Friday, February 14, 2014
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
How do you find yourself, today, Friend?
Do you ever hear common figures of speech that suddenly strike you as odd or funny or inaccurate? I tell my wife, “I’m gonna run to the store.” She never corrects me, though she undoubtedly knows I mean that I plan to drive. This is pretty harmless, I suppose. But I heard one on TV the other day that really caused me to think. A lady politician was running for office in another state, and her bio played on the fact that she had come from a very difficult background. In describing her past as an unwed, teenage mother, the narrator said, “At age 19 she found herself pregnant.” Really? Was it a Rip Van Winkle kind of experience? Did she simply awaken from an extended nap, look down at her belly, and realize she had been unwittingly impregnated? We all know that is ridiculous. She didn’t “find herself” pregnant; she “found out” she was pregnant. That is very different. The truth, however, doesn’t make a very good victim to heroine tale. The real story would go something like this: “She engaged in fornication at an early age, and was so irresponsible that she did not use birth control. As a result of this sin, she had a child out of wedlock. We do applaud her decision not to kill the child.”
Most of us use euphemism and minimization to avoid dealing with the harsh realities of life. We usually do it in order to cast ourselves in a better light, or to rationalize behavior we know to be wrong. “I’m running late today,” often means, “I was irresponsible last night, I failed to plan, and so I slept too late this morning. Therefore I lied when I agreed to be there. Please cover for me.” Then there’s my friend who tells me, “I really want to tithe, but I just can’t at the moment.” What he really means is, “I know God wants me to tithe, but I am currently unwilling to forego any of my personal indulgences in order to do so. I refuse to live without soda, and cigarettes, and junk food, and cable TV? I mean, I don’t want to get fanatical, right?” My current favorite is in the addiction/recovery crowd (of which I am a member). “Did you hear about Billy Bob? He relapsed.” That means, “He got loaded yesterday as a result of weeks of not taking care of his responsibility for his spiritual condition. He developed bad attitudes, and instead of seeking the help that was so readily available, he entertained the thought of using, he planned how and where he would do it, he deceived his friends, spent money his family needed, and finally took criminal actions he knew would cost him dearly. Now he wants you to feel sorry for him as if a meteor had randomly fallen on his head.” I could go on, but you get the point.
Somebody Said: The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior. M. Scott Peck
Scripture Reading: You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them. (Pro 28:13 MSG)
Much in life happens to us with no input from us. I have no control over those things. I do have control over how I respond. The word responsibility has as its root the word “response.” I have the ability to determine my response to life. The beginning of responsibility is to calling a thing what it is. Sin is sin. Stupidity is stupidity. I can’t change it till I own it. When I do this I am on the road to “finding myself” successful.