My son wrote in his blog
I didn’t realize how much corporate executives love to believe their own babble, while behaving in a contradictory manner. …how shallow are nice-sounding words if not backed by professional follow-through. Talk is cheap; if you want to know what a man truly believes, look at what he does, not what he says.
Today riding home from the grocery store I shared a crazy thought with the Mrs. which seemed to make sense to her. How scary is that! We plan to give money this year to our granddaughters for their birthdays like we give our sons and daughters-in-law. We treat all equally or at least that is my heart. But I reflected out loud on how now and again I break that rule of fairness to help one out over another.
My heart says “Same” but my actions seem to be partial—at least to the casual observer. I trust my family knows that somehow my brain’s grasp on logic is somehow weakened in time of family need and I see no contradiction in saying I treat them all alike while I do something special for one over the others.
We do this all the time without realizing it and only those parents with one or no child can stand tall and believe that they are totally fair and equitable. I understand [wink, wink]. But the rest of us keep no inventory of who gets what. We just give in the name of a passionate concern and heartfelt love that demands action—all rules of equal treatment suspended.
Theologically, we are the same. When it comes to other people’s kids, heaven might be a debatable place. But when it comes to our own, “Everyone in the boat! Now!” [Genesis 7:1] And God has to make it happen. Calvinism, Smelvanism! Weslyanism, Meslyanism! We will pick the doctrine that best supports our trust that God is going to keep them safe! And if no theology fits, we make one up. Tweak it to say what our heart has to believe!
When a person finds guilt disorienting they may even rationalize away wrong doing. Christians can and do invent biblical interpretations that allow them to do and say things they shouldn’t do or say and without a twinge of conscience. Preachers, too, can condone certain bad behavior to keep the ship of state level. And I worked once for a place that downsized without using the word ‘layoff.’ They boasted that they didn’t lay people off. No joke.
To my credit, I could never preach on fasting without an emphasis on prayer—in fact, I just preached on prayer—and do you know why? Yes, you’re right. I loved food too much. Some people say they are fasting even though they are on a weight loss regiment or they are cutting back on carbs. They self-deceive for the sake of conscience.
Politicians are notorious liars because they have to agree with the majority to get their vote even though they do not agree with the majority! And politically we are the same. When it comes to my family, I am liberal. If no one else can enrich their lives, I hold the government responsible. If they are doing well in business, my conservative side yells out, “Hands off! Congress, stay out of our lives!”
If a person would admit it, they would see that much of what they argue against, they actually endorse, if a personal matter requires it. The evangelical preacher who only marries christian couples, but officiated over a son or daughter’s marriage to a non-believer. Or the preacher who has clear and uncompromising convictions about homosexually and then has to face their undying love for a child who is. Or the preacher who preaches against this and that in the pulpit but secretly engages in the very act. [You can fill this one in, I am sure.]
Or the spouse who faces divorce, like John Milton, the second greatest epic poet in English history—second only to Shakespeare, who did not believe in divorce and who married a teenage girl his daughter’s age when in his forties and finding widowhood painfully lonely. His young bride ran home to mother and he wrote a tract favoring divorce under certain circumstances. I get it!
(To my sons: Milton’s experience is not mine. I am more in love with your mother these days than when I was too busy to notice her. Or it might be the pills the doc gave me. I don’t know.) But we all live with this conflict of conscience on one level or another, in one way or another.
Should I give up on principle—I mean, on my principles. Should I confess that life is by its forces and pressures always pulling us in different directions from where we want to go and I should just go with the idea of the moment? We accuse women of being ambivalent but, truth be told, it is a human response to need and interest.
No! I will continue to trumpet the cause for principle and biblical truth. I will continue in the privacy of my own honesty to take a deep breath and confess to God and soul when and where I know I have violated that principle.
But I will continue to love my family in logical and in illogical ways. I will always want to rush in and fix things. I will always seek the quickest solutions to their problems. My sons and their families will always be MY children and give me reason to be involved if called on. But when they need no help or want no help, I will save and save what I can to gift it to them equally because even when they do not ask for things, I want to give thing
God Who is fairness personified—an unmistakable part of His justice and grace—will still meet you and you alone where you need Him. One is healed, another is called home. One finds money in the mail, another finds a job. One works all day in the heat of the sun, another for one hour, and both receive the same reward. God forgives all sins, even criminals hanging beside Him on Golgotha. And will He ever change? Will I ever stop loving MY family? Need you ask!
I like Romans 8:31-39 in “The Message”.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: