Pre-Moving Thoughts

God’s victory means our defeat, means our humiliation; it means God’s mocking anger at all human arrogance, being puffed up, trying to be important in our own right. It means reducing the world and its clamor to silence; it means the crossing through of all our ideas and plans, it means the Cross. The Cross above the World. It means that man, even the noblest, must, whether he likes it or not, fall in the dust and with him all the gods and idols and lords of this world. The Cross of Jesus Christ, that means the bitter scorn of God in all human depths, the rule of God over the whole world.
The people came to victorious Gideon; it is the final clamor and the final temptation: ‘rule thou over us!’ But Gideon does not forget his history or the history of his nation… ‘God shall rule over you, and you shall have no other Lord.’ At these words the altars of the gods and the idols are cast down, all worship of man is cast down, all apotheosis of man by himself, they are judged, condemned, crossed out, they are all crucified and flung down into the dust by him who alone is Lord. And beside us kneels Gideon, the man who has been brought to faith out of the midst of fears and doubts, kneels before the altar of the one God, and with us Gideon prays: ‘Lord on the Cross, be thou alone our Lord. Amen.’ – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1933

I was sitting alone in Panera bread around 7:30 AM when I read this.  I had left the house an hour before to have study time.  In this tortuous storm of moving, I needed the quiet.  The morning air, the grogginess, even the cheap, bad tasting caramel latte. But it was all worth it.  This time was spent writing a letter to a dear friend, studying the Bible, and reading Bonhoeffer’s biography.  I knew I needed to wake up early this morning, even though it will be the first of two of the busiest days of this year.  Not to run away from what needed to be done, but to grab some time and in it, revert into peace and calm and good cheer.
I’ll be leaving the home I’ve lived in for ten years, and the area that I’ve lived my whole life in.  But strangely, I don’t feel nostalgic or anything.  I feel excited, eager, ready for a challenge and ready for an opportunity to embrace my challenge.  “But for those who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” – Malachi 4:2.  I feel like those fresh cows now, leaping with the vitality of life.  I was particularly encouraged by that passage of Bonhoeffer’s sermon up there.  To just be reminded: “It’s not about you.  Nothing is about you.  It’s all about God.  He is not only the reason everything is here, but the reason that everything is happening, and to him belongs the glory,” is not only convicting, but a great relief.  To keep things God-focused is hard at first, but after awhile, it becomes joy and relief.  To know that my sinful human self will not conquer.  It won’t conquer in the short run or in the long run.  I have given myself up to God once, but I do it again over and over, every day.  To say, Lord, lead us, guide us, be our God and our one Lord.   I have been encouraged to know that my strength is crushed, and that I must depend entirely upon God.  Even this knowledge strengthens me.
I will miss things about this house (mainly all the built in bookshelves) but it is amazing to me to see how at first I didn’t want to move, and now, because it is God’s will, he has brought my mind and my heart about face, and has confronted me, and graciously made me ready.

Another thing, before I close.  I was reading about Gideon today in Judges, and I noticed that when he’s getting ready to go down and defeat the Midianites & Amalekites, God commands him to go at once, but then says: “But if you are too afraid… go down to the camp tonight and listen to what they say.”  He knows Gideon’s weaknesses, and takes care of him.  He knows my weaknesses, and is compassionate and kind as he takes care of me and guides me.  He will do the same for you, if you trust in him.

Now, I tell myself, more than ever, seize the day!

P.S. If you haven’t noticed, please read the text below the header (Carpe Diem.)  It used to be a quote by C.S. Lewis— “Reason is the natural order of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning”—but I changed it to something more fitting for the purpose of this blog.

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Love Revolution

Youth is the time for ideals.  Adulthood is the time to achieve those ideals.  It’s what the stages of life are about, it’s what we live for, these ideals.  Each person changes the world, because the world cannot stay the same. We can’t help having ideals, we can only guide them.

One of the greatest ideals is love.  Real love, the love that everyone seeks for and few find because they look for it in the wrong places.  What kind of love is the ideal? Divine love or earthly love?

Unlike divine love, earthly love does not have the power, the knowledge, or the will to achieve what it longs for. (Wendell Berry)

What we long for is the love that can achieve what it longs for: the love that will satisfy, divine love.  Though we don’t often know it, we are consumed by a desire to be completed, and this desire, some find too late, does not come from our physical being but from our soul.

The sober person lives deeply. His pleasures are not primarily those of the senses, like the pleasures of the drunkard, for instance, but those of the soul. He is by no means a stoic, on the contrary, with a full measure of joyful anticipation he looks forward to the return of the Lord but he doesn’t run away from his task. – William Hendrickson

Imagine a love that is founded in respect, that contains gratitude and humility, that takes its chief delight in sacrifice in order to serve.

Maybe I always saw the past as beautiful because it was fleeting.  As the future met me, it passed, and became the past, and was beautiful.  I had an aversion to change, and it seemed like everyone was changing, breaking out and flying away.  I didn’t see myself as changing, but others must have thought so, because I was caught up in the change of those closest to me, and it was their change that changed me.

The only changeful thing I did was to get married, and even that had been predicted.  Clyde was sick, had been crippled from birth.  I had known him since I was born, and when I was a girl I used to go and read to him, or amuse him.  He liked that, though he was six years older, and I liked to make him laugh.  He became a natural part of my life, and I never wanted anything more than to take care of him.

When we were still children, he asked me if I would up and leave the town someday. I told him no, because then he couldn’t come with me.  Later when I promised to marry him, he was hesitant to tie me down.  I told him I would make the same commitment if he was well or sick, but I liked it best when I could take care of him.

We live quietly, others come and go.  My heart aches with all this change, because it doesn’t happen quietly.  They are caught up in an external change.  They don’t know what it is to care for someone so as to sacrifice your life to their service, they don’t know what it is to do so joyfully.  They missed the inner change in their rush, the quiet, the sublime.

The above was a story I wrote when I was thinking deeply about this idea of real love.   I thought about how it is founded in sacrifice, I thought about how my heart beats and how my life is sustained by the breath of life, but how my soul is saved and redeemed by a sacrifice, and so, by love.

If we could have this love!  If we could only love each other in the way love was meant to be demonstrated!  We cheapen it, we make it less than it’s worth, and you see it rampant in the culture and even, sadly, in the Church.  It is more than a feeling; love is your soul, your existence.

Why is it that the hero who gives up his life or himself for love inspires us?  We admire those Sydney Cartons and those Cyrano de Bergeracs, and yet we throw our love away, or we throw away the feeling that might have, with effort and work, deepened into an actual reality.

Love cannot be restored.  How can it be restored if it can never be taken away? It is fixed—real love is.  If you stopped loving someone you never truly loved them.  Love never ends, it is always there, always present, always with us, in us, around us.  It is either our failure to see, or our misuse of love that makes us believe it is a sham.  The word sham reminds me of a quote.

Sham love ends in compromise and common philosophy; but real love has always ended in bloodshed. – Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton)

Chesterton also says that because love desires personality it desires division.

It is the instinct of Christianity to be glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces. It is her instinct to say “little children love one another” rather than to tell one large person to love himself.

Love was meant to be given away, not with-held.  But there is a difference between emotional love and soul-love, just as there is a difference between sibling love and marital love, though the parallel is different.  Soul-love, the real love, cannot be hurt or offended in the way emotional love can be.  It is constant, and cannot be quenched.  It can only be given, like a sacrifice.  It delights in returned love, but does not require it.  Emotional love that is rejected, whether by just any person or by a prospect for marriage, will always tear the heart down. I’m not saying emotional love is bad.  The emotions must be contained within soul-love, but emotional love should not exist as its own entity.

Do you know how the Christian old-maid can be perfectly content?  Because she is already loved with real love, and she is preparing for the day when she can return that love perfectly.  She will go through phases of discontent, but will always find her tranquility and peace in something deeper.  For when the mind and soul are truly committed, the senses can be controlled.

I admire such a woman, and I would be like her if I could.  Even if I get married, I want to be like this before marriage, for I would learn how to love the true Object, Christ, and be fulfilled.  1 Corinthians 13 is a wonderful passage, but isn’t paid attention to as it ought to be.  It describes love as the essence of life, basically.   It describes it as being patient, self-sacrificial, never-ending, able to endure the stormiest weather.   Love can bear all things, yet it is tender, it is strong, yet kind, it is not arrogant or rude, but it is truthful, desires truth, and rejoices with the truth.

Death and love are seldom thought of together in a proper sense.  I have two friends, the first friend told me: “You get annoyed with love and fascinated by death.”  And it’s true.  I get annoyed with the meaningless expression and feeling that people call love.  The second friend told me: “The funny thing is that death and love are intertwined.  Without love, death is hopeless.”  They are so connected with each other, because love pushes for death that it might attain the perfect love, that it might finally reach its object.  Also, because the ultimate death occurred by and through love.  Christ died for us because he loved us, was willing to suffer infinite humiliation and death because he cares for us.

I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are at once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven.  Seeing themselves in that light, if they are willing, they see how far they have failed the only justice of loving one another; it punishes them by their own judgment. And yet, in suffering that light’s awful clarity, in seeing themselves within it, they see its forgiveness and its beauty, and are consoled.  In it they are loved completely, even as they have been, and so are changed into what they could not have been but what, if they could have imagined it, they would have wished to be. – A World Lost (Wendell Berry)

The love described there was the kind of love that achieved what it longed for.  It was a love not created by us but developed in us, and realized by death and rebirth.

If the purpose of marriage was love (not real love) then the divorce rate would be 99.9%.  The .1% is for the couples who actually stayed “in love” for the whole of their married lives.  Thankfully, marriage is not about love.  It is a commitment with divine sanctioning, that aims at deeper ends than for the participants to be near each other for the rest of their lives.  I realize I’ve never been married and have no right to speak in depth about this, but I have to say this.  There is work in marriage I think, hard work, and if it is the right kind it results in satisfaction.  If we could try to pursue real love then we would find that we could really be satisfied.  For to me, marriage is partly a joint-effort, not to find love for each other, but to pursue real love and to reach the Object of that real love.

It is a zeal tempered with prudence, softened with meekness, soberly aiming at great ends by the gradual operation of well adapted means, supported by a courage which no danger can intimidate, and a quiet constancy which no hardships can exhaust. – A Practical View of Christianity (William Wilberforce)

This is a description of the Christian’s zeal in the Church.  I imagine that love is the exact same.  Yet listen to what he says about the Affections within a Christian.

Of the two most celebrated systems of philosophy, the one expressly confirmed the usurpation of the passions; while the other, despairing of being able to regulate, saw nothing left but to extinguish them. The former acted like a weak government, which gives independence to a rebellious province, which it cannot reduce.  The latter formed its bloated scheme merely upon the plan of that barbarous policy, which composes the troubles of a turbulent land by the extermination of its inhabitants.  This is the calm, not of order, but of inaction; it is not the tranquillity, but the stillness of death. (To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and call it a peace. – Tacitus.) – A Practical View of Christianity  (William Wilberforce)

I’m not proposing stoicism at all.  I think that passion is an important part of love, but I believe most fervently that it is not love.  It can be its own entity, but when separated from Love, it becomes a beast, and makes animals of us all.

Love does not concern itself with advantages.  It is not competitive.  It allows us to confront in kindness, but it has nothing to do with self-pride.  It allows us to live in humility.

We need a love revolution.  And a revolution takes work.  When looking for a husband or wife, the first person to catch your eye is not always the right one.  (“Less vividly is the mind stirred by what finds entrance through the ears than by what is brought before the trusty eyes. . . ” – Horace)  Don’t listen to your heart, which is and has proved to be deceitful above all things, but listen to the principles that are firmly grounded within you.  Why should we forsake all our work?  The woman preparing to be a spinster loses nothing in all her work when she unexpectedly gets a husband.  She has someone to work alongside now, a further encouragement, another object for the love she’s seeking to imitate.

I have been convicted about love.  Adulthood is the time to carry out and pursue ideals, and I am entering on that stage.  This is the one pursuit that will not disappoint.  How can it, when it is founded in Christ?  It is done for him, and for him alone.  He is the only Object.  He has brought me into the world in his providence, he will take me out, he will greet me in death, he is sanctifying and will finally perfect me.  He is the solid foundation, the aim I’m working towards.  He is love, and I pray for his love to flow through me, so that I become wrapped in it, enamored with it, so that it is in me and through me, so that it becomes my very being.

Who is Like Him?

Blessed be God…

That is all I can say.  He has blessed me so richly, in everything I have right now, everything around me.  You find me writing in the middle of a moment, a moment that will last for awhile but not forever.  It is a golden moment, and I am wrapped in it.  Everything, right here, right now, is beautiful.  And it won’t be the same way again.  Perhaps it will be better!  But there will be something sad in the fact that it won’t be the same.

I am a dreamer by nature.  And sometimes God blesses us so richly, that it goes beyond everything we’ve dreamed.

I have found so much love, that is the most important thing.  I have felt cared for, protected, helped.  I have felt friendship, and immeasurable kindness has been shown to me.  God has blessed me with beautiful sisters, strong brothers, wise parents.  Our family members, the ones at home and the ones married, are knit together closely.  We have been bound together closely, through grief and through joy.

I have been reading, as always.  Yesterday I finished “Hannah Coulter” by Wendell Berry.  My definitions of love, gratefulness, family, grief, and hope were all redefined.

“Love held us. Kindness held us. We were suffering what we were living by.
I began to know my story then. Like everybody’s, it was going to be the story of living in the absence of the dead. What is the thread that holds it all together? Grief, I thought for awhile. And grief is there sure enough, just about all the way through. From the time I was a girl I have never been far from it. But grief is not a force and has no power to hold. You only bear it. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”

This passage changed the way I thought.  Grief is not a force and has no power to hold.  Love is what carries you.  It burned into my mind, and the first time I read it I knew its importance.  Too often we think ourselves in bondage to suffering.  But we are not.  We are in love, we are in grace, we are in mercy.  True, we live in an estate of sin and misery right now, but we have a Hope, and a blessed assurance.  This pushes us on towards the end, and all that is bright in us spreads all over, until we are fully sanctified.

Grief has no power to hold. Even now, in the absence of grief, I am comforted by it, when I don’t have any reason to be.  But when grief does come, I will remember it.  I will look for love.  It will always be there, for God’s love is sufficient to satisfy my very soul.

I will pray.  I will pray fervently, and I will try to pray without ceasing.  I will try to be good, and sensitive, and willing, and loving, and kind.  I will try to be humble, and joyful, and zealous.  I will try to be faithful in everything I do, diligent to the utmost, and persevering.

These are qualities that will not grow old.

And who is like God? Who is like Him who comforts, loves, reproves, guides, leads, encourages, disciplines, saves?  There is no one.  At the end of everything, it is only Him.  He is the first and the last, eternal, unchangeable.  In this rock I have put my hope, and my faith.  And this anchor will hold, though the storm is strong.

There is no one like my God.

The Half-Thought

I experienced something the other night and I said to myself: “There! that would make for a wonderful blog post.”  And now the thought is gone, and I can’t remember what it was that I was going to say.

Life is half-filled with these half-thoughts, and their completion is lost somewhere on a ribbon that stretches on and on in my mind.

How can I reach that infinite space?  How can I touch the substance of something so far away? How can I be effective?

How can I leave my little throne of Self, where I am protected, and how can I stretch beyond the confines of my little world to try and reach the lives of those outside?

I forget that there are people who crave completion, like the half-thought in my head.  I forget that there are people who inwardly starve themselves for something that they can’t find.  And I forget that I am supposed to give them an idea.

All I see is the result of their deep thinking.  All I see is where they’ve gone wrong, and think it’s such a shame.  All I see is what they don’t have, what it is they’re missing.  What I don’t see is how I might help them.

But how might I help them?

This is the question of my life right now.  I am a writer, and I could write books.  But what’s the use in writing books to try and reach the wandering souls if only Christians read them? And yet, how can I tell that that’s how it will be? How can I know that maybe a word, a sentence, or a thought will drive deeply into someone’s brain, causing them to think?

How can I know how God is using me?

“Every step that you take, could be your biggest mistake

It could bend or it could break, but that’s the risk that you take.” – Coldplay

Do I stop walking? Will I let the fear of messing up drive my feet into the ground like nails, and keep me at a standstill, reaching, but never gaining?  What if a piece of truth escapes on that endless ribbon, and I mess up people’s lives?  Am I adequate?

But if I wait till I am adequate, nothing will ever get accomplished.

I am only a sinner—a saved one, but still, a sinner—releasing the love inside of me to other sinners like me.  Because there is love inside of me, and there is a desire, a yearning for the hungry souls that I’ve never met.

I want to know them, and I want to help them. I want them to know what I know and more.  I want to be a tool for the salvation of this world I love and hate so much.

“‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'”.  – Frodo Baggins

I want the people living in misery to know the joy of Christ.  I want them to know his love, to accept it.  I want them to have the faith that I have in Christ.  I want them to be comforted in affliction; I want them to have a reason to hope.

And I want Christ to use me.

So the end of this matter is simply this: To walk by faith, not by sight.  To rely only on God.  To look beyond my desires and ambitions to see the greater purpose, the much more important road.  To not stay still or be silent, but be diligent in the proclamation of my faith.

I do not want to state my faith here and then hope that it reaches some people.  That is not enough.  A proclamation is not enough.  A pursuit is needed, a constant active awareness of someone’s state, a love, a gentleness for that person.  Faith is not something to hammer over someone’s head.

So I must be humble, and I must be reliant on God; lowly, as it were, and yet proud.  Never assuming or unapproachable, never judgmental.  Only loving, only kind, only gentle.   And if I can do nothing else, if no other road is presented, to pray fervently and steadily for those who are seeking but not finding, and craving but left unsatisfied.

Let me be a light, or a word, however small, that is effective, so that the half-thoughts are completed, so that the joy is infinite, and the love almost unbearable.  So that what is lost may be found, and what is lacking be given.  Only Christ can do this, but let me be an instrument, for it is He who works in me.

Winter Clarity

My head has been so full of thoughts and ideas, but they get mixed up, and I feel like each one of them is a snowflake in a huge storm: single, disconnected, and then mixed as soon as they settle.  It reminds me of a line from a Mumford and Sons song:

“I stand alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind.”

A few weeks ago we were eating dinner.  A natural occurrence, and one that happens frequently in our family.  I’ve been reading through Ezekiel, and the conversation around the dinner table was about the detail that was given, by God, for the building of the temple, the allotment of lands, the portions of foods, the sacrifices, etc.  Every square inch was taken care of.  My father wondered, in the most respectful way, why it mattered?  It must signify something important.  I looked down at my food, at the faces around the table, and I laughed.  The circumstance was absurd.

If God were human, we would have said that he took great pains to lay down instructions for the building of the temple.  It probably wasn’t any trouble for him, but he was very particular about it.  The temple was the most important building on earth.  Men spent such great pain and labor building this thing.  It was advancing the kingdom of God, it was fulfilling a decree, it was obeying a command.  Here was a great and wonderful thing happening in the world—it has already happened, and we should not forget it—and here we are, eating dinner.  I didn’t necessarily want to eat, but I needed to.  If I didn’t eat continually, I would die.

I was convinced of my dependence, then.  And not only of mine, but of everybody’s. And I felt minuscule and absurd.

I think I am so proud, that I am the most independent of all the creatures.  And yet, take away the food, the water, the will to live, or the breath of God and I am nothing.  My body is like a machine, and if the battery dies there is no recharging, there is no going back.  It would be so easy to lose my physical life, impossible to regain it on my own.

There have been famines, there have been droughts, there have been oppressive leaders, there have been huge memorials built for great men.

A workman chisels away at the stone for a man he didn’t know, who is now dead and cold.  He is employed by the living, to do something for the dead, so that he may not die from hunger.  Perhaps when he is done with his work he slings his tools over his shoulder and picks his way through dark streets to his home.  Perhaps he has a family, perhaps he lives alone; and once, he covered his face with his hands and wept for something he could not find.  What he made is remembered, but when he is dead, a small stone lies at his head, and people wonder who he might have been, and they don’t know the life he led.

How ironic our life is.

Suddenly everything I have strove for and against, everything I wanted, everything I wept for—it all shrinks back and reveals only me: selfish; using my own means to accomplish my own ends; frivolous.  There are people fighting and dying for my country—for me.  And sometimes I forget that there’s a war; I forget that I am being protected at the price of a life.  I become impatient or unfeeling, and somewhere a young sister is grieving for her brother, who fought and died for us.

The winter becomes so bitter and so cold.  The stark whiteness of the snow blares out any color: it all becomes one.  The world is united under an seeming eternity of white, only broken by the red flare of a cardinals’ wings.  My one clear thought is like that cardinal on the ever-stretching surface of mixed thoughts and ideas.

It is not wrong to be happy; it is not wrong to be sad.  If I sing and dance I cannot be blamed, and if I weep and mourn I cannot be condemned.   There is a greater purpose, a greater meaning in life than leaving my mark upon the world.  It is as particular as the temple, as big, and even more holy.  In the midst of this life I forget that purpose; my tears become selfish, my laugh seeks to banish the doubt in my mind.  I cannot lose sight of the purpose as bright as the cardinal.  I cannot forget about it: it must take up my whole mind, for it demands all my attention, and it is so huge.

And leaving out all worldly pursuits—the dream of being a famous writer or pianist, or any smaller dreams—what is left?  What do I settle my ambition upon?

Christ is as pure and wide as the snow, his blood as striking as the cardinal.  His purpose was deeper than I can ever know, but it was clear and distinct.  No matter what my character, my personality, my position—my purpose will be the same: to pursue holiness.  To become one with Christ.  To spread His Word like a snowstorm, so that all the world lies enthralled in it.

This is my winter clarity.  I must forget about myself.  I must even forget my existence, and I must live only for Christ.  I must be so entwined in his purpose that apart from him I have no inspiration, no ambition, nothing to pursue.

“There’ll come a time you’ll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see what you find there
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”
(Mumford and Sons, After the Storm)

And I know that afterwords I will see how much grace I was given, how my heart will finally be free to love Christ fully, how worthy He was of all the pain and suffering I endured for his sake, and how undeserving I am of him, but yet, how much he loves me.  This is the most important thing of all; and if I die forgotten by the world, I die running into the arms of my King.

“Forget, but not forgive…”

I know I’ve heard the saying many times—”Forgive and forget.”  But recently I’ve had reason to think about it.  In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul talks about love, and in one of the verses he mention that “love keeps no record of wrong.”  As Christians we’re called to be discerning, yet not judgmental.  It gets hard – really hard, especially with best friends or new friends, or younger siblings.

Imagine someone who has done you a wrong.  It takes humbleness to forgive that person.  Sometimes we forget the wrong, but we’ve never really forgiven the person.  Or we might’ve said: “Aw, it’s okay” when really it hurt us deeply, and only passed it by with that because we did not want to acknowledge the hurt, and forgive the person. It’s a pride on our part.  We want to think of ourselves as being Spartan-like.  Nothing much affects us.

But what good is that?

“Oh what good is it to live, with nothing left to give

Forget but not forgive?”

(Swallowed in the Sea – Coldplay)

It requires humility and humbleness to forgive, just as much as it takes to ask for forgiveness.  Why is it sometimes harder to forgive than to ask for forgiveness?  Having to forgive means a full recognition of the wrong done to you, but it’s also a promise to regard that wrong as something never done, and to go on being good friends with that person as though nothing had happened, and viewing them as a better friend in spite of it all.  That’s hard, because it requires a breaking down of pride, and a continual treading on pride.  And pride has feelings, so it’s not like it won’t hurt for awhile.

In the Church particularly I think it is a temptation to carry grudges, and of all places that should be the one where no grudges should be borne!  Consider – these, your brothers and sisters in Christ, will be with you in eternity.  How then can you not wish to be the best of friends with them on earth? We should be seeking, no matter what, to have the best friendships possible with these.  But how can you justify this the fact that many people in the church don’t know each other – and are hardly friends, and that still others that are good friends, yet perhaps one makes a mistake and suddenly a friendship is severed.  Must we, as we grow older, be so unlike children as to be slow to make friends?  Little children often jump at the chance to make a friendship, and retaining that child-like innocence, most times retain their friends.  Why can’t we be like this with our brothers and sisters in the church?  No matter personality differences – we have one thing in common which should bind us together… which is that we have been saved in Christ, and that we are all sinners redeemed by his blood, and that we have one eternal home where we are all bound.

How many happy, healthy friendships might have been birthed and nurtured if we hadn’t been proud, I wonder?  I too am guilty of this – pride is a huge issue for me.  Pride seems to represent everything that we are – when really it represents everything we are not.  It is an illusion of what we think we are.  How truly humbled we would be if we could see ourselves as we really are – deprived of any respectability in and of ourselves, as low as the ground and lower.  Then we would look at those towards whom we bore grudges and we would be ashamed.  We would be ashamed because we would realize we had no right to bear a grudge..

Be quick to forgive whole-heartedly. And then be ready to forget the affair.  Only be careful to forget after forgiveness and not before.

What good is it to forget but not forgive?

Well I’ll be blest if I know! No good at all, none whatsoever.  Does more harm than good.

Just a few random thoughts I had.  Not very well pieced together – sorry about that – I couldn’t think of a good ending.  Any thoughts?