Thursday, January 02, 2014

Feeling Good About Being Uncomfortable

For the most part, I am at a pretty comfortable place in life. My career as an air traffic controller continues to provide for a good living and is winding down to the point of providing a good retirement. The kids are grown and doing well with Aaron and Jenny getting ready to buy their first home and Hannah getting ready to start her final semester of school.

Chris and I are considering our plans for future housing--stay where we are and remodel or buy something else (and still remodel!).

I am pleased with my decision to pass on the supervisor bid at work. That's a discomfort that I don't need. However, I do find some other areas of discomfort to be healthy in that they serve to motivate me to do something positive. As often as I rant about things that trouble me (politics, religion, social issues, stupid people, etc.), most of the time I manage to keep things to myself. (Really. I do!)

I'm probably going to do a little more venting in 2014. I doubt that I reach the level of offensive venting that I've reached in the past, but it will be more than in 2013 and with (hopefully) a little more tact and diplomacy than in the past.
I once heard that diplomacy is the ability to tell somebody to go to hell in such a way that they'll look forward to the trip! In my case, I hope to give them a more accurate picture of where they are heading so that they'll want to avoid that destination. And I hope to do that in such a way that they'll listen to a reasonable view of life, death and what lies beyond.

As an example of one of the things that disturbs me, I present this letter that was posted by Franklin Graham in regards to the Duck Dynasty debacle of 2013. In it, the Rev. Graham says, "God is not 'politically correct' and He is certainly not tolerant of sin. The Bible tells us that He is going to judge all sin one day; and anyone who is not found under the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, will face an eternity in hell separated from God."

I completely agree with this statement. What I don't agree with is this: When we talk about sinful behaviors to people that are without Jesus, it is an unfair expectation to think that they will be convicted of their guilt. At some point, we are going to have to trust the Holy Spirit of God to do that job. Our job is to tell them about the saving grace of Jesus. If God is going to judge all sin (and He is), then we will also be judged. If we are trusting in the grace of God found through faith in Jesus, that will be the only thing that separates us from those that are without Jesus and the only thing that will save us from eternity in hell.

If we needed to stop sinning to get into heaven, then I could see telling everybody about the sinful behaviors that offend God and that they need to stop doing. But let's face it--even if they (or we) stop all of their sinning right now and live completely sinless lives from this point on, it won't be enough to cleanse the past. If Jesus is the only way, why are we harping on their sin rather than telling them about God's grace? With Jesus in their hearts and the Holy Spirit to guide them, then we can offer them wisdom on how followers of Jesus are to behave. We can't fix the problem of sinful behavior without changing their hearts and we can't change their hearts--only God can do that. Our job is not to judge them nor to condemn them. Jesus tells us the we are already condemned. That's why He came to save us--and them!

Our job, as followers of Jesus, is to tell them about Jesus and to live lives that reflect His goodness and grace. We are not doing a very good job of it.

So today I am going to be thankful for the discomfort that motivates me to speak up. I am going to pray for wisdom and grace that I might share the truth in a way that will draw people to Jesus rather that drive them away. Though I am not skilled at debate and am an amateur apologist at best, I will gladly talk with anybody that has questions about life, death and life after death. It may be uncomfortable, but that's okay.

John <><

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good post, John. Sin is sin. It doesn't matter who sins or what the sin is. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Let's let folks know of God's grace and unconditional love poured out at Calvary.