Thursday, February 6, 2014

Take Up Your Cause and Try to Be Nice

I learn by doing. I do what I enjoy. This time of year I'm learning a lot about skiing, reading, and writing. Housework -- not so much. I tend to housekeeping chores out of necessity, which involves lots of doing that doesn't fall into the enjoyable category. If I must clean, and I must, I try to re-organize so the next frantic run through will be quicker. Frantic because -- I clean when company is coming. Man, I'm good under pressure.

As you may know from a previous post, we're under construction here. When everything is in a state of disarray I have a hard time getting at the things I enjoy. I consider all the things I should do and all the things I want to do, both vying for my attention. It's paralyzing. And as the minutes and hours tick by I get a panicked feeling that I'm wasting my life.

It's the same with social issues and causes. I don't want my life to be a waste, but I get paralyzed by all that is sad, hurtful, wrong in the world. As a Christian, I want to take up my cross to follow Jesus. But there's a fine line between taking up my cross and taking up my cause. Either way, I want to do it in a godly fashion.

A friend of mine posted a quote from Billy Graham. Apparently he was asked, "If Christianity is valid, why is there so much evil in the world?" Graham replied something like...with so much soap in the world, why are there still dirty people? And he made that relative by adding that in each case they must be personally applied to do any good.

Yeah, okay, although that sounds judgmental, I get it. But I get it more for the soap than the religion. I think it's not a very good answer in that it's a terribly flippant answer to a very serious and valid question. It's distressing to me that the premise of Christ's way, God's law, the basic tenet of the religion called Christianity is love and grace -- and yet there is little peace among believers let alone in the world.

If you hadn't heard there was a debate this week. Ken Ham the creationist guy and Bill Nye the science guy debated the foundations of the earth. They were fairly respectful of one another, all things considered. I have to admit, I love Bill Nye: the way he dresses, talks and thinks. I believe God loves him too, though for whatever reason he hasn't yet gifted him with faith. (He's probably letting Bill come to faith through science. That's an epiphany I look forward to hearing about on one side or the other of eternity.)

And Ken Ham? Well I love him as a brother in Christ, but (and anything you say after the "but" discounts what came before) the very first time I heard him speak he was disrespectful of other famous Christian authorities who disagreed with his opinion on the age of the earth. He called them out by name and said if you don't agree with me and the Bible, you're doomed. Yep, that's how he spoke about his brothers in Christ. I don't believe he mentioned any women, which is another topic altogether -- an extremely relevant topic. Sorry, Ken, but I still love you. (Whatever comes after the "but" discounts what came before.  I guess I'm not all that sorry, Ken. I repent.)

There was one question put to Ken Ham that caused me to stop listening. He was asked if anything could change his mind about his stance on the age of the earth. He didn't answer the question. It has a very simple answer, but no, he went on and on "proving" his stance and didn't answer the question.

The answer is -- only God could change his mind. That, I would have respected. It would have presented a modicum of humility and submission to his higher authority.

As Christians we've got this personal relationship with a God who loves us so much he gives us a long leash, but he doesn't let us go. He lets us have our way and our opinions, ever reminding us to be humble and come to him, which we don't always do even though we  know he is the final authority and he knows everything. So the correct answer to the question about what could change our minds about anything and everything is GOD. But he won't if we don't want him to. He rarely interferes while we're still on our high horse using and misusing his Word to prove a point to which we we've married ourselves, forgetting completely that His ways are higher than our own.

Ps. 51:17 A humble and contrite heart God does not despise.
1 Peter 5:6   Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
And this is what the Lord requires of us:
Micah 6:8b That we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

And with that, I must get off my high horse. A friend of mine posted a blog this morning which calmed my anxious spirit. She spoke of seeking common ground, and not missing opportunities to make the world a better place. I'm going to go read Yvonne's Midpoint Musings again. Then I'm going take my anxious thoughts to God in prayer knowing that the peace of God transcends understanding -- yours, mine and ours -- His peace transcends our understanding.

And look! Once again he's sprinkled my yard with diamonds. I'm off now to do the next enjoyable thing on my docket. And before I go, I want to remind myself, there is a lot right with the world: Good things and good people, happy times and loving people. The chief end of humankind is to glorify, and enjoy God. I'm on it!

Can you see the sparkle?


Jena said...

Love this, Betsy. Taking up my cross or taking up my, profound. I need to think on this. Thank you!

Betsy Henning said...

Thank YOU, Jena, for leaving a comment. I always have second thoughts and come back to re-read. It's really nice to come back to an affirming comment. You are a sweetheart.

Mike said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Betsy! I love you!!! (and I too, LOVE the diamonds! Noticed they look even MORE sparkly in the glow of the mercury yard lite...) Yup, I'm in PA!!

Kristine Riddle said...

I love what you have said here, and I enjoyed the link to your friend's blog as well. Taking up my cross vs. taking up my cause -- I'll be praying and meditating on that thought, that's for certain.