You’ve Become a Pharisee

“Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a grand view across a wise expanse of water enclosed by a range of snow-capped mountains. You have a ringside seat before wild storms and cloud formations, the entire spectrum of sun-illuminated colors in the rocks and trees and wildflowers and water. You are captivated by the view. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty, thrilled with the botanical and meteorological fireworks.

One afternoon you notice some bird droppings on the window glass, get a bucket of water and a towel, and clean it. A couple of days later a rain storm leaves the window streaked, and the bucket comes out again. Another day visitors come with a thrive of small dirty-fingered children. The moment they leave you see all the smudge marks on the glass. They are hardly out the door before you have the bucket out. You are so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the contemplative beauty.

Keeping that window clean develops into an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct a scaffolding inside and out to make it possible to get to the all the difficult corners and heights. You have the cleanest window in North America — but it’s now been years since you looked through it.

You’ve become a Pharisee.”

Eugene Peterson, ‘The Jesus Way

Honesty and Truth are Not Always Equal

I have always respected an honest opinion. I like dealing with people who will share their feelings even if those feelings might be unpopular, make the person sharing them unpopular or not make the people they are sharing them with feel good.

But just because someone is honest, it does not make them right.

An honest opinion can still be honestly wrong, or at least based on incomplete or misinformation.

The Enemy is the Enemy

“People are not the enemy. The enemy is the enemy.”

My father-in-law says that a lot. And it’s true.
People are not the enemy, but people can be stupid.
And hurtful.
And mean.
And angry.
And insecure.
And hurting.
And sad.
And bitter.
And broken.
And hopeless.
And sometimes, so am I.
We must learn to forgive.
We must learn to give the people the benefit of the doubt.

“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.” — GK Chesterton

Come to Me

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28–29

It’s an invitation.

It’s an invitation to a new way of living.

It’s an invitation to peace.

And all it takes if for me to let down my guard, drop all pretense and show. I have to become honest and authentic with where I am. I need to completely open up about my pain, frustration, worry, doubt, and fear.

I have to come to Him.

Let it Go

I’m amazed at how many people I meet that are missing great opportunities because they can’t bring themselves to let old things go.

People that are holding on so tightly to an offense that they don’t have a hand free to grab on to something good that might be coming there way.

Unforgiveness is a prison. It traps you at the moment in time when the offense occurred. I know you know people like this. They talk about hurts they experienced five, ten, twenty years ago like it happened yesterday.

Some people are lucky; when they hold on to unforgiveness, it only affects one area of their life. For other people, unforgiveness takes over.

They become bitter, hurting, mean, and unhappy.
They don’t know how it happened. They use to be normal. They use to be happy. They use to be unafraid. They use to not feel so alone.

The offense was real. The pain you felt was real. The pain you might feel right now is real. But the odds are, the only one who is hurt by it now is you.

To hold onto an offense, to not forgive, to live any part of your life in the past only hurts you.

You may be spending so much time looking at the past, that you’re missing a great future.

Don’t let what happened to you in the past affect what could happen to you today.

Your spouse may have cheated and left, that doesn’t mean your next one will. Your parents may have hurt you, we all make mistakes, we all say things we shouldn’t. Your kids may not be speaking to you, call them again. Your old business partner may have stolen from you. Start a new business.

Every day that you wake up is a new day, full of new possibilities and great opportunities.

Don’t hinder yourself.

Choose to let go. Choose to forgive.