Sunday, February 6, 2011

Broken Cycle - Mountainside Chats

When I used to live in Abilene, Texas, it seemed like we would experience a “plague” every few years. The city would be overrun by some type of insect. They would be everywhere, inside and out. You might think that one cannot smell dead crickets, but if there are enough of them you can. Supposedly, the whole thing happens when unusual summer rain softens the ground so that the crickets to lay eggs earlier. When the eggs are laid earlier a disproportionately large amount of them hatch and create the overpopulation. The break in the cycle seem to cause havoc in the natural world.
Unfortunately, not all cycles are good. When it comes to human behavior, some types of cycles can be very damaging. People who struggle with addictions go through cycles of abuse and abstinence. Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorders practice elaborate anxiety-reducing cycles. Poverty cycles leave multiple generations of families living below their potential.
In Matthew 5:29, Jesus talks to his followers about breaking the cycle of sin. He suggests that if your eye or your hand causes you to sin, then you should remove it from your body. To me, that sounds really extreme. If we took this advice literally, many of us would have fewer appendages. I think Jesus is actually talking about breaking our own destructive cycles. He is saying that if you simply cannot handle something that is in your life, you might need to take drastic measures to eliminate it permanently. 
That is easy advice to read, but very difficult to enact. We are afraid of the plague of difficulty which may result from disrupting the cycle. When my coping mechanism is gone, how will I handle the hurt that has been building up for so long? I am not sure, but I know the cycle has to be broken. 

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