I was watching the Person of Interest season premiere, and towards the end of the episode Mr. Reese (Jim Caviezel) was talking to a Navy sailor about his future plans. The sailor was doubtful about continuing on in his naval career because of the situations that transpired previously during the episode. Mr. Reese made a poignant comment that the military has good and bad the way all of life does. I guess the writers made the comment, but Caviezel no less delivered the line effectively. It stuck in my head for this blog post as I share it with you.
Good and bad is nonetheless part of life, and I had quite the revelation recently concerning that. I’ve been thinking about a certain situation in my past that has caused me grief, but I was given an epiphany about it that has set me more free from it’s chains. I’m not completely free from the weight, but I have a clearer picture of the reality of what I should be thinking and feeling about it. The way I can describe it is that I walked in the shoes of the parties involved, and the Spirit empowered me to see the situation from their point of view. This peace that passes all understanding does indeed guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (see Php. 4). Like the infamous Jerome Williams song from Jubilee, I don’t know why Jesus loved me. I don’t know why He cared. I don’t know why He sacrificed His life. Oh, but I’m glad, so glad He did. I’m always humbled when revelations like this come to me, and the most appropriate response I have is to confess His love for me in the burdens He never meant for me to carry. Do those situations hurt? They always will till I’m caught up in the skies at His right hand, but I know even if a hurtful situation rises, and it takes twice as long to grieve that He is with me every step of the way.
My friend Michael has no idea unless he’s reading this now how thankful I am that he reminded me of Joseph from Genesis 39 last week. As children we were patted on the back for answering the Bible questions correctly, and when we gave a little sermon the little old ladies would tell us we did such a good job. Now when we as men connect with each other with the meat of Scripture those times with milk become more real than ever. Answering the Bible questions correctly, and being polite to the little old ladies who genuinely gave us compliments of encouragement are two very important things, and I’ll forever thank my parents for training me to do so. The rubber most certainly meets the road when we make ourselves vulnerable enough to trustworthy people. This life is too hard as men to retreat to our caves for answers. I guess my answer concerning above conflict was found in a cave, but the cave was not always empty. I have a community of people in my family, church, business, Facebook, Twitter and daily texts that reveal to me truth. My heart has remained soft for the love of God through a plethora of mediums, and although I’ve never heard God’s audible voice I’d be remiss to say He isn’t speaking.
He came to bring life, clarity and vision, and those three things happen through boundaries, divorce and seasonal changes. Here we are in middle Tennessee moving well into fall, and as the leaves prepare to fall from the trees, so do many things need to fall from us to be who He created us to be. Nothing ever dies or falls in the sight of God without Him taking notice, and like summer giving way to fall, so will winter give way to spring, and growth will come again.
As children of a very real omnipotent Father I am thankful prayer is a vital part of our existence. Change is inevitable no matter how much we try to control our lives. Prayer is the great stabilizer because it puts us in a frame of mind to realize we have a greater Being that is involved in our lives. He is not an allusive type of Being that looks over His bi-focals at us in exasperation because He has too much to do to answer our questions. His omnipotence is such that nothing tires Him. Nothing stumps Him. Nothing leaves Him scratching His head in bewilderment. Suicide, dictators, partners who cheat, genocides, terrorism nor our own sin phases Him for one second. When I think specifically about 9/11 I know I wasn’t anywhere near Ground Zero when that happened, but as I reflect back on that history I know God has brought me through the challenges I’ve faced since then. I guess I wasn’t really directly affected by the events of 9/11, but I’ve read, seen stories on television and observed the names being read of those who died that day. I’m moved as an American for my fellow countrymen who fell that day, and I pray consistently for families who lose their loved ones even as I type this sentence.
It hurts to lose those we love. It hurts to see those we love suffer, but I think more than anything it hurts us to hold on to anger, bitterness and rage at life’s injustices. When we slow down long enough to make peace with our past we can be clearer about the course of action to take in our present and future.
Forgiveness is a refusal to let hurt and pain control you. God has put that power at our disposal. Do whatever it takes to get there. If you don’t make peace with your past you will sabotage so many good things, and the bitterness will be a cancer that destroys you.
Every single one of us have circumstances that are different, but our catholic experience has shown that having the memory of an Italian don leaves nothing but destruction in our wake. We must learn from the past, but we must fight some battles so that our children will not.
And once more, if we do not forgive others our heavenly Father will not forgive us.