During this time I read Don Miller‘s book “Searching For God Knows What” (and am just about to re-read it) and God has taught me all over again about His redeeming love. The basic premise being that we are created in such a way that we look for something outside ourselves to tell us we’re ok. In the beginning it was God, and that relationship was broken at the Fall (Miller looks at Gen 3 and the whole thing with Adam & Eve realising they’re naked and being ashamed) , and since then we’ve been looking to each other to redeem us. The reality of course is that the people around us can’t redeem us, their love can’t redeem us, their words, deeds and thoughts can’t redeem us, none of this can ever be ‘enough’ because all the people we live life with, need to be redeemed too.
Only God can redeem us, only He can tell us who we are, and the truth is, according to Jesus I’m his beloved, His bride. When it comes down to it… I’m ok! He likes me. He even loves me. My glory comes from Him and nobody can steal it. Nobody.
I’ve realised that I’ve been living according to false redemption. Not only have I been looking to others to tell me I’m ok, but I’ve depended on it. That’s not to say of course that the love of friends isn’t important, of course it is, but it’s not redeeming love.
Don Miller uses a couple of anologies, to describe the way we live life together. One of them is based on an object lesson his 4th grade teacher used that goes like this:
“If there were a lifeboat adrift at sea, and in the lifeboat were a male lawyer, a female doctor, a crippled child, a stay-at-home-mom, and a garbageman, and one person had to be thrown overboard to save the others, which person would we choose?”
The basic idea is that some people are of more value to society than others and we’re in the lifeboat trying to prove our worth and a lot of the time, at the expense of others. Of course this is all just a lie. We’ve turned the ‘lifeboat’ into a ‘boat of death’. The point of a lifeboat of course is to ‘save life’ – instead of throwing people out we’re supposed to be inviting them in.
The second analogy he uses (not in the book but in a talk he gave at Harvard) is that of life in High School, he talks about the popular/unpopular stuff that happens while we’re there. He says it’s like when we start High School, someone says something along the lines of:
“Ok, for the next 6 years you’re all going to stand in a line in order from most popular to least popular! GO!”
I’m wondering if High School isn’t just a microcosm of the way we interact with others throughout our lives. I don’t know that it’s as stark as all that really, but I know for myself that I want people to like me, and I’m ashamed of some of the things I’ve said and done at the expense of others to move further up the line.
The sad thing is I see this occurning within the Church. Of course it’s certainly no where near as overt as it is in other places, but it’s still there. The most obvious occurances is between the various denominations, although I have noticed that that is breaking down (which is great), but there’s something attractive to believing we are right and they are wrong. I’m right aren’t I? (Go on! Tell me I’m right! Just kidding of course). But it also occurs within individual churches, I know I’ve seen it in mine, take me for instance! lol….
Anyhoo, I’m not that quick on the uptake am I? This is all so obvious, but, better late than never I guess! I’ve made a decision. I’m stepping out of line and my part in the life boat is going to look so different. I’m not playing anymore, I’m re-committing to ‘learn a more excellent way’ (1 Cor 12:31), the way of God’s love. I’m committing to not letting what other’s say steal the glory that God is giving me, to take anything away from the fact that I have been redeemed.
God pours His glory into each of us and our job is to share that glory with others.