What Does Jesus Save Us From?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on June 29, 2020

The name Jesus is derived from the Hebrew Yeshu which means to deliver, to rescue, to save. It’s good to ask ourselves: what does Jesus save us from?

The short answer might be sin or death. But I have found those two words a bit too general and vague. It can be more helpful to specify the kinds of bad habits, attitudes, addictions, or shortcomings we need saving from.

Over the years I have regularly reflected on this question. Today I’ll share six things I periodically need saving from. (I assure you there are more.)

What do I need Jesus to save me from?

Most children love to learn, because they know they don’t know it all!

+ From thinking I know it all. If I think I know it all, I am wrong, of course, for no one knows it all. I am also proud and I might even become bossy or domineering. Thinking I know it all leaves no room for wonder, for learning, for growth. Remember, some of the Pharisees knew it all. And Jesus had a really, really hard time with them. Why? Because they were not open to his message of hope and salvation. (A corollary to thinking I know it all is thinking I am always right.)

+ From haste. Speed is not bad. Fire engines speed. Good computers are fast. If you’re in pain, you want quick relief. But if we have the habit of racing through life, we miss out on a lot of good things that an ordinary human life has to offer. In our haste, we don’t really meet the people we see each day. Sometimes we may even push them aside in our rush to get somewhere. Haste also breeds superficiality. If we’re constantly running around, we miss the deeper goodness and more subtle beauties of everyday life. We have to slow down or (better yet) we have to stop to enjoy such things as a child’s hug, a whiff of honeysuckle, a sip of cold beer on a hot summer day, or the sight of a reddish-yellowish- orangish-purplish sunset.

Is this me racing through life?

+ From violence. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not an overtly violent person. But just because we don’t go around setting houses on fire, doesn’t mean we don’t commit subtle acts of violence. We can do violence by our tone of voice, by spreading gossip, by giving someone the silent treatment, by rolling our eyes when another speaks, by hogging a conversation, or by remaining silent when we should speak out. We even do violence to ourselves by succumbing to perfectionism or workaholism.

+ From cynicism. A cynic is someone who believes a better world is not possible. The cynic’s mantras are: “What’s the use?… It’ll never work…Nothing ever changes… People are inherently selfish… Give up already…” As someone remarked, a cynic is a person who is “prematurely disappointed in the future.” Jesus saves us from cynicism by his words such as, “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.” And by his promises such as: “Fear not, little flock… I call you friends… My peace I give to you… I will be with you always.”

No matter your age, hang on to your sense of humor!

From deadly seriousness. We can’t be smiling every minute. Some events and certain days demand sadness and even tears. Yet, we musn’t forget that our Christian faith is essentially Good News. The fact that Jesus saves lies at the heart of that good news. If we truly believe Jesus’ life and teachings, we will be essentially happy and upbeat people. We owe it to one another to maintain a good sense of humor—no matter what. Outsiders said of the early Christian community, “Look how they love one another.” And that’s great! I wish they also could have said, “Look how they laugh together on a regular basis!” (I have a hunch they did say this!)

+ From giving up my daily prayer. I’ve come up with three good reasons to give up my daily prayer: 1) I don’t have the time, 2) I don’t know what to say, 3) nothing happens anyway. Maybe you can come up with a few more reasons. But when I am tempted to give up praying, I always remember what the Trappist monk Thomas Merton said about prayer: it is “our daily appointment with Mystery.” That’s one appointment I want to keep! Then there’s the writer Jane Ubertino’s words, “We don’t pray to be effective. We pray because God is God and we are we, and therefore that meeting is the most important thing in our life.”

Prayer is my daily appointment with Mystery. (All photos from Pexels)

So, there you have it. Six things I periodically need Jesus to save me from. What about you?

Do you share any of these same things with me?

What other thing(s) would you add to this list?

PS: Last I heard, we have 32 people signed up to make that Zoom retreat July 13-19, sponsored by King’s House Retreat Center in Belleville, IL. I hope some of those participants are some of you!

Our song today is titled “Jesus Saves.” It is written and sung by Jeremy Camp.

I invite you to respond below to this reflection, video, or other readers’ responses. Thank you!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

John Hopkins June 29, 2020 at 5:21 am

Good morning, Sr. Melannie….
Good morning, all….

A few blogs ago you talked about the “tyranny of preference,” an expression I had never heard of or thought about, but one which has remained fresh in my mind ever since. These days are rife with political and religious division, and I must admit I “prefer” those sites, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. that take my side on the issues I’m passionate about, causing me, however, to then see the other side — those of a different “preference” — as “less than.” I don’t see them as God’s children, rather, as a political or religious point of view. I become what I abhor. “God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me!”

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David Redfield June 29, 2020 at 7:13 am

Sister,
Wow! This is REALLY close to home: giving someone the silent treatment, by rolling our eyes when another speaks”
You mean it is that obvious? It is not a secret.
I guess some true Salvation is in order for me, then.

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Mary Fran June 29, 2020 at 7:14 am

Perfect timing for this reflection! Thank you.

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Ed Johnson June 29, 2020 at 7:39 am

Sister Melannie,
Thank you, as always, for your insights. I pretty much qualify, to one degree or another, for all the items in your personal list. I particularly like Merton’s quote on prayer as “Our daily appointment with mystery.” Jesus also needs to save me from procrastination, as in “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?!” Our nation’s birthday occurs this week, albeit under most trying circumstances. May everyone have a blessed and safe holiday!

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Amy Secrist June 29, 2020 at 7:44 am

I love this.

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Shirley June 29, 2020 at 11:21 am

Thanks Sister, I can so relate to many you mentioned. I too found myself saying Wow! Thanks so much for your blog, I look forward to it every Monday morning.

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Kathleen Magiera June 29, 2020 at 7:51 am

Sister Melannie and friends,

Amazingly accurate insights!

During this time of still being quarantined in certain ways, sometimes my worst self comes out. I have found trying to balance righteous anger with just being mean a challenge. With limited in person contact and wearing masks, we can see the “other” differently.

Love the Merton phrase that prayer is “our daily appointment with Mystery.”

Be safe everyone. God bless.

Kathleen

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Tina June 29, 2020 at 9:35 am

Love, Love, Love this. I found myself repeatedly saying Wow out loud as I was reading. Thanks!

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Micki June 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

Great insights this morning! I wrote these out (and added a few of my own) and put them in the section of my prayer journal devoted to seeking God’s Grace for my shortcomings ( why is that easier to say than “sins”?).
I use that section for an examination of conscience before Reconciliation. I already added self-focus and foolish fears to my list.

Thanks for some powerful Monday morning thoughts.

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Joe June 29, 2020 at 10:34 am

“Save me from myself; save me from the lust and vengeance in my heart and the acid in my soul.”

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Janice Marie Johnson June 29, 2020 at 11:17 am

Melanie, thank you for sharing with us. This reflection really touched me because I can identify with what you listed as needing God to save you from. This will help to enhance my time of reflection on this topic.

See you on Zoom in July!
Janice

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Missy June 29, 2020 at 11:23 am

Thank you for these pathways to prayer. I add save me from seeing what I see in others and not what you see

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Jane June 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Years ago. at an RCIA class, the questions of Jesus saves was on the table. One of the candidates replied…”Jesus saves us from ourselves”.
I think it changed my life.

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Mo June 29, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Loved this. So true Melannie.

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Christine M Holmgren June 29, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Hello Sr. Melanie ~ From long ago in the 1970’s a quote that’s so old the index card it’s written on has yellowed: “The Jesus experience is redemptive – saving us from self-absorption; triviality; enslavement to the expectation of others; scripts handed down by our families; boundaries drawn by our culture or society”.

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Thomas DeFreitas June 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Beautiful reflection. I value especially the reminder about daily prayer, and the definition of a cynic, and the beautiful photo of the older lady holding the heart-shaped leaf to her cheek!

Peace and light to all.

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Cheryl Zelazo June 29, 2020 at 3:06 pm

I too identified with all of these but especially speed!! I tell myself I’m efficient, always moving on to the next thing and managing my time in the best possible way. Unfortunately, I DO miss out on so many of life’s precious moments because of this..thanks for the reminder !

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pauline salois June 29, 2020 at 5:16 pm

I too say Jesus saves us from all that you pointed out and I thought about
being disappointed in our children.

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Carol Larsen June 29, 2020 at 6:36 pm

What a spot-on topic today! St Mother Theresa said, “God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful. When we stand before God, results are not important. Faithfulness is what matters.” Faithfulness to prayer is important to me. My day goes much better when it is started in prayer and peppered with prayer throughout the day. Jesus saves me from myself! From “I can do it myself; I can do it better than someone else; This is my plan; I want you to do this for me, Jesus.” How about “Jesus, what do you think I should do? Jesus, what is your plan for me?” Covid is putting the most important things in perspective as we have experienced the loss of Mass, Eucharist, Adoration. Jesus, save us from the Pandemic!

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Mary Zogelman June 29, 2020 at 8:08 pm

thank you Sister!! Very beautiful!!

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Linda June 29, 2020 at 8:34 pm

This blog came at a good time. I know I also qualify on various levels. I so needed to be reminded. Thank you sister.

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Ken Locken June 30, 2020 at 12:34 am

Thank you sister your six wonderful insights which will form my examination of conscience tonight. What wonderful food for thought in the quotes of Thomas Merton and Jane Ubertino!

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Jim Auer June 30, 2020 at 7:45 am

Thank you for your beauty-wrapped incisive reflection. I’m going to put, “Thank you, Jesus, for saving me from sin and death” on a brief hiatus so I can concentrate on “ordinary” stumbling blocks that I (sometimes desperately) need saving from: * frustration and anger over American politics; * the compulsion to be incessantly productive; * the disappointment that, having just turned 78, there’s a fairly decent that chance I may not have 40 more years to get all my “gottas” done.

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Jean Canatsey July 4, 2020 at 12:15 pm

I also need to add “frustration and anger over American politics” to my “save me from” list. In fact, it probably should be at the top of that list!

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Andre and Neicha Sequeira June 30, 2020 at 10:18 am

Dear Sr. Melannie
Likewise I had heard that Jesus saves us from sin and death. Thank-you for translating that in life in 2020. You have given fresh eyes to be aware of potential stumbling blocks: being always right or too sure of ourselves, haste , subtle forms of violence, cynicism , being overly serious and lack of fidelity to prayer. Thanks to all the ther readers who also shared areas like preoccupation with self , triviality and unfounded fears. We can all make sure that we keep up our daily appointment with the mystery . Many thanks again and all the best with the retreat.

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Mary Therese DeMoor June 30, 2020 at 11:21 am

Really looking forward to retreat with you. What a gift to have it by zoom. Since we are still in quarantine here at Villa Teresa, I am grateful for this possibility to meet the “Mystery” during these special days of retreat. Gracias.

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Marguerite Donovan July 2, 2020 at 5:22 am

Thank you, S. Melannie. You have a lot of company in your six-section boat! I wonder if God doesn’t let us keep falling into these little pits so to give us the opportunity to show God our love by getting up again and again. And when we think that we have finally “got it all together,” I recall Thomas Merton’s musing, ” . . . the fact that I think that I am following your (God’s) will does not mean that I am actually doing so ” Humility always looks better on other people, it is so uncomfortable putting it on ourselves. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings.

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Jean Canatsey July 2, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Thank you, Sr. Melanie, for starting my week off with a much needed reflections. I never thought of “hogging a conversation” as a type of violence. In today’s world, it seems that there is more violence than ever-perhaps where we least expect to find it.
My husband and I frequently start our morning with Morton’s prayer. We often need to be reminded that “just because I think I am following God’s will does not mean that I am actually doing so.“
Jesus, save me from my arrogance.

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sue July 10, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Thank you for this and so relevant to the workplace too

I would add “save me from mistaking my wants and naming them as needs! save me from the consumerism which drives our economies but kills our planet”

Thank you

Please pray for me .. somewhere between faith and doubt

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