When we most needed to be generous, we hoarded.
When we most needed to pray, we clicked the next episode.
When we most needed to practice empathy, we came up with excuses and criticized.
When we most needed to embrace solitude and rest, we went on political rants and mined the internet for groups that ONLY thought our way.
When we most needed to serve, we used the pandemic as a cop out.
When we most needed to support and praise the ones who are in harm’s way we doubled down on suspicion and skepticism.
When we most needed to sacrifice our personal preferences for the greater good, we rationalized our actions and did whatever the heck we wanted to do.
When we most needed to lament and practice grief, we brushed it off as someone else’s crisis.
When we most needed to worship, we cursed technology and slept in.
When we most needed to find joy and peace in suffering, we felt sorry for ourselves and sulked.
When we most needed truth, we let something besides God’s word win our trust.
When we most needed to find solutions, we created more problems.
When we most needed miracles, we looked past the small miracles all around us.
The pandemic, the racial divisions, the loss of life, and a tense political season has revealed some of the worst aspects of the human race. Selfishness, pride, anger, judgement, and distrust have been on full display this past year. Sadly, many of these aspects are found among Christians and people within the church. Even more sad, many of these aspects are found within me.
I have felt disjointed and scattered and that has led to my stinginess and base selfishness. I crave certainty and have naively grasped for it at the expense of others and my own sanity. I want people to see things my way and have refused to listen to others. I have let loss consume me instead of handing it over to God, the only one who can handle it. I have been in competition when no one is keeping score and nothing is on the line.
This past year has been a test of our growth and depth of spirit and we have largely failed. What a reminder that just a few things matter. Namely, how do we see God and are we willing to make his son, Jesus, Lord of our lives.
By understanding the true nature of God revealed in scripture and in the life and teachings of Jesus we are assured that God knows what he is doing and we are safely within his Kingdom. And, if we place Jesus at the center of our lives and remove our place in that role we discover that we have the resources, the power, and the capacity to be loving, to be gracious, to be gentle, and to be patient.
Let us perform an audit of our spiritual maturity and honestly assess where we have gone wrong and how we were not spiritually prepared for what the past year has brought. Let us then, recommit ourselves to discovering the Jesus Way and putting that into practice. Our sanity, our families well being, the strength of our community, and God’s life giving purposes depend on us Growing Up. Don’t beat yourself up about your failings this past year, instead, quietly focus on Christ and let him guide you. He knows what a flourishing life looks like and longs to give it to us no matter what we may face.