There was an article that I read this morning that really resonated with me. It is convicting, humbling, and edifying. And usually, I would not post a “reaction” article to something I read in anything other than the Bible, but I think that at times information needs to be shared among each other in the event that someone doesn’t know this. That is the whole reason behind beginning “Coffee with Candee”. If I don’t know something, I look to those around me for that information. However, I also read various other articles because “one doesn’t know what they don’t know”, right?
The article is convicting because when I become completely honest in my self evaluation, I realize that I sometimes rationalize my actions when I know that I am being wrong in principle to my moral standards, but technically I am not breaking any rules. The article gives an example of an officer pulling over a woman and asking her if she knew why she was being pulled over. She states that she doesn’t know. He said that she was texting and driving which is unsafe. She stated that she had not been texting, and she showed him the screen of the device. Sure enough, she had not been texting. She was writing an email while driving. Now, clearly she was driving in an unsafe manner if her attention was not fully devoted to driving. However, she thought she had found a loophole in the law. It is the underlying principle that was not being observed here.
Here is an excerpt from the article written by Tim Gustafson:
“Rationalization can be so subtle. With it we avoid responsibilities, explain away selfish behavior, and reject God’s direct commands. If that describes our behavior, we’re merely deceiving ourselves. Jesus offers us the opportunity to exchange our selfish tendencies for the guidance of the Spirit behind His Father’s good instructions.”
This article humbled me. God is showing me that I am not following the underlying principles in some of the areas in my life. He is still refining me. I have not arrived at my final perfection, which I did not believe myself to be at, let me assure you of that. He is rooting out more of the areas that need to be aligned with His will and purpose. Which is edifying to be sure. It shows me where I need to adjust and clean up. And again, “one doesn’t know what they don’t know.” God is shining a spotlight on things that I did not necessarily see. Which is that I need to follow the underlying principles that God has set out for His people to follow, not just the examples that He provides for us.
Jesus made the laws as general as He could so that the principles of God’s Kingdom citizens would be more easily kept. The two principles/laws that He brought up are from the Scriptures (Torah/first five books of the Bible/the books of Moses). Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40 that there are two very simple laws to follow. They are simple to remember but profoundly difficult to keep completely. These two laws come from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. And John records in John 13:34-35 that we are to love as Jesus loved.
Per usual, I am completely being transparent and honest in these posts. That being said, I struggle with this. At times, I simply want to do the chores or studying without being interrupted by a phone call, my son asking for something, or a message from my husband asking to bring him something to drink. Sometimes, I just want to be isolated from others and do what I want to do. However, that is not always good. God knows that for me, the more isolated I become, the more comfortable I become with being isolated, and therefore the less I love others in my actions.
Are there times when someone tells you something about someone else that should not be spread around, but instead of stopping them from telling you, you just keep listening? Have you ever told someone that you would do something for someone, but when it was time to do it, you made up an excuse to get out of it? Do you find yourself saying, “I am doing something for me,” rather frequently? Sometimes, do you feel like ignoring calls and saying “No” to people who ask for your assistance? Some days, do you feel like doing nothing but the bare minimum in the day? I think we all have days like that.
The point I am trying to make is that most all of us, if we are completely honest with ourselves, can be self-focused when Jesus tells us that the two commandments to follow are to love God and love people. When we truly love, we don’t simply have warm, fuzzy feelings. No. We act upon that love. I believe that the love word that Jesus (and the Bible as a whole) reveals is an action word. “Actions speak louder than words.” And rationalizing not loving someone in action is wrong. It is not out of moral obligation that we love. It is from within that we love. It is not a checklist mentality to love. It is out of relational respect that we love.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..