Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday's Meditation

"You take away the pen, writing down my every sin;
you burn the book of my rebellion.
You tear the pages holding everything that I regret.
How you forgive me!"
- "How You Forgive Me," Enter the Worship Circle, Third Circle

Expat and I have a friend, EWB in San Diego, who used say that being a Christian is all about God's love for us. Expat and I, being the way we are, would roll our eyes and begin to complicate matters for EWB, and I'm sure we'd make EWB feel really small and unimportant with all of our deep theological treatises on why Christianity is about more than love.

I don't think I ever told EWB this while we were all living together, but at some point I began to see his point about love. If I'm right all the time, but don't have love, my rightness is meaningless. If I can write, or preach, or teach about the wonders of God, but have not love, all my deep thoughts are worthless (see 1 Corinthians 13).

For whatever reason, I seem to have developed the same thoughts toward forgiveness of God that I had developed in my thinking regarding the love of God. I think that the thought goes something like this: Love and forgiveness is all well and good at the start of ones walk with Jesus, but hopefully you grow past those things into other, more important things, like knowing things about God, converting people (which, for me, was all about being right in my thinking about God), and stuff like that.

Christianity was, for me, about starting at point A (conversion) and "walking" toward a goal. Conversion was all about what I called "grace" - which amounted to forgiveness and love and other stuff. To be sure, I realized that there were things I did in the mean time that needed to be confessed and forgiven - I never saw myself as perfect, though I'm sure there were times I acted as though I was - but these instances were mere stumbling blocks in my way to knowing about God and having a right doctrine. I'm sure (err... hope) there was more to my Christianity and me than this, but this "rightness of doctrine" attitude/behavior is what stands out in my memory.

Something happened at some point, and maybe I'll write about it at another time, but I'm at a place where I see myself in constant need of the love and forgiveness of God: Love and forgiveness are not starting places on a linear track through time, but an all encompassing sphere from which I must live. I'm finding the greatest battles in my life are not having a "right" theology or doctrine; nor is my greatest struggle found in keeping myself holy and unsoiled by the world.

The most difficult thing I do all day is letting go of the "pen" I use to keep track of my rights and wrongs; to live apart from the book that holds my self righteous thoughts and deeds; to not wrestle with God while he "tears the pages holding everything that I regret." The most difficult thing I do all day is attempt to throw myself at the feet of Jesus and allow him to love me lavishly and to forgive me completely.

Dear Lord, thank you for friends like EWB and Expat. I miss them dearly and cherish the time that we had together. Jesus, help us to live from your forgiveness and love and so, in some way, to see your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.