Focusing on forgiving and forbearing might give the impression that none of our sinful traits or annoying idiosyncrasies ever changes. So all we can do is forgive and forbear. What I plan to show from the Bible this coming weekend is that God gives grace not only to forgive and to forbear, but also to change so that less forgiving and forbearing are needed. That too is a gift of grace. Grace is not just power to return good for evil, but also power to do less evil. Even power to be less bothersome.
God-centered, Christ-exalting, cross-cherishing, Spirit-dependent, Bible-saturated, emotionally-in-touch, culturally-informed use of language to help people become God-centered, Christ-exalting, joyfully self-forgetting lovers of people who spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples. Use of language (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; Romans 15:14):
In a nutshell, "the therapeutic" borrows a wonderful metaphor from medicine - "healing" - but treats it as a literal reality. Of course, when you are healed from having cancer, the flu, or a broken leg, that's a literal healing. Something bad happens to you. You are in some essential way passive, a victim, acted upon by forces external to your identity and responsibility as a moral agent. You are a "patient." You "have" or "suffer from" some disease or dysfunction. With healing, your body has now been restored, and that's good.
This question arises from the biblical teaching that all things are ultimately under God’s control. "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose" (Isaiah 46:10). "Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps" (Psalm 135:6). "He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’" (Daniel 4:35).
Editor's Note: Our friend, David Powlison, of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, who also was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, has added some helpful expansions to John Piper’s ten points. Paragraphs beginning with "DP:" are written by David Powlison.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the body's mesothelial cells around the organs. The mesothelium provides a protective membranous lining for the internal organs and allows moving organs (i.e. the heart and the lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures. The names of the three regions of mesothelial cells that provide protective coating are 1) pleura, the sac which surrounds the lungs; 2) peritoneum, the lining which protects the abdominal cavity; and 3) pericardium, the sac which surrounds the heart.