Have you ever read a passage that just electrified you? That upon reading it, just sent a shiver of electricity down your spine, because you knew it to be true? A few weeks ago, I was reading Ezekiel 18, since I was thinking of writing a sermon and that chapter was part of the lectionary. I did end up writing a sermon, which I will publish later. However, it did not get used, as I got sick that weekend and my minister had already found someone to replace her on her vacation. I did, however, start using Ezekiel 18:32 in my daily practice, as it really struck a chord with me and inspired me. It is this:
For I take no pleasure in anyone's death, says Sovereign YHWH.
That means me! Godde would not take any pleasure in my death! Yes, I probably should have known that already, but for some reason it provided a much needed boost to my brain and soul. You see, when I go through my bouts of depression, I become suicidal and a few weeks ago, that's where my thinking was centered. So whenever I started to think about suicide, I would repeat that sentence paraphased:
Godde does not delight in anyone's death!
Miraculously, by repeating that phrase over and over again, my thoughts would eventually clear up, like the sun shining through on a cloudy day and after awhile I would feel alright. At first, it took an hour for my thoughts to clear up, but with a few medication changes and tons of Ezekiel repetitions, the hour-long agonies soon turned to thirty-minute long ones to fifteen minute-long moments of torture. I can now say that my depression is now doing a lot better and it has been about a week of suicidal free thinking. Hallelujah!
What I practiced is called a positive affirmation and they're one of those things that can sound really cheesy at first, but with practice they really work. The trick is to find a phrase that means something to you. And then repeat it. Again and again and again until you really start to believe it. Until your brain starts to buy into the positive message and the negative hold doesn't seem so strong. It doesn't have to be a biblical passage-that's just what happened to work for me. I do think it is important to tell our brain and our heart positive things, because the truth is we're always going to be telling our brains and hearts something and whatever we say long enough, we will eventually believe. It is harder to tell ourselves positive things, because at least I have a lot more experience telling myself negative messages, but the more we practice, the easier it gets.
And so I leave you with this: Godde does not delight in anyone's death, so please do not delight in yours. Delight in living instead.
*What are some positive affirmations that have helped you?