Monday, September 10, 2012

Chapter 55: On Choices, Confession, and that Next Step

One of the things I have noticed about my walk with Him lately is that it is actually a choice.
- I can choose to read His Word, or I can choose to fill my time with other things (that, frankly, border on the fatally dull at times).
- I can choose to spend time interceding and praising, or I can choose to have a heart that is busy and made of stone.
- I can choose to ask for help from Him or others, or I can bumble along like an ape in a glass menagerie.

One of the more difficult choices for me, but one that I have been having to come back to a lot recently has been the choice to see and confront my pride.

Stupid pride. Gets in the way of relationships and keeps real growth from happening in my life. Keeps me from running to Him when I stumble, mostly because I hate that I'm-not-even-remotely-as-self-sufficient-as-I-think-I-am feeling.

But if I can just admit that I'm wrong. Admit that I don't have it all together. Admit that I regularly return to my own vomit, then everything is ok. It all works out well, right? I've slapped my own hands and sent myself to the Corner of False Humility. The admission of sin is enough.

But, the thief's admission loses something, you see, when his hands are working to steal even as he finishes his confession. 

Repent - A word that society has made into a lunatic on the street corner's cry.

Repent - A word that He has made into a call to hope - hope that we do not have to remain as we are, but that He gives us the power to throw aside the chains He long ago destroyed, and see the beauty of following Him.

Does He relentlessly love the ones He called? Yes.
Does He require a certain quota of good deeds or repented sins? No.
Are we who are His still covered by His grace? Yes.
All the more reason to repent. 

And here it comes back to the choices in my life. I can choose to repent of my sin, or I can choose to simply admit that it's there. So now comes the hard part. . .

What choices do you make, and, more importantly, are they the right ones?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chapter 54: On Injustice, Superheroes, and House Maids

Many of my friends in America just started school, but this is already my fourth week of school. It was a good and a challenging summer. It has helped me see more clearly the shape that the next few years might be taking.

One of the things that has been on my heart heavily is the issue of injustice. This world is full of it, and it's pretty clear from His Book that we are meant to fight against that. I heard a great message this summer from a great friend here about this topic. He talked about how injustice is perpetuated by selfishness. As soon as my personal interest takes a part in the justice I am trying to show, it is no longer justice.

Now, Zack and I just watched The Avengers. Amazing movie. I forgot how subtly (and not so subtly) funny it is. But the justice portrayed there and in other superhero settings is imperfect. The justice we learn about in His Book is not based in acting out our own judgments and fighting those people who are serving injustice, but rather in seeking to aid those who are the victims of that injustice.

I watched and read The Help this summer as well. If you haven't seen it, move it right on up to the top of that movie list. Again, imperfect justice there, but it still has helped to open my eyes to what injustice is around me that I might be missing. And there is a lot of it.

How can I serve justice to those for whom it has been denied? How can I grow more closely in my relationship with Him so that I may see what He sees and act as He would have me act? How can I be more just? Where in my life am I ignoring injustice?

It's that last one that worries me. Because I can point out specific places in my past where I have done just that. When I was in the U.S., I didn't help any of the foreigners in the Cities even though I knew I should. After living as a foreigner, I know now how much of a difference support from the local people means. And when I was in college, I served at a center for inner city children. But it was only to complete the requirements for a class. And even then, it was done reluctantly. My heart wasn't in it to actually help serve justice to those children.

So if I have been apt to ignore injustice in the past, it stands to reason that I could be ignoring it now. But where? This is how He has been leading me - to pay closer attention to the people and circumstances around me. I'm still not there, but I'm at least paying attention to it now.

So the question is how will He use this to use me?
 How will he use you?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chapter 53: Concerning the First Birthday of the Author's Niece

My niece turned 1 today. I haven't met her yet. I wish I could be there as she learns how to walk and talk. But I'm also thankful that her parents and older brothers do SO much to take care of her. I know she'll be amazing!