Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Take Responsibility For What You Believe

Henri Nouwen wrote in his book The Way of the Heart, "We move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying, or doing. We simply go along with the many "musts" and "oughts" that have been handed on to us, and we live with them as if they were authentic translations of the Gospel of our Lord."

This sums up my recent spiritual awakening far too succinctly. I was just like his description; wondering, doing, not even questioning the why's. To question was equated to sinful. Almost. But being the inquisitive person that I am, I asked. To be truthful, at certain junctions in my journey, I wasn't convinced I had done the right thing in stepping out and asking that tough question. It was easier to blindly accept and go along believing I was doing what God was expecting. In reality, and I can guarantee you are close to this, I was doing what man expected. I was no where near meeting God's expectations.

Here it is in one simple line. God expects us to accept his son's sacrifice and live with the knowledge and grace that cross offering brings to our lives. Everything else is manufactured logic and theology. Of course you want to live your life as an acceptable sacrifice to God, but that comes naturally if you truly understand and accept the gift of the cross.

If I burn my hand, no one has to tell me it's burned. I feel the pain and see the manifestation of that burn on my skin as it either bubbles or peels. For someone to claim my blood pressure needs to spike or I need to pass out for the burn to be legitimate defies the logic of that scorched skin I am looking at. Same thing with our relationship with God. No one can tell you how to cultivate that relationship or what it stands for because it is a sacred union between you and God. How do get there, though?

Read the scripture in its unadulterated form. That is, read it without the echos of opinions gone by. Read it and ask God what the right interpretation should be. Your translation should be based on what God is whispering to you, not what man shouts from his soapbox. I think we are too quick to parrot what we hear and never ask the question "why?". We take man's interpretation as the gospel and do not heed God's intent in writing it in the first place. It's time to go back to the basics and approach scripture as we are commanded to-with the faith of a child. And if you are near children for any length of time, you will hear one of them ask "why" a time or two.

Read, study, reflect, and ask why. I'm telling you, it's a liberating experience when you do.