We like to make things crisp in our moral sights, albeit with a twist of innocence. Stealing is always wrong, except when it is something we need or the institution we are indefinitely borrowing has deep pockets. Yelling is never acceptable; however there are viable excuses if someone intentionally hits the corner of my car. A casual glance, “innocent” thought, or flirting comment is never similar to actually cheating on your life partner, is it?
And so we rationalize our behavior, always wanting assurance that we are not that bad; in fact, we are really pretty ok. Everything about this process stinks!
Stealing is stealing. Even “hunger is no excuse for a thief to steal; when he’s caught he has to pay it back, even if he has to put his whole house in hock.” (Proverbs 6.30,31)
Yelling is just that, a loud harsh voice throwing itself towards another.
The number of times anyone intentionally hit or destroyed another’s possession is far fewer than our anger would indicate.
Self-gratification, in any and every form, is just that, self-gratification. Regardless of execution, the motive is present.
Finally, we are not a pretty sight! In fact, when one looks at your actions and mine they are self-serving, hurtful, and frequently disgusting! The fact that anyone is even willing to look at us is a miracle. The harsh reality that God loves us unconditionally, without reservation, and in mercy is one of the most bizarre mysteries of life.
If we want to makes everything crisp in our sight then we need to look at the whole picture. When someone asks for help, do we respond with what we have? If there is an opportunity to lend a hand, spend some time, give an ear, what are we going to do?
Several people I have never met recently prayed on my behalf. I am more thankful than they will ever know. The question of responding lingers; the answer lies is giving away what God has given to you and I – unconditional gifts of mercy, love, acceptance, nurture, and forgiveness.