Thursday, August 26

Thinking on things

“Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them. But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:2-17 NET

It has been an amazing week so far, since I opened my email account on Sunday and discovered the email that I had posted on a previous blog entry labeled “Judgment.” I’ve since taken it away because it offended the person who had sent it, who intended it to be a private, personal email. I am respecting his wishes, although the argument that caused me to post it on the blog for everyone to read was his comment that he wondered what my family, friends, and congregation would say if they knew I had a son, Malcolm, that is sixteen years old and whom I had not seen since he was twelve weeks old.

Most of you knew of Malcolm and encouraged me, some did not.

But the response is one that has been the staple and common of all my Christian friends for whom faith is not a matter of utterance but a way of life. When the opportunity comes to have a reunion with my son after the building of a relationship with him, it is people such as my family, friends and congregation that I would love to stand before and present Malcolm to. As for the circumstances or situations that existed back when Malcolm was born, does it matter? Surely there are some deviations on both sides of the situation and there are sorrowful things on each side to share and lay claim to. Those who are deep in relationship with me know of those things to which I claim.

As for the others involved, that is for them to tell or keep silent on. I am not going to bear malice, anger, rage, slander or abuse towards anyone, even if (as it so happened) such was given to me.

I cannot make a judgment upon a person I do not know, I cannot perceive the qualities or the desires of another. That is for God to discern and lay judgment to, not me.

For I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.

I was once a person whom anger, rage, slander, malice and self-interest served as god. Where I was quickly and decisively prone to take the easy way that was offered out; whether in this circumstance or in life itself.

Some of you know of the testimony I have shared in this blog, some in person.

There are those who would claim to know me simply by reading this blog…….and would make claims of shallowness and hypocrisy. Unless you have walked in my shoes and bore the situations in which I’ve walked, there can be no deep understanding only shallow assumptions.

Though I am a new creature in the eyes of God, forgiven and redeemed, it is not a transformation that frees me to erase or deny the mistakes and choices of my past but rather a transformation where the past is brought into the redeeming light and love of God.

I can understand the anger and hatred, the animosity and villainous feelings that such a situation brings to bear upon all those involved; those who feel slighted, those who feel abandoned and those who feel maligned. Does that free me up to respond in kind?

I would say that it doesn’t, even if I fail to respond perfectly in the light of Christ. Rather, I should respond and walk in mercy, kindness, humility and gentleness with patience towards everyone and begging for forgiveness before I can even tender the forgiveness myself.

Most of you who know me, really and truly know me, beyond the limitations that exists in the ‘electronic’ community of Facebook and my blog, who have engaged me in the level of relationship that shows all the cracks and ugliness, the depravity of old nature and the promise of new……those few, these bands of brotherhood, can understand the sincerity of my writings and the truthfulness of my intentions.

You have seen me at the worst and held me accountable for what God has made new, you have struggled with me in the trenches of this world and bled with me as I have dealt with the wounds of my own past and face the consequences of my decisions and actions.

The mountains have been high and the valleys deep.

For those of you who don’t, I welcome you to this part of the journey and look forward to hearing your voices as we gather around the campfire at night and discuss those things that burn upon your heart. Though I may not have a pat answer or one that satisfies your demands, I will always answer, for as you will come to know and those who gather here for a time already know, I don’t hide anything, even my broken humanity.

That is probably why I don’t serve on some lofty staff position in a church or promote the Gospel in a mega-site ministry.

It is probably why, as I step into the work that God has enticed me to do, I do so with fear and trepidation…..simply because there is so much to do and I am a simple sinner redeemed, unworthy of such work. It is not my glory that I pursue or impact, but God’s. That is a dangerous thing to impinge upon, for God is a jealous and wrathful God.

I am a simple man, enticed by God to join Him in the work He has begun; in me, through me and around me…….discipled by the Holy Spirit……and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

I am the father of Malcolm, Casey and Sara by His grace.

I am thankful to see my prayers answered that Malcolm has been blessed by step-dads that desire to see him become a good and honest man, brought up by a mother that has nurtured and kept them whole and healthy.

I take no part in that honor that should be imparted to them, for they did an amazing thing from what I have learned through the discussions via text with my oldest son.

I cannot claim that title of ‘dad’ yet, for I have not earned such a designation. I am the father of Malcolm and hope to be Dad to him someday. Only time and the building of this relationship will tell if that prayer will bear fruit or not.

But the journey has begun……

That is the man I have become and the father I hope to be.

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