Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Difference

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

This verse came to my mind this morning when I read a certain post at a certain blog. I guess I thought of this verse because I wanted to tell the writer, uhm, "For goodness' sake... calm down!"

I agreed with much of what she was basically saying, but oh my, the way she stated it blew me away.

It felt like listening to an angry Billy Graham on speed.
It felt like having Bibles thrown--wham!--in my face.

And then I had to smile... Twelve years ago if I would have had a blog, I would have written a post just like that.

Twelve years ago I was, what some Christians call, 'on fire.' And well, it feels good, at first, to be on fire. You feel more bold, more energized than ever before and you want everyone else to feel like that, too. In fact, if others don't feel like you do, you almost want to shake them until they do.

But then after awhile it hits us--all that fire we are feeling? That fire comes to burn away our own junk. The fire of God comes down to consume our pride, our judgmental attitudes, our stuck-in-the-mud ways of thinking... The fire comes down to humble us so that, finally, God can actually trust us not to blow people away by our own idiotic behavior.

Surprise, surprise. And well, I remember well that surprised feeling.

And after the fire, the crushing, the humiliation--then comes the peace with God. Finally our ears can hear something other than our own (loud, know-it-all) voice. They can now hear wisdom... they can now hear the hurt in other people's voices--and respond in kindness. Or in boldness and fire, yes, but when it has first burned true in God's heart--and not our own.

Because after the big bonfire, well, now there's some room for compassion. And understanding. And unconditional love.

And of all things!--there's even room now for a teachable spirit... one that doesn't spout-off rehearsed words and fling Bible verses into faces. But instead, a spirit which grows day by day in humility and meekness--and draws thirsty, hungry and hurting people to a place of healing... to the very healing fingers and heart of God.

"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." ... 1 Peter 3:4

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