I've been writing 2 very different blogs for a while, but life and death have intervened with completing them. So, a few thoughts about what I've encountered along the way, recently.
Jonathan Edwards wrote: "Resolved...that all men would live for the glory of God. Resolved, second...that if nobody else does, I will."
It seems that humans, in general, respond to the second phrase in actions that reveal, "Resolved, second...that if nobody else does, I won't either." or "Resolved, second...that if nobody else does, I'll make them."
Am I being cynical, or realistic about our power to deceive ourselves in our hearts? hmmmm...
Oswald Chambers wrote:
"We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them."
It is really difficult to face, daily, my ability to sin and to cause sorrow and suffering. Repenting is ongoing, confessing is ongoing, grieving is ongoing, facing my sin is necessary to discerning how to love others and to live the truth of God's redemption to them in the midst of their brokenness.
We really, really, really, REALLY, want everyone else to be as dirty and broken as we act and perceive ourselves to be. When confronted with a person who has behaved righteously, we seek to drag them down into our own unrighteousness. We call them "holier than thou" when what we're really saying is, "Your life seems to be lived on a higher plane than mine. Who do you think you are, anyway???" If we see that other people are destructive or critical or abusive toward that person, we rationalize that it must be his/her fault. We will join in with the mob who destroys rather than risk ourselves and our reputations in the face of the opprobrium of the group, to participate in redemption of that person. It seems not to enter into the minds of those in the mob that a righteous person could actually be blamed, ostracized, demeaned, and slandered, much less die, simply for being righteous. It seems not to enter into the minds of those in the mob that, even if the person is unrighteous, we ourselves have become unrighteousness by our participation in their destruction. We neglect to face the harsh truth about ourselves that we will crucify even God's Son. The righteousness of Jesus and the Prophets will make us SO uncomfortable about ourselves that we become the killers of others, including the killers of the prophets and the Righteous One. "Yeah, but," we may say, "we can see that those historical people killed righteous people, but we've never done that!" Do we hear the echo of Jesus' voice speaking to the powerful in Matthew 23:29-36?
Rather, as Christians, we are called to crucify ourselves that Christ may live within us. Will you sacrifice yourself to love another person, today, however "unworthy" in the world's eyes? Will I?