Words. So much of our understanding or lack of it is based on our interpretation of words. I was thinking today about Oprah and her new guru. Oprah thinks the answer is within us. I think the answer is where God says it is, with Him. Why do some people insist that we are good? They have issues with the word "sin" or the word "good'.
The word sin actually means to miss the mark, in reference to a target. Doesn't that seem more acceptable? Who doesn't miss the mark daily? Who doesn't wish they would have been more patient, kinder, less irritable, more understanding, a better budget keeper, a wiser mother, and on into infinity. I know that I miss the mark frequently. Why is missing the mark called sin? Why is that the definition of sin? Sin has emotional connotations of negativity, and nobodies perfect right?
God the creator of this universe is perfect. He is good. He is love. He sets the standard or the target of perfection and it is, what only He can do. That is why the scripture says, "There is no one good, no not one". That can just flat out stick in some folks craw. They think, "I am too good, I would give an old lady my seat on the bus, I was a girl scout, I support our troops. Whatever your idea of goodness is, are you flawless at it? Is your record in that area of your own definition absolutely and totally perfect? I know I am not. Jesus came for the sick not the well. He hung out with the local street people and prostitutes. He didn't hang with the traditional church folks and they killed him for it. He was too revolutionary, too unorthodox, and he irritated them to no end. The religious elite of Jesus day assumed they had all the answers. Their God was in a nice neat little box of convention, custom, and tradition, so much so that when God made himself flesh they didn't see Him. What about us? Where do we fit in? Would we see God if He showed up? Would we hear him if he spoke? Would we do what He asked us to do?
Really I have been thinking about this. Aren't you glad you were not Noah? Think about it. We talk about how bad the world is and carry on, blah blah blah. In Noah's day he was the only one who followed after God. No one else in the world believed, just Noah and his family. That's one enormous obstacle, talk about being a maverick. Next up, it had never rained before. The Earth had a kind of dew every day. That's two pretty big obstacles. Here you are in the middle of dry land and God tells you to build an ark and that it's going to rain and flood the Earth. Alrighty then, what's rain? What's an ark? Talk about a crisis of belief.
People lived to be much older then, and Noah actually worked for 120 years as a ship builder on dry land, not near any large body of water, and was constantly ridiculed for his activity. You have to give him credit for perseverance. It also makes him very believable that when it was all over and they finally landed, he planted a vineyard and got drunk. Who wouldn't? Talk about a traumatic experience. Be careful about those self righteous thoughts. No one in our lifetime has experienced a stress of that magnitude.
That's what I like about the Bible. At first glance we think it's a book of super heroes. When you look close up the super heroes are super sheep. They all made stupid mistakes. They all have warts. Some have big serious offenses like murdering somebody. David wasn't the only one who killed a man, Moses did too. Then Jesus comes along and says if you have even thought it in your heart you are guilty as if it is a done deed. Ever felt road rage? Ever wanted to wring your husbands neck for another inconsiderate comment? OK your better than me, you don't think about doing your husband in, not even giving him a swift kick.
I know Jesus came for me, I knew I was sick, and full of flaws, full of mistakes, full of regrets. Full up to bursting. When the message came through the darkness, that I could have a clean slate and a new start; the dam broke. I couldn't stop weeping. How could it be? How could there be a God that would really know everything about me and love me?
Most of us go around presenting the face we want everyone to see. We polish it. We work on our presentation that is for the public and our friends. Not many of us let others see us how we really are, or let them in on our hidden secrets. But God,... not only sees and knows all of that, but there is nothing in us that He has not seen or doesn't know. You might feel naked under His gaze, because you are. It is out of his great love that He offers to clothe you, and wash you. To give you a new heart of flesh that is now stone. Don't need it? Not stony? Are you sure? Have you no dead relationships? No regrets? No, if only's? I mean really, am I the only person who still remembers being mean to Billy in the third grade? I don't know if Billy ever forgot but I didn't. Partly because he never came back to school. I never got to say I was sorry. I was his only friend. It really didn't matter that a bunch of kids ganged up on me and kicked me because I was his friend and he was a Mexican. It didn't matter that I caved to third grade peer pressure and told Billy, "you stink". I can still see him walking away with his head hanging. Me yelling, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry". I was crying but Billy didn't look back. Gee that was in the third grade you know how much stuff came after that? Do you think forgiveness is good news?
God doesn't offer us a consequence free, new pie in the sky deal. He gives us peace. He gives us insight. He gives us the ability to walk through our present circumstances with a different perspective. You may never get more income. You may never get well. You may never get married or have a long wanted child. Your life and situation may actually get worse not better.
Aren't you glad that I'm sugar coating this? Actually there is way too much sugar and false hootenanny out there. It's not about me, it's not about my inner self, my realizations, and I am so grateful that it's not! Even if, "I am always on my mind". I am not on your mind and the world really doesn't revolve around me. Shucks, that's a disappointment to you I'm sure. We are flawed, hopelessly imperfect. We are never going to get it right. You see all religions are about man trying to rescue himself and do something to right his sinking ship. Jesus reaches out with His gift of his own life. He offers to restore yours. You don't work towards anything. You say yes. That's why we are called the "bride" of Christ. When you get that proposal of marriage it's a yes or a no. We don't earn our husbands. We work pretty hard after the, I do, but it starts with a yes. It starts with love, with a relationship, with spending time together. That is what God wants. It really is that easy. He wants to know you, and for you to know Him. HE wants to spend time with you. He's available every minute to even your thoughts. He wants to rescue you from your worst enemy,...uh hum. He wants you to experience His presence and His love. It is the honest to God best news we have ever heard or ever shared. So how about you, do you know, that you know, for sure, know Him? Do you remember the moment that you met? When your heart first opened, and your ears first heard? If you aren't sure, would you like to be? Just write me. I'm just a beggar sharing where I found the bread, and it's delicious.