Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Truth

Everybody says they want the truth.  We hold up the truth as a perfect ideal.  I know in class one of the things I cannot stand is dishonesty.  I've been very clear with my kids about this.  They have been told, in no uncertain terms, that lying to me is #1 on the list of bad things that can happen in class.  I know plenty of other people who feel the same way.  I don't know if it's human nature or a social thing or something else.  We despise anything that isn't the truth.

Well, that's what we say.  The fact in many cases is this...we despise dishonesty in other people.  Most of us don't take the time to examine ourselves or have a trusted friend help us with that.  Our first lie is that we don't need it.  We love to sniff out other people's lies, but somehow our own escape detection.  The fact is that I am incredibly dishonest with myself.  I tell myself that my devotional/prayer time is sufficient, that seeing this or saying that won't affect me, that the thing I hear in church is a good idea but not a pressing concern, and a host of other lies anytime I am made to be uncomfortable.

The end result is that this affects what I believe.  Do I really believe the things that I say I do?  There's only one way to tell.  If I don't do it, then I don't believe it.  I can't count the number of times I've witnessed this truth in my students.  It's much easier to count the number of times I've admitted it in my own life.  Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees didn't hinge on their results.  They would appear to us today to be model Christians.  He didn't criticize the appearance of their faith.  He told them that their heart on the inside didn't match their actions and words on the outside.  He called into question their motivation.  He was just as concerned, if not more concerned, about why they were praying, fasting and tithing as he was that these thing were actually happening.  Too often we use this as a "get out of jail free" card.  Since I will be judged on the motivation behind my actions, I can tell myself and anyone who challenges me that my motives are pure and God-centered.  That's the trump card.  You can't beat that.  Nobody can accurately judge my motives.  God alone is capable of that and He will do that.  If I really believe He'll judge my motives, I need to be honest with myself about what those motives are.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Psychotic Break?

I've been reading over some of these posts and I've come to a realization.  I think I've been hitting myself in the head long enough.  Why would anyone read what I write and walk away feeling like being a Christian is something that they want to do.  Every post seems to end with some version of "and here's why I'm terrible at being a Christian."  I think that I'm done with that.  I am, probably for the first time in my life, getting my head around what grace is and why it matters.  I'm not going to say that I can go do whatever I want and it's all good.  I'm not going to pretend that the ideas of righteousness and holiness don't really apply because God knows my heart and understands.  I've had a faith crisis of sorts over the last few months and I feel like I'm on the other side of it now.  I can say that I am tragically and fundamentally flawed, but God's grace covers that.  As long as I am reaching for the cross, it will sustain me.  Jesus didn't come to earth and carry my sins so that I could wring my hands every day wondering how it's all going to work out.  What do I have need of?  I have a Savior and he works on my behalf.  Is there something more that I need that I'm missing?
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