Saturday, April 28, 2012

"...the kindness..."

<--- This would be me this morning.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice & envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Titus 3:3 & 4

I can't say that I am in the best mood this morning.  After 3 days of dealing with absolutely ridiculous  problems at school, and no seeming end in sight, I am simply worn out.  I love teaching and being a teacher.  But this is not what I seem to be doing at the moment.  I am a teacher, NOT an animal trainer! If that were my job, I would have been given whips, collars, tranquilizers and some treats to feed the beasts.  I have none of this equipment, yet I am expected to train the lions & tigers to sit.

I work with extremely difficult students.  I am not certain that I want to do this anymore.  I know that being a very young teenager is difficult at best.  I know that I was a difficult when I was that age.  However, I do not recall EVER behaving the way that I see these kids behaving.  I am not sure that I want to deal with this anymore.

I simply do not enjoy seeing the results of sin.


While trying to cheer my crabby self up this morning, I stumbled across a song.  The video illustrates almost perfectly what is on my mind.  Watch it.  Pay careful attention to the ending.  Then continue reading.

That's a lot of X's on the road.

When it comes to human nature, I tend to prefer the term "Broken."  For my tastes, there are far too many preachers out there who seem to love harping on how "Sinful" we are.  So often they seem to speak of the sinfulness, wickedness & evil of "Those."  They might throw in a bit about the fact that they are sinners, too.  But then they jump right back in to speaking about "Those."  Odds are that you know exactly what I am talking about.  I get a little tired of it.  I'd bet that you do too.

Yet, I can't escape the fact that we really and truly ARE sinful.  Sure, we are broken creatures.  But it is that very brokenness that leads us to be evil & sinful.  My friends on the Religious Left tend to be uncomfortable with that fact.  It is a natural reaction to the pounding that they receive from the other side so often.  Still, you can't exactly faithfully read the bible and come to other conclusions...unless you willfully choose to.  We are sinful.  We are evil.


Everyday I get the privilege of seeing what sin can do to humanity. ("Yay" for me!) Frankly, anyone who keeps their eyeballs open can see this too.  I think it is because we get so used to it that we tend to ignore it.  However, the school I work at is for kids that come from extremely difficult backgrounds.  So you get to see the result of sin in the world in all it's extremes.  There is plenty of poverty involved, homelessness, abuse, etc.  I can't speak of poverty in other countries, but in can turn you into an animal.

I wont go into detail as to events of the last few days, but suffice it to say that every part of my being is sore.  And by that I mean mentally, spiritually AND physically. (Who needs to hit the gym when you can carry 14yr olds on your shoulders?) Every day is difficult there.  But it seems that they save their most outrageous behavior for the beginning of the weekend.  Yesterday was particularly bad.

I was left fuming at my door by one student in particular.  I had visions of a tall cliff, assorted sharks, wolves, alligators and other man-eating creatures below, and me happily throwing said student off and to these hungry creatures...with a joyous smile on my face.  And then I was approached by my Principle with a word/question of encouragement; "And yet, brother, we are here."

He is a Believer from Africa, so he has that unusual, yet slightly sage-sounding accent. "Ahnd yit, Broddah, wee ah Heeyah."

I hate it when he does that.


I do not understand the patience of God.  If I were God, I would institute another flood.  I would not show much mercy.  If I were Ron Paul & Ayn Rand, I would institute a Libertarian government and allow Social Darwinism to wipe out most of humanity.  I would not show much mercy.  It is good that I am neither God, Ron Paul or Ayn Rand.  But I still do not understand God's patience.

God's love is not like our concept of love.  My concept of love is tied to my earthly experience of being a middle-class white guy living in the mid-west of America.  I have a friend who seems to fall in love with a couple dozen different guys every year.  His concept of love is very different than mine.  I would imagine that both of our concepts of love are very different than some farmer in India living 300 years ago.  God's love is not like our concept of love.  This is probably for the best.

Neither is God's kindness like our concept of kindness.  I am kind to those who have earned it.  So is my mercy.

I need to be mindful of that.


The particular student who really got me fuming yesterday was homeless.  She lived on the streets after leaving her family.  That student has been abused in every manner.  Her parents were the first to instruct her in the joys of alcohol & narcotics.  She had been prostituted for them.  She has been taken in by a woman who showed mercy to her.  That woman sat crying in our office yesterday after this event.  So did that student.

I do not like to see this.

There are a lot of X's on her road...and on mine.


I sin.  I am capable of great evil.  I need to remember this.  I have been abducted by sin.  I am held captive in the trunk of it's car.  Yet, when I am freed, I will so often turn around and put someone else in that trunk.  In fact, we will both take turns doing this to each other.  Best of all, we will turn around and do it to everyone we see...and they to us in return.

This is the result of living in a world soaked in sin.

Do not deny this.  This IS the result of sin in this world.  I don't know why it takes the majority of us to fall flat on our faces, or to hit a wall to admit it, but this is who we are.  Do not deny it.

There are a lot of X's on the road already

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared..." 

I do not understand the kindness or patience of God.

"...he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, 
but because of his mercy."

I do not understand the mercy of God.

I am thankful I am not God.

There are enough X's on the road.



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