Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Meaning of Easter For a Prostate Cancer Survivor

If you are a prostate cancer survivor, or any cancer survivor you've been given a reprieve from a death sentence. This reprieve has the potential and power to become a life altering event. However, if your values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors remain where they were before you were diagnosed with cancer than you've wasted your reprieve.

As a Medical Social Worker I had the privilege of participating in the life reviews of men and women that were terminally ill. The regrets they shared were remarkably similar.  The #1 regret I heard had to do with the use of time. In order to achieve professional success, a lot of  time was taken away from both marriage and family This sacrifice of time to achieve professional success appeared to be the right thing to do at the time.

For reasons I cannot explain, on your death bed the sacrifice and price paid for professional success becomes very clear. For some, the pain of regret was far greater than the pain  brought about by a terminal disease. I once asked a group of people what would they do if they knew they had one day to live. The worst answer I heard came from a woman who said "I go in to the office, but I take my children with me!" I felt very sorry for her children.

The 2nd most frequently heard regret was closely related to the #1 regret. The #2 regret  had to do with a failure or breakdown  in an intimate relationship with a partner or a child. The quality and quantity of time spent with a spouse or child was the sacrificial offering for the price of success. The lack of time had a severely negative impact on that relationship.

For others,  the breakdown in a relationship had nothing to do with work. A intimate relationship remained broken as a result of  an unforgiving spirit. There are people out there who hold grudges for years, others for decades, and some truly foolish people hold grudges for their entire lives. I'm personally familiar with a life long relationship breakdown. I'm convinced my sister will remain alienated from me and my family for the rest of her life. Last month my eldest son was married in NY just a few miles from where my sister lives. I called her and told her my entire family (my youngest is 21, who my sister has never met) was in NY and wanting to visit/meet her. She was not interested.

Unforgiving people foolishly believe the bitterness, anger, and forgiveness they maintain is directed and contained toward a specific person. Nothing could be further from the truth. All those angry and bitter feelings leak out on the people you love the most.  Your capacity to love is diminished your own level of forgiveness.

Jesus tells this story about the relationship between the capacity to love and forgiveness in Luke 7:40-47

"Simon, I have something to say to you." And he said, "Teacher, say it."  There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.   And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?"  43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

If you want to live and love in the way God designed you to live and to love, accept Jesus death on the cross as payment for you sins. Accept His resurrection as proof He died and rose again to give you a new life. A life filled with the capacity to forgive and filled with the capacity to love. For those who are skeptics and those who need more information, check out this link:

Historical Evidence for the resurrection
Easter is more than a celebration of Jesus resurrection, it can become your day of resurrection to a new life in Christ.

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