Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Words of Jesus

Author and Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck says in his book  The Road Less Travelled that there are four disciplines for learning how to suffer and how to grow.

"What are these tools, these techniques of suffering, these means of experienciing the pain of problems constructively that I call discipline?  There are four: delaying gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to truth, and balance"
Pg. 18  The Road Less Travelled

He goes on to say that the learning of these disciplines is to be best found in stable family life.  I couldn't agree more!

His discussiion of delaying gratification really caught my attention. He defines delaying gratification as
"a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.  It is the only decent way to live." pg.19 The Road Less Travelled

When I read an author like M. Scott Peck I admire how passionate and caring people like Dr. Peck are. He has helped thousands live as better people.  People like Dr. Peck desire to bless and to help.  They are inspiring people!    Even so, I always take what any author says to Jesus' words to see if their words resonate with Jesus.

When I took these quotes to Jesus' words I felt a resonating and a discord.  The resonating was in Dr. Peck's call to deal with the pain first.  The discord was with the idea that I need to schedule my pleasure and my pain.

I hear Jesus telling me to delay gratification through the pain of cross bearing as I get on with first loving those I need to love.  Loving others will most certainly require the delay of gratification in most cases.

I hear Jesus telling me that His Father will schedule the pain and the pleasure according to His will and not mine. Scheduling pain or pleasure on my own is beyond my grasp of all that is happening in God's plan.  I can't hear Jesus saying  "Wait!  This is the time I scheduled for pleasure!"   I can hear Jesus saying "If love requires that I suffer first and then find pleasure, I will."

I agree with Dr. Peck that the inability to delay gratification is deadly to life and to love.  I think the four disciplines Dr. Peck uses to help hurting people solve many of the problems of life really do help.

Even so, I always take my words or any other person's words to Jesus' words and listen for resonance or discord.  Jesus must be the final word on all of our words if we ever hope to be healthy, loving human beings.

"My sheep hear my voice..." John 10:27

Bud McCord
Abide International

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