Don’t Feel Good about Feeling Good

I was stunned, or at least significantly shaken. You couldn’t have knocked me down with a feather, but you could have knocked me down with a small pillow! “Dave, we need to talk.”

“Yes?” It sounded serious, but I was on pretty solid ground I thought. “What’s up?”

“You know when you were talking to your sister about our marriage?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you said that we have a great marriage, and when you said that I got this feeling in my heart, ‘How come it doesn’t feel so good to me?’

Perhaps you’ve been there before. You’re thinking you’re really on solid ground. You’re really right. You are on high moral ground. It might be an argument where you’re sure she’s wrong, or a conviction that he just doesn’t understand. It might be a day-to-day conviction that is not actually serving you well because you don’t see the issues you need to face. But at some point in the fray you discover, “Ugh! I’m really the one who is wrong. Very wrong. Very wrong, indeed.”

These words are appropriate for us at all times:

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12

Or recall this encounter:

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. – Matthew 26:30-35

No one wants to feel bad. We all want to be happy, hopeful; a hail-fellow-well-met. No one likes a sour puss. We shun the pessimistic glooms-day prophets. Let’s hear happy news!

If we do not take our lost and broken state to heart we will not experience the fullness of God’s grace. Jesus was the Word-made-flesh, full of grace and truth. Grace without truth is a sham and no grace at all. Truth without grace is a master of misery. We need both. Desperately.

Fortunately for me, Diane’s comments reached my heart in a Holy-Spirit-inspired moment of humility. I listened and we talked. I learned much from that conversation, not the least of which is that my need for Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness – and that of Diane’s as well – is not just a theory. And the experience of that is a rich blessing of life and hope.

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Guatemala Flora | September 2018

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