This is what we ask ourselves when events like the recent crash of the German passenger plane happen. Or bombings at a marathon finish line. Or shootings at numerous schools. Or museums. Or places of worship.
We are faulty, we humans. But are we at fault? Can we help ourselves?
A pastor friend once remarked, the line between good and evil is drawn straight through every human heart. Yes, I feel this potential in me. Perhaps that’s why these atrocities hit “home.” Because I can see the possibility alive in me to do what I know I should not do, perhaps in a way that is permanently destructive. In this temptation toward evil, I must continuously choose good.
What if our mind is confused about which one is which? What if the truth is so veiled that all we see is evil and it is masquerading as good?
I am told — and the Bible says — that Jesus died to save me from my sin. That I can come near the One who is completely Good because the separation between us, the cleft of sin, has been banished. But what of my heart – the one I so very well know – that is part good and part evil? How can I turn from my own faulty choice to God’s will?
The truth is, anything that turns me away from the Absolute Good is evil for me. That turning is different for each of us, because different temptations beckon. Absent this awareness and I am the pilot. I am the bomber. I am the shooter.
While none of us alive today heard Jesus speak when He walked the earth, His death and risen life made way for the Spirit of Christ to open our ears to the divine command, “This is my Son whom I have chosen. Listen to Him!”
Lord, quiet the clamor which shouts you down and the internal chatter which drowns you out. Help me to listen closely and only to You. Amen.
27 years in a cell. A man found guilty, given time to consider, in silence. His circumstances insisted he “search realistically and regularly the processes of (his) own mind and feelings.”
What if we were sentenced to hard labor on the rock pile of life? With only ourselves and our fellow laborers for company. What then?
Would we find things of the spirit? Things gone missing or perhaps just dust-covered, having been set aside. Maybe they’ve been shelved or filed having been “sufficiently accomplished” thus not warranting further attention. Let’s press on to important matters, our soul seems to say.
But that voice…do I know it? Is it MY soul speaking?
What if we took the earphones out and let our own thoughts rattle through our heads as we went running, lifting, riding, driving? What harvest would the silence bring? Are we afraid to have our own thoughts for company?
Is it better to pay them no mind? Drown them out in the noise?
Keeping silent is very, very hard labor. Almost makes 27 years on the rock pile look easy, even a gift.
I’ve just returned from time away at a place that is full of beauty. I’ve been there before, but it was not full of last year’s beauty. It was newly lovely. In fact, daily lovely. Each day, it was filled with a new beautiful. A new personality.
It felt effortless to run around this lake. Perhaps because I took my camera, ready to stop for a photo. Beauty does that. It stops you. Gets your attention. Insists you tarry for a while. I even let that guy with the knee brace on one knee pass me (several times). He was going places. I was meandering.
And so it was. I ambled along the path, jogging, stopping, walking, looking. I even threw in a bit of note-taking in my phone’s notebook app. Because beauty does that. It inspires ideas and notions. It puts them together in a way that is new and lovely and clear. And worth sharing. Perhaps blogging.
One notion said, “Run the lake, but walk the bridges.”
So I ran. And as I approached the bridge over the dam, two walkers noticed my approach and moved to the right to let me pass.
“I don’t usually think of myself as a fast lane kind of person,” I called on the way by.
“Today is your day! Revel in the glory!”
And for a moment it was okay to do just that. Perhaps even for a whole day. Tomorrow will be new. And newly beautiful.
Funny how people tell you to “just be still.” My mind is never more stilled on God than when I am moving. Perhaps God runs along or within. Revs up the Him in me.
Traditional stillness is way too distracting for me.