at the beginning of this season, i thought the world was really just going bad. that in some exaggerated way, the human race was just sliding down, down, down. but i realize that is not the case, rather i am just seeing a bit deeper into our reality, the reality we've all lived in since that pesky snake convinced our oldest grandmother.
when jeremiah claims the heart is the most deceitful thing, he's absolutely right. we are capable of such malice and evil and manipulation, all in the name of our own glory and control. i have seen things recently from people whom I trusted and respected that horrify me...and then i realize, that could be me. in the middle of my criticism and anger, i realize that its not that particular person, its all of us! any one of us is susceptible to the slippery slope of personal gain, glory, pride, control, power. because in the end, that's the core of the issue...do i do what i want? or will i submit to what He wants?
every day we make choices that go one of those two ways. many people live quite comfortably choosing their way. i've certainly enjoyed my way. but in the end, my way will always end up crashing into someone else's way...and then we have a problem. and most of the time one or both are injured, hurt and betrayed.
but there is the beauty. we can choose His way. we can choose to obey Him...we were even made to walk in His way, being made in His image and likeness. but we were left with a choice...and many of us are poor decision makers.
i've been tempted to despair, to leave, to throw a fit in front of all these nasty things. but i am reminded that my fight is not against my fellow flesh and blood, but powers and principalities...that in the end, have already lost.
so we keep going, we keep hoping, we keep choosing and asking for guideance. and more importantly, we keep loving and we keep forgiving.
i want to tell you about E. he is a student that has come through a lot of family difficulties. he is so very angry, a boiling pot just waiting to overflow...at any moment, the actions or words of those around him echo the hateful things he hears at home and he reacts. we've been talking a lot about self-control, how we are reminded that He has given us a spirit of power, love and self-control...that He has given E this ability, but that he has to choose.
a couple days ago, i'm heating up my lunch when he comes flying into the doorway, sobbing. 'please let me call my mom, i'm leaving,' he screeched. 'i came to find you, i didn't hit, i didn't yell, i came to find you like you said, please let me call my mom.' of course, i wasn't about to let him call his mother, but i got him a chair and got him to take a moment. he promised to take a moment to calm himself down, and i gulped down my lunch hurriedly.
when i come back, he's calm and no longer crying. he tells me what has happened, and the amazing thing was we were able to go and talk to his classmate and he forgave him. he talked about how he knew he was mad, that he needed to calm down...that he was going to leave the school grounds, but changed his mind and came to find me.
i was just floored. His grace, coupled with our obedience, changes us...when we say yes to Him, when we choose to try to go His way, He just takes us all the way. E. is a work in progress...he will continue to have moments like this, and will continue to learn how to control himself. but there it is, reclaiming who he was made to be and not the person he is being persuaded to become. the courage of that 4th grader helps me remember that its possible.