If we don’t have accountability, really…what do we have? Speaking from my own list of shortcomings and flaws, I will give you what I have:
- selfish desires, wants, “needs”
- lack of community
- lack of awareness to our community….yes, I “see” you, but do I SEE you or just pass by wishing there was more I could do as I continue my drive, ignoring all options and prompts.
- and so on and on….and on
It is the accountability of our friends, our community, our church and scripture that keep our egos in check and hearts open. It is so easy and natural to live a privileged life…especially when you worked hard for it. I have never had anything “handed” to me, I have studied, earned and worked for every dollar I have (my husband even more so), but sadly this can lead me to that entitlement I speak of. I used to take the stance that I didn’t feel sorry for others because it was up to them to decide if they wanted change and then do it. That thought now saddens me. While there are many that may live in that world of self pity and ‘woe is me’, there are so many more that just get dealt a bad hand. They are dealt illness, poverty and loss. They are dealt pain. Pain they did not choose, pain they did not want. Why have I been given this life of convenience, when my neighbor is fighting to keep food on the table? Why have I been provided mental clarity, while my community is plagued with depression and mental illness? Today we are knee deep in controversy, war and violence. We are 17 years in to mass shootings with lock-down drills taking over our schools, funerals taking over our youth. When will we stop blaming just the guns and the mentally ill and look at our society as a whole? How are we all playing our part? How are we all engaging and nurturing this problem as ours and not just theirs? I for one have stopped watching the news, because that’s super healthy and not “avoiding the problem” at all (obvious sarcasm here). I play all high in mighty with my staff of ignorance to the problem and place my thoughts in more pretty places like ministry and serving. But truthfully, if ministry and serving are my mission, why am I blatantly ignoring the news of what my brothers and sisters are facing daily. What if I chose to watch, cry and mourn with my neighbors. What if I reached out, cooked for and comforted those that were struggling? There is so much we can do, there is so much I can do.
Jesus is our master storyteller, our teacher, our mentor. It is His words that should guide our steps and challenge our conscious. When we sit back and really evaluate our values, our priorities, can we look into His word, His stories for wisdom? Where does He hold our value?
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayedthus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
When we hold ourselves “righteous” (right with God) because we tithe, we donate our old clothes and we pray for those hurting, who are we kidding? Who are we trying to convince? God or ourselves? Lets stop taking a tally of all that we do that’s “good” and just do GOOD! Lets stop talking about it, praising each other for it and getting titles because of it and just start doing it. Privately. Honestly. Humbly.
I am writing this not as a finger pointer but as my own conviction. It is in my daily reading that I see my own flaws, my rose colored glasses, my missteps. I lay them before you as my offering. I hold myself accountable on these words that I will stop just praying for the poor and start serving them. I will bring my kids along for this ride because kids are the most malleable, influential, forgiving beings on this planet and it is them that will change our future. I will walk this path with my 2 year old, 5 year old and 7 year old. I will let their smiles warm the hearts of the hurting and their non-judgmental hugs bring comfort to the oppressed. It is in their hearts that Jesus lives and it is in our hearts that we should be aspiring to be more like them. More like Jesus.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
It is always my intention for these words to reach those they were intended for….
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I am not only proud but impressed by today’s youth. They have exemplified courage and strength in the wake of tragedy. The March for Our Lives rally, established by students, was I’m sure just the beginning of their fight for gun control, safety in schools and real action. Lets take a lesson from those coming up behind us, lets take a stance, lets embrace the uncomfortable. Our children, our teachers, our future are worth it.