” Thus, it makes sense that actors, and others keen to create a public persona, would not be put off by this; hiding one’s true self is part of their stock and trade.

But even if a person consents to stifle their emotions, sooner or later something has to give. And it does. Marriage, parenthood, and friendships cannot work without free-flowing, self-regulated emotions.

Jesus invites Christians to a place of ‘Spiritual Self-control.’ It is where we self-regulate, not only our emotions, but our ideas, words, and actions. This is not done by force, but willingly for the cause that is bigger than ourselves—the Kingdom of Christ.

The Lord’s church is that Kingdom in which we grow up in Christ. However, spiritual maturity is impossible where self-control is “forced control.” No matter how sincere such people might be, their dictates are growth stunting by nature.

Instead, each Christian must learn to bear his own burdens. Then he becomes strong enough to bear his brother’s burdens as needed. The goal is nothing less than an army of Christlike, love-motivated burden bearers.

A church is a family in which each Christian grows by trial and error; there is no other way!

We are a collection of believers who live out our lives in front of each other. Along with the victories we naturally expect that there will be defeats. And it is in this environment that we strive to become experts at helping and forgiving, that everyone knows that they are “Free to grow.”

John Staiger

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