Sunday, November 25, 2007

Let's Just Be Nice

Here is one of the things that sticks in my craw big time. What a farce hearing of how others who basically suffered a minor speed bump in their life and then, like a cat dropped from a second story window, simply landed right side up, on its feet once again. There are those who, in my opinion, had everything working for them as unbelievers, people with what I call had a predisposition toward 'niceness’, and then Jesus, as an afterthought, was just one more award ribbon Velcro-ed to an already great and exemplary life. That's what I mean when I say I have no tolerance for those who do not have to trust Him to BE their future now, let alone tomorrow. For example, if Jesus doesn’t work out for these folk, they still have all their stocks and bonds and retirement savings in the bank as a back-up. I wonder if that adage which goes something like, 'burn all of your bridges behind you', might be very much to the point here? Isn’t this akin to Jesus criticizing those who ‘gave out of their abundance’ while singling out, as an example, the widow woman who ‘gave out of her need’ – and consequently gave her all?

Also while I'm wondering here, i personally think we're drowning in a toxic stew of “niceness”. Let’s imagine for a minute that when Jesus was asked, 'Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” that we put a spin on that word 'good' and change it to 'nice'. Of course this might fly in the face of those who actually believe they are nice, but put it in the context of Jesus saying, 'Why do you call me nice, for no one is ‘nice’, not even God! To be ‘nice’ is hypocrisy! I have a friend who says that ‘nice’ is a political term. NO ONE IS NICE!!!

Without Christ, we are all worse than crap (pardon the language – substitute the biblical ‘dung’ if you prefer). We are without hope. We are utterly depraved! Yet, I see Christians walking around pretending to be nice when in actuality they are seething on the inside! They think they HAVE to act nice by virtue of the fact that they are believers…yet on the inside they are walking powder kegs. These are the type of people who ‘go postal’! They end up either imploding or exploding simply because OUT OF THEIR OWN EFFORTS they try to be ‘nice’ in adverse situations and circumstances that make them feel otherwise. Inwardly, they are full of rage. These are the folk who end up with stress-induced heart attacks, because they are trying to do the Christian thing... without Christ!

Let’s give an example: a husband makes the bed, does the laundry, makes dinner, etc. etc. because he feels an inward prompting from the Lord to be a blessing to his wife. Isn't he, like her, not tired and frustrated after a long day at work? But he does it all anyway. He does it purely for the Lord. He denies his ‘self’. He uses ‘self’ control, and by that I mean he controls self. He puts ‘self’ under his feet so that Christ can prevail in his life. Let’s add to this scenario. Let’s say the husband never gets any thanks or appreciation from his wife for all he does. Self would have him say, ‘Screw you! YOU serve ME! I’m the man of this house! Don’t you think I get tired too? I’m hungry! Feed me!’ Yet he doesn’t. Even though he may feel unappreciated and angry…he denies his own wants and needs in order to be Christ to his wife. He knows within himself he doesn’t have what it takes. He knows that often he doesn’t have a fat bank account of warm feelings toward his wife. He isn’t drawing from his abundance. He knows that the ONLY reason he can continue to bless his unappreciative wife is because of Christ in him, the hope of glory, and the more he subdues his own flesh and in the process allows his mind to be transformed, the more the life of Christ is evident to all around him. See the difference?

Shoot, let’s do a little detoxing (give it a year or so) now that we're outside of the 'box', let’s learn the whole new in-Christ lingo, and bang, we're off to the races! Nope! I don't think so, friends. Christ is not an add-on to our already nice selves. I honestly think that some folk hit a speed bump somewhere along the road, in panic turn to Christ, then continue along their very well-paved and manicured nice life-lanes.

Maybe this hidden, but ever present under-tow of nice self-reliance is a hideous entity that works seemingly wonderfully outside or inside of religion? Maybe this transformation of Christ in us, AS US, is far more than simply us hitting a speed bump and being momentarily inconvenienced? Maybe it’s a lot more like this, quoting a fellow sojourner: “Because of this man Christ Jesus I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS”.


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