Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dichotomy



I've just been thinking lately how "at war" I seem to be within myself.  It kind of culminated yesterday when I was doing a Bible study on suffering.  This particular lesson was on satan and suffering.  I guess one thing lead to another and I thought, really, the whole Christian battle is dichotomous, is it not?

Dichotomy.   Paradox.  Oxymoron.  Ambiguity.  Contradiction.

Our "inner being" is selfish and spoiled and wants what it wants when it wants it!  But the Holy Spirit in us, the "new" being, has the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But there's so much more to it than that, for me anyway.  I am at once extremely merciful and compassionate, yet equally adamant about justice for wrongdoing.  Not that they need to be mutually exclusive, but most times it seems like a person is one or the other.  There is a specific situation I have in mind for this:  take the example a woman in an abusive relationship.  It’s just she and her husband at home; her children are grown.  Yet she chooses to stay.

Part of me says, "Well, she's probably terrified and he's probably threatened her and she feels like staying is the right thing to do so no one gets hurt." (Compassion.)

The OTHER part of me says, "Toughen up!  Do what needs to be done and get out!"  And there is VERY little sympathy in THAT part of me.

Other instances:  I'm sort of healthy for a sick person.  I mean, my blood pressure, cholesterol, kidneys, liver, heart; all that stuff is just great.  But don't ask me to walk uphill in the sand for more than 5 feet because my legs will give out and I'll fall.  

Other people seem to LOOK the epitome of health, yet drop dead.  I knew a man in the peak of health, late 40's, early 50's, ran every day....just dropped dead on a run one day.  

Paradox.

I enjoy living in the country, most of the time.  The open spaces, the country air, the gentle breezes. Watching my son grow up in a way which, in my mind, is the best way a boy can grow up.  Room to run, frogs to catch in the pond, his faithful dog always a step behind him.  Not having neighbors in your face.  No noise pollution.  Clearer skies to see the stars because it's SO dark at night.  The amazing sunrises behind the barn.  The sunsets right outside the living room window that demonstrate God's brilliant love for us.

But then there are the bugs.  And mice.  IN the house.  And the 5 foot snake skin my husband found (still wet from its being shed) in our yard.  And that it takes 10 minutes to get a store that doesn't sell BAIT next to the bread. The fact that a tractor is more important than a car.  The smell.  Of cows and grass and cut hay and dirt and dog poo.  

And the noise.  Whoever said the country was peaceful has never lived where I do. The roaring and clicking of crickets and other insects, and annoying dissonant chords of the tree frogs.  The croaking of bullfrogs, and hammering of woodpeckers. And the birds!!  I love watching them, but some of the most beautiful birds make the ugliest noise!

Contradiction.

I guess my point is that there is simply more to any one person or situation than meets the eye.  So let’s try and show some extra compassion this week.  It may SEEM that you have all the facts, but the situation may be something you’d never expect.

Ecclesiastes 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
 In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,
“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”


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