On Helping Others:

My Friend Emily Terrell asked:

how did you grow past hating helping people and enjoying it?

Not that this is something with which I’m finished.

My response:

I’m not certain.

It is mostly an offshoot of being less self-centered. I am at times still self-centered, so I try not to let myself stew in the thoughts (e.g. I really hate this… this is stupid… why do I have to do this) because they seem to start a vicious cycle.

A practical idea I’ve used to rein in my thought-life is just to think of myself in the same situation and what I’d like people to do. A place Satan can attack in that thought process is that it is easy to leap to “Next time I’m in a situation like this they are going to owe me.” Like I’m going to build up a bunch of chits that I can call in when I need help.

The final little hurdle to clear is the “Kristian Karma” idea. “I’m going to do this to get points in heaven.” The more mundane thought is just “good stuff will happen later because of this” but I’ve even, with the wrong heart, coveted an eternal reward. This last one is subtle because it’s pretty clear there is some sort of credit system, but as usual my heart loves to grab on to things that are good and turn them evil.

Matthew 5:11-12

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

(Obviously helping someone isn’t quite persecution.)

Matthew 6:1-4

1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

which is always an interesting juxtaposition to:

Matthew 5:14-15

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Pointing pretty clearly to the heart of the matter being the heart itself.

The “R” Word

the-letter-r

I saw on CNN today that Rahm Emanuel put down Democrats who oppose Obama’s health plan by calling them “f******* retarded”. This caused quite a bit of outcry from all sorts of people including the head of the Special Olympics and Mr. Emanuel signed a pledge to stop using the “r-word” as a derogatory name.

While I understand the desire to get people to stop using certain words in ways that are derogatory, we cannot just make a list of “bad words” and “bad usages”. For any real change to occur we must change the heart behind the words that we find so offensive.

Jeremiah 13

God basically tells Jeremiah: “Put on some underwear, now go bury that underwear by a river.” Then after many days he tells Jeremiah: “Go dig up that dirty rotting underwear… look at it!”

Many times I have refused to do what God wants me to do because it seems ludicrous to me. The tension remains, however, to distinguish between God’s guidance and my own guidance (or worse). The guidance seeming ludicrous is apparently not a disqualifying factor.