Let me give you some of Jesus’ and Paul’s paradoxical teachings that at first seem like contradictions, but when you hold them both together, when you live inside of them, “the third something” emerges. These are truths that can only be known at the level of inner experience. They cannot be controlled at the level of the head. When we open ourselves to paradox and mystery, we can finally be transformed at the deepest levels. Here are just a few of Jesus’ and Paul’s seemingly contradictory statements:
Finding is losing; losing is finding (Luke 17:33).The poor are rich (Matthew 5:3); the rich are very poor (Mark 10:17-25).Hunger is satisfaction (Matthew 5:6); satisfaction is emptiness (Luke 12:16-21).Weeping is bliss; bliss is weeping (Matthew 5:4).The wise and learned do not understand; mere babes do (Matthew 11:25).Folly is wisdom; the wise are ignorant (1 Corinthians 1:18-27).Weakness is strength; strength is weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18-27; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 13:9).
Hold these paradoxes in silence and your lived experience. Let them teach you true wisdom and transform you. Holy people live inside of a very creative tension that is held together by grace and compassion, never by logic alone.