Speaking Of Life 5031 │ Dead to Me
The phrase “dead to me” has unknown origins but saying that someone is “dead to me” communicates that you no longer want to speak or have any kind of contact with that person. This can be a harsh statement to make, especially if we consider that forgiveness benefits us as well as the person we think wronged us. But what if we use the phrase “dead to me” differently and apply it to the shadow side of ourselves? You know, the parts of ourselves that we wish we could change, like acting selfishly, thinking ourselves better than others, or feeling abandoned by God and other people.
The truth is, you and I should consider ourselves dead to these negative behaviors and thought patterns and be alive for something bigger and more life-giving.
The apostle Paul has written about this idea of considering certain aspects of ourselves as being “dead”, especially in the way our baptism mirrors Christ’s death and resurrection. Let’s take a look at what he says in Romans 6:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, so we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6:5-7 (NRSVUE)
We learn that when Christ was crucified, our “old self,” our shadow side, was crucified with him. Why? So we would no longer be enslaved to sin. When we are in him, we are “dead” to those behaviors and thoughts that make us cringe and think, “Why did I do that? What was I thinking?” Christ’s death frees us from the power of sin and gives us another alternative.
The old self, now dead to us, was preoccupied with egoic concerns, like personal preferences and opinions. If sin is dead to us, then we can be alive for something else. We’re free to be alive in Christ. Let’s continue this passage:
But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:8-11 (NRSVUE)
Notice that Christ’s resurrected life is lived to God, and Paul is encouraging us to remember that we, too, are “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We are freed from our compulsion to egoic concerns and our feelings of unworthiness or separation from God. Instead, we are liberated to live a life of radical love, using our skills and resources to help those who are in need.
Being alive to God means we view the world through Jesus’ eyes and view others through his eyes as well. He often noticed tax collectors, women, and children – those who were judged by their culture. As we live to God, no longer slaves to sin, we allow him to bring to our attention the God-given dignity of all people.
May you realize that sin is dead to you and no longer holds you in its grasp, thanks to our Savior Jesus. May you know the freedom of being “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” And may you always join Jesus in looking for ways to lift up and bless others who need his radical love.
I’m Cara Garrity, Speaking of Life.