Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Left in the Wake

 photo wakebysenaca77_sm.jpg

I saw a "joke" this week that went something along the lines of "it's been a good week--I made it to Friday, haven't needed bail money and didn't need to hide any bodies." We all laugh because we have had weeks of just hanging on and not letting our emotions fly--much.  Humour strikes a chord because it hits close to home. Maybe too close to home.

I got to wondering--at the end of that kind of week have we(I) really not left anything to hide?  Have any of my words wounded or slayed those around me, most often my children, leaving souls dying in the wake?  Jesus said,

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."
Matthew 5:21-22
How easy is it by word and action to show our contempt for others, or to make them feel or look like a fool, all for the sake of being right? Leaving souls in the wake of frustration or anger?

Or maybe it is my indifference that leaves the figurative bodies to hide. I am not necessarily speaking of the large-scale issues of our days that can leave us bewildered and unsure of how to help. Those issues can and do great harm, but deserve a more fitting discussion.  No, I'm talking about the local issues that I may not even notice. The homeless man I walk by without even seeing. The lonely neighbour with whom I don't stop and have a short chat, who is desperate for someone to say hello. The hurting teenager that doesn't seem to have anyone to notice she is slipping into depression or harmful behaviour that I could invest some of my time in getting to know. The mom on her own who needs to hear me say that I don't have it all together but I trust Jesus to help me cope, but I don't say it. There is a wake of hurting people left in my hurried life and indifference. And I am too numb to see it?

 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  Matthew 25:42-44 
My small group has been studying Jerry Bridge's book Respectable Sins. One of his premises is that the basis of many of the sins that we justify in our lives (impatience, sinful words, anger, jealousy) are not based in pride but in ungodliness. He defines ungodliness as "living one's everyday life with little or no thought of God, or God's will, or of God's glory, or of one's dependence on God." (p54) How guilty I am of this! I go through my day, with its ups and its downs, and work to solve all my problems in my own strength and ability. It is not that I don't think that God cares or is capable of involving himself in my daily life--I just forget. I forget to involve him. I forget to ask him to step in. I forget to talk to him before I speak sharply words I'll later regret. I forget to see the world as he sees it instead of through my busy tunnel vision. I forget.

I no longer laugh at the joke. I know that there are 'bodies' left behind by my words and deeds. They don't need to be 'hid' but they need to be restored. I need to apologise, and repent of angry words. I need to notice needs. I need to allow God's godliness to direct me. I don't want to be indifferent to the power a small word or deed can hold.

Father forgive me. I forget you. I forget my dependence on you. I forget to give you glory for the things in my life. I take control. And when I take control, I mess things up. I say harsh words that hurt the people I love. I miss opportunities to share you with hurting people. I leave souls maimed behind me and don't even notice. Help me notice. Help me apologize. Forgive my indifference. Amen.
photo uploaded from www.morguefile.com in 2011. Attributed to senaca77

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