Monday, December 6, 2010

James 1:19-27

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:19-27

After going for a record time without an outburst, today I lost it.

There are many reasons, most of them honestly logical and justifiable, why I would be angry. I will not get into them, because they would be damaging to discuss. All I will say is that it involves a biology project that Jonathan was supposed to hand in today.

There are other reasons why I am on the edge lately, many things weighing me down and making me feel like the breath of a butterfly could knock me over. These things are not my fault, nor are they Jonathan's fault. They just are. And I need to rest in the arms of Jesus, but I am not doing so well at that.

There is also the issue of my own pride. Once I get the email from the teacher telling me about my child's project and the next due date (because he hasn't been doing so well keeping track of things himself), at that point it becomes my responsibility and no longer his. I'm not sure how this is intended to work. Do the teachers mean to make me responsible? Or is this something I put on myself? At any rate, once I've been made aware, I feel that expectations are on me to ensure that Jon succeeds. So when he lets things go, fails to cooperate, I am afraid that I feel that it is a direct reflection on me, and that, of course, colors my responses.

It was an ugly, ugly morning, all the more so in contrast to how well we had been doing, generally. I feel defeated, sinful, discouraged, and wicked.

I feel unforgivable.

It is very hard for me to believe that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

How will I ever teach my child to do the right thing when I myself continually do the wrong thing?

After it was over, I went into the study and my Bible was open to James 3--"Taming the Tongue." And the first verse in that chapter reads: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." And I wonder, how does that fit with "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8:1)? I feel pretty condemned. Also, I feel glad that I retired from the Bible study that I taught. Last Tuesday was my last one. I'm thinking it's a very good thing.

Jonathan did take something to school to hand in. It is what it is, and it will be what it will be. God is in control, but I don't understand how it works, because I wish He would just control me, me personally, just put His holy hands on me and make me do the right thing before I do the wrong thing, make me still when I need to be still, and calm when I need to be calm and wise with His wisdom all the time. That's what I wish.

Yes, Jonathan made some very poor choices.

Yes, I responded to Jonathan's poor choices very poorly myself.

Yes (and here I am preaching to myself, because this is something I have trouble believing but I know that it is true): Yes there is forgiveness for both of us. Yes, God will pick us up, dust us off, and give us a "next time" when we can do better.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8

It is for sinners like me and Jonathan (and everybody else) that Jesus died. This is the reason His precious blood was spilled at the cross. This is why I need to be thankful and believe that His sacrifice is sufficient. I am not big enough or bad enough to out-sin the grace of the cross. I am not beyond the sanctifying power of His Holy Spirit. He is able to deliver me.

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy--to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 24-25

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