What You Think I Am

Today is Wednesday (Hump Day), March 21, 2018. Spring has sprung. Day 21,923.

EIGHT DAYS until Opening Day!

11 days until Resurrection Sunday!

George Jean Nathan (not his birthday) said, “Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.” (The Quotations Page)

The word for today is disjune, an obsolete Scottish noun which means, “breakfast.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. 
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 
they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 
But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Psalm 63

How do we get to a point where we can say, with David, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you?” I believe that I have been close to that point a few times in my life, and may be close at this season of my life. But am I there, yet? Do I truly believe that the steadfast love of God is more important to me than life? I’m hesitant to say yes. But do believe that I am in a period where my soul thirsts for God, and my flesh faints for him, “as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Loving and Liking

“Try to understand exactly what loving your neighbor as yourself means. I have to love him as I love myself. Well, how exactly do I love myself? Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently ‘Love your neighbor’ does not mean ‘feel fond of him’ or ‘find him attractive.’ I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do . . . but that is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clearsighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do. Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.” (From Mere Christianity)

I find this reading to be quite interesting. It never exactly answers the question (I don’t remember if he goes on to further answer it in the book, as it has been a short while since I read Mere Christianity), but it gives us much to think about. I especially like the bit about realizing that I’m not always a terribly nice person, but, in fact, find that I “can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing.” This reminds me of a song (is anyone surprised?) by one of my favorite bands, The Choir. The song is called “What You Think I Am.” One of the choruses says:

“I’m nobody’s angel
That ain’t me
And what kind of devil
Do you think I be?
I’m a good samaritan
And a very, very bad man
I’m a whole lot better
And a whole lot worse
Than what you think I am”

If all of us would be more honest with ourselves, would we not come out thinking the same thing? I know I have. I am, indeed, a whole lot better and a whole lot worse than what you might think about me. Perhaps that’s how we should also look at our “enemies” and our “neighbors.”

Father, I sometimes want to hide the truth about myself. Not from you, as I am fully aware that I can hide nothing from you. Before you, I am as naked as Adam and Eve. I tend to hide the truth from myself, and, most especially, others. I pray for transparency and humility. I realize how dangerous it is to pray for humility. But I am doing it, anyway. Teach me to be humble, before myself and before others. Teach me to love my neighbors and my enemies as myself. Teach me to see the good in everyone, while, at the same time, recognizing that no one, save Jesus, has ever been truly “good.”
And while I’m at it, teach me to hunger and thirst for you, and to know, beyond a doubt, that your steadfast love is better than life.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.