Monday, April 26, 2010

finding out what someone is really like

Have you ever caught yourself being surprised, maybe shocked by discovering what someone is really like? More often than not this occurs when someone has done a very wrong or quite unpleasant act or says an awful thing. He does X which is bad, and we conclude that X exposes a dark underlying flaw which defines the true nature of the person.

Christians should not be surprised at others, or ourselves for that matter, doing some awful thing. It is after all just revealing our sinful nature or natural inclinations of our Adamic nature. But surprised we are.

The problem I think is not that we are surprised but the interpretation we make of the surprise. What does it mean? To expose who we really are? Doesn't this imply there some underlying reality that is the true self? Does all the good stuff we do just mask the true self?

Frankly, if that is the case I'd rather not find out. It is bad enough that the longer and better you know someone, the more garbage you find out about them. Sure you can find out more good things, but the discovery process seems to be biased toward finding garbage.

Someone, I forgot who, once said something to the effect that if you want to find a little gold you have to dig through tons of dirt. Well I'm not sure that is worth the effort. At least it seems to me like a small payoff for a lot of effort, unpleasant effort at that.

What is the reality? The tons of dirt or the small amounts of gold?

That is likely the type of question about which semi-drunk sophomores can have long, deep late-night discussions. As for me, I'm not interested this debate because I think I have the answer:

Neither.

Maybe, just maybe, we Christians ought to take God's view? While I usually do not have problems finding fault with a person, the Lord seems to have a different take. When I bother to check with Him, He is not interested in the past and not even too concerned with the present. He seems to view a person as He intends him or her to be, as the person is designed to be, and as He desires for them to be, rather than care about the how sin and circumstance has made one a distorted caricature of God's design.

Actually, the Lord just might be on to something here. It is much healthier to focus on God's ultimate vision, His truth, than on the temporary distortion of the past or present. I am not advocating denial of reality but rather focusing on results rather than temporary conditions.

I don't really want to find out people's secret garbage. This is also not denial. I've seen enough garbage and it no longer holds any fascination for me. In a similar way, I have no interest in examining a toilet after someone has used it and before it has been flushed.

We think we have brilliant insights into the truth when from God's perspective we are believing a distorted picture of the truth.

Let's see things as God sees them. Maybe this is an application of the instructions of Philippines 4:8?

Be blessed!
RB

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! Glad to read your blog, very helpful for everyday life.

Jennifer Bristol