Posted tagged ‘fruit of the Spirit’

The Battle Within to Stay Within

March 25, 2020

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        March 25, 2020

                            

The governor of Colorado spoke, a mixture of anger and pleading in his voice. He was asking people to stay at home, practice social distancing, wash their hands, and watch out for one another. As news of the number of infected New Yorkers alarmed us, more alarming were the scenes of people congregating together to play full-court basketball, lay on the beaches, and crowd into Costco.

In New York Governor Cuomo’s press conference, his arteries were about to pop out of his neck he was so angry at some of the citizens of his state. For many, it seems that the pandemic is something that will pass from the news in a few days. No biggie! 

It tells us of the battle within each one of us, the struggle to do the right thing versus our strong-willed determination to do what we want. Each one of us faces it multiple times each day. 

Yesterday was our granddaughter Corin’s fifth birthday. Carol and I drove over to our daughter’s house with presents, but we stayed a few feet away from our grandkids as we celebrated in the driveway in front of their house. Our desire was to hug and embrace the little birthday princess, but our greater hope is and has been, that all of our family is safe and remains healthy. The battle was evident. We’re accustomed to hugs and loving touches, but we had to blow kisses to one another instead.

Scripture talks about that internal struggle…frequently! The Apostle Paul does a personal tug-of-war in Romans 7, where he goes back and forth trying to understand why he has a tendency to do the things he knows he shouldn’t do, while also recognizing his desire to do what is good. 

There’s Simon Peter, who would do anything for Jesus, and then denying he even knew the man. There’s Paul’s categorizing of the sinful nature (“the acts of the flesh) and then the fruit of the Spirit (the characteristics of someone allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him/her) in Galatians 5.

There’s the conversation that Jesus has with a young man in Matthew 19. The young man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to get eternal life? When Jesus narrows the focus of the discussion down to the man’s obsession with his wealth the line was drawn in the sand. It was a line that revealed what the struggle and, consequently, what his priorities were. The scripture says that “he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

The battle is different for you than it is for me, but it is still that inner tussle for following the ways of God, following what we know is right, versus giving into our hunger to satisfy ourselves in the moment.

The current pandemic has clearly shown examples of self-sacrifice. A 72-year-old Italian priest named Don Giuseppe Berardelli, infected with COVID-19, gave up his ventilator for a younger person who was sick. The priest had been suffering from a respiratory condition for some time and his church had bought the ventilator for him previously. Father Don died two days ago, a week after giving his ventilator up.

Volunteers are helping gather and deliver food, neighbors are checking neighbors, people are praying for one another. The good acts of humanity have been frequently needed harmonies of sweet music.

But our propensity for dumbness and deceit has also been evident. New scams are suckering in desperate people. People are stealing toilet paper from places of business. Stubborn self-centered folk are thumbing their noses at following protective guidelines. 

Crazy people in crazy times!

Let me tell you what my hope is. My hope is that the God of heaven changes hearts in these coming days, causes people to look into the mirror and discover who their number one foe and number one advocate is, and brings us into new and deeper realizations of how precious the gift of life and our loved ones are.

The Emerging Rude Factor

October 24, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                October 24, 2012

 

I was driving in the downtown area today with my youngest daughter and witnessed a determined lady turning on to the street we were on and disregarding a woman and her pre-schooler crossing the street. She sped on to pursue her daily agenda items, leaving an angry mom in her wake.

But sometimes there is justice! A police cruiser saw the whole thing, turned the flashing lights on, and sped after the speeding lady.

If only it would be that way all the time!

Rudeness has made a comeback, not that it ever left. It is leaving offended people behind it as it races on. I see it at high school sporting events, not just with the students, but also with the adults. Once in a while a display of good sportsmanship emerges to the point that it is commended and put on YouTube, but those have become the exceptions and not the norm.

I see it in how young people treat older people, and how older people treat younger people.

I see it in politics, but enough of that!

I see it in how people treat someone who is overweight; and I see it in how someone who is slower than another person can tolerate.

I especially see it in driving habits.

And now I see it in Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

I see it on t-shirts that seek to either incite, draw attention, or both.

And I see it in the church.

Rudeness has become the norm.

The thing is…there’s this list qualities and characteristics that are written down in Galatians 5 by the Apostle Paul. It’s a good list! A list that many of us would want to see lived out in our child, or the potential marriage partner that we bring home to meet Mom and Dad. It’s a list of fruits, spiritual fruits. As I look at that list- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control- each of the fruits goes sharply against rudeness in some way.

If I’m patient I won’t try to rush ahead and cut someone off.

If I’m kind I won’t look for the first opening to tear someone down.

If I’m joyful there will be no bitterness in my actions.

 

Rudeness is a slippery slope sliding towards ripped apart relationships.

And why do we give in to its lure. Because even though we don’t want to admit it, too often it is still all about you, or all about me. And if you point that out to me I may call you rude!