I am not mechanically inclined… at all.
That’s why I am extremely blessed to have friends who can fix stuff. I kind of have an unspoken deal with them; if they fix what’s broken around my place or in my car, I’ll conjugate any Greek verbs they need.
Seems to be working out really well for me so far.
It was even worse when I was younger. I remember being in high school and knowing very little about cars but thinking that they were trying to con me when they said I needed my tires aligned.
Sure, what’s next, am I low on blinker fluid?
Over the years, I’ve decided that a good tire alignment isn’t a bad deal.
In fact, the whole issue of alignment is a fantastic spiritual principle. So much of our lives are close, but just not quite there. You couldn’t see it by looking at it, but the unforeseen wear and tear on our lives and the unexpected reduction in performance let us know something is wrong.
We often have all the pieces we need, but we’re lacking some kind of cohesiveness, some kind of coherence that makes all the parts of our life work right. It’s like the old expression, I finally got it all together and then forgot where I put it.
Just like the tires on a vehicle, we also need spiritual alignment. In other words, we need to take the time and energy to make sure that our practices line up with what we know, that our thoughts reflect a pure heart and that our lives produce based on what we are putting in.
When our day-to-day lives tend to wear us out, when we don’t seem to get out of our lives what we are pouring in, and when we seem to be living two lives (the one that reflects the voice in our head and heart versus the one that we actually live out with her hands and feet) then we are probably in need of spiritual alignment.
An alignment means that we have it almost altogether, but the pieces are not working well as a team. This will cause frustration, breakdown and serious life damage.
Let me give you an example. The Addi are a pretty functional and healthy family unit, but like every family in America and I assume around world, things aren’t always perfect.
My wife and I after a discussion this very morning just desired to take it up a notch and become more of a family that God would want us to be. For me, this meant a return to the Scripture as I asked God to reveal how to align our family with Him.
I really believe he directed me, since I sat down to read Galatians 5 as it was on my daily reading plan and I just hoped God would intersect that random calendar with our specific need. I was halfway through the chapter when I realized I was in Ephesians 5… kind of a rookie mistake for a pastor, but it was just the chapter we needed for our realignment.
Here’s what I found:
- verse 1 -don’t compare yourself to others, there are families that will make you feel bad about yours and and many that will make you feel better about yours. The standard though is to imitate God… remember life is not graded on a curve.
- verse 2 – walk in love. The fragrance of Christ is not worship music, strict obedience to behavioral steps or anything else very Christian/churchlike. We are to walk in love and let that verb consume us and our household.
- verse 3 -rid the house of any sexual immorality and greed. This shouldn’t even be hinted of in the believer’s home. What’s playing on our television set, what pops up on our computer screens, what rolls around in the mind, what’s valued and sought after, what becomes an obsession? All these are things that I have to answer for no matter who in my home is taking part. It’s our job to get rid of the junk.
- verse 4 – no filthy or foolish talk, especially crude joking. Instead it needs to be replaced with a consistent attitude and speech pattern of thankfulness.
- verse 6 – in the standards and practices of your home, be firm and steadfast. When you make a decision, stick with it.
- verse 10 – when looking for direction, think about what would make the Lord happy and walk there.
- verse 11 – expose what is wrong and do not cover over it. Problems do not go away, they must be dealt with.
- verse 14 – wake up! Quit sleep walking through the most important moments and decisions of your life. You can’t live on cruise control.
- verse 18 – be filled with the Holy Spirit and make worship a way of life. It’s not about the weekend stupid… God needs to be on the throne of your family seven days a week.
- verse 19 – submit to one another as a way to honor Jesus.
- verse 22 – wives submit, follow and respect your hubby.
- verse 23 – husbands, be worth submitting to, following and respecting. Love your wife more than you love yourself.
- verse 30 – make your immediate family, the family that you focus on.
- chapter 6, verse 1 – children obey your parents, just because it’s right. This is how you learn submission and trust.
- verse 4 – parent with skill and compassion. Learn how to discipline and not punish. Make your parenting what your kids need, not what they want.
Suddenly, I realize that things are good not great. That there is soooo much room to be where and what God wants us/me to be.
Most importantly, I realize that if I don’t change something, nothing is going to change.
One by one, The Addi will start to make the adjustments and align our home with God’s word.
Pretty soon, we’ll be running much better than we knew we could!
And, by the way, if you need any Greek conjugated… just let me know.
There is an old saying that opposites attract.
Often it is used in the awkwardly romantic, Paula Abdul-esque way to describe how couples…er, compliment one another.
- Mrs. Always Late marries Mr. Electronic Organizer
- Mr. Arm Chair Quarterback/Wanna-Be Gladiator marries Mrs. Doily Crocheter
- Mrs. Wakes With The Dawn marries Mr. Up By The Crack Of Noon
I guess it does happen from time to time, but honestly, I think the more common occurrence is in the attraction of opposites that truly are opposite. They don’t complement each other, in fact, they don’t even like each other. But, despite their disdain for one another they end up being just like the other.
- Republicans and Democrats
- Your NFL team and my NFL team
Just plug in any rivalry and you’ll see what I’m talking about. When opposites attract it usually is not a marriage of convenience, or even compatibility. Yet, it’s often amazing just how similar those opposites can be.
I wrote this article for the Hutch News and was published today. They usually provide a web copy on their site, so, I don’t double post.
But, it looks like there is no web version this time, so…
Enjoy and let me know what you think:
IT’S TIME TO FORGIVE
When is the hardest thing in the world to do, the best choice to make?
When it’s forgiveness.
You don’t have to be a church attendee to have this pounded into you; Dr Phil or Oprah get the job done there. Forgiveness restores relationships, brings peace amid conflict and changes the face of everything from family to politics.
While forgiveness is hard, it is exponentially amplified when you, the victim, had little to no part in the initial hurt:
- I mean he’s the one who walked away, right?
- She’s the one stabbed me in the back, remember?
- After what he did to me, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness!
That’s what makes verses like this so very hard: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
Forgiving as Christ forgave means unconditional, undeserved, unrestrained forgiveness of those who hurt us most. There’s no call for confession, no sign of regret. Christ forgave us while we were still sinners, and He asks us to do the same.
I believe this particular theological principle is called “NoWayishJoseish” in most of our personal doctrines.
Friends and family won’t let us forget the hurt, little things like songs and calendar dates stir up the pain, and we’ve become so comfortable with the misery we really wouldn’t know what to do without it.
So, we just live with the turmoil and convince ourselves its just the way it is. We continue to make regular visits to the temples and shrines of our distress where we worship what we hate.
But, what if God gave us this incredibly difficult command to forgive, not only to fix others, but to restore the forgiver?
Imagine walking a hiking trail with some friends and you suddenly feel a stinging on your calf and hear the terrifying sound of a rattle rustling back into the bushes.
Your friends sprint into emergency mode, “We have to get you to a hospital!”
But, you refuse.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was on the path, right where I should be. I have been wronged! That snake was way out of line, and I am completely right. I refuse to leave this spot until that snake comes back and apologizes!”
You may be logical. You may be convincing. You may be 100% right.
You’re still going to die.
That snake is not coming back. And, you have to get the poison out of your system.
One of the benefits of forgiveness is that it releases you from the pain, the anger, the past and the poison.
It’s the hardest work you’ve ever done, but sometimes it’s the only way. Don’t forget, when you forgive the deepest wounds, it’s never one and done.
That kind of forgiveness requires multiple applications, but it’s worth it. This is your life we’re talking about!
That snake is not coming back, but we still have to get the poison out of your system.
It’s time to forgive.