One-Way Love: The Only Antidote for Acedia (May 16th)
by Steve Brown
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
I have a friend named Jeff who is HIV-positive. He struggles with same-sex attraction. He grew up in a condemning home, and although I’ve never met him face-to-face, I dedicated one of my books to him. I dedicated a book to him because I love him a lot. And one day I got an email from him. I had done a teaching series once on the subject of acedia. You may not have the foggiest idea what acedia is, but it’s one of the seven deadly sins, the one sometimes translated as “sloth.” But acedia is more than sloth. It’s that demonic sense of futility and hopelessness when you just don’t want to do this anymore. Well, Jeff heard this teaching series, and this is what he wrote to me:
I’ve been listening to those CDs Key Life sent me over the last few weeks, dealing with acedia. I have to admit, when I first saw what they were about, I was reluctant to listen. Coming from where I do, I assumed you would be discussing how to get the fire back, how to stir up the old passion by reading more of the Bible, going to church every Wednesday and Sunday and praying twice in the morning, once at lunch, and just before bed. I figured you would discuss our laziness, our lack of passion and condemn us for not returning Christ’s gift to us with undying faithfulness. And perhaps all of those things need to be said, and they are, of course, true. But after hearing it so much for so long, I can’t deal with being beat over the head anymore. I do enough of that to myself. I know all too well that I need to get better. Dealing with my issues, acedia is not only impossible to avoid, it surrounds my heart and it’s exceedingly difficult to feel any passion when you don’t feel worthy to be loved or accepted by a holy God. It’s hard to dance before the Lord when you think he only thinks bad thoughts toward you because you still haven’t gotten the victory.
I remember once, my wife, Anna, had had a miserable week. Everything had gone wrong: things had broken in the house, the cat had brought a mouse in, and she wasn’t feeling well. She’d had to see the doctor and was on antibiotics. Now, if you’re a guy, you think your job is to fix things. Well, I wanted to fix my wife, and so I started making suggestions. And she said, “Honey, I don’t want you to fix me; I want you to hug me.” Sometimes I say that to God.
Thought to Remember for Today
Do you know the Lord is not expecting you to “get the victory”? He already got it for you through His Son. He wants you to repent of your sin, yes, but if you trust in Jesus, He’s not disappointed in you. He knows what a mess you are. And He loves you.
Fitzpatrick, E. (2016). Grace untamed: a 60-day devotional. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook.