I read a wonderful comment on the blog https://caseyelizabethbean.wordpress.com/ recently. It said:
When we change our nature we become drones.
When the Lord changes our nature we become human.
Though I don’t have a tendency as a Christian to take other peoples words as gospel, as a writer I certainly find great inspiration in certain thoughts. And the comment above ties into what I’ve been contemplating recently.
Personally I get a lot our of Paul’s letters in the Bible. He’s a hero to me because this man was a murderer and through Christ, became a wholly different man. Paul’s conversion is a reflection of my own in the sense that I once was lost, and now I see. When I finally got over the fact that I’ll never be perfect, will always be a sinner, and not as many of my fellow Christian sisters and brothers wish me to be (ie. same-sex married) that was when I could truly say “yes Jesus who died on the cross for our sins is my Savior and I will obey Him alone” that I was forever changed and it has been for the better.
Better doesn’t mean easier. After all “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Producing good fruit at all times is a challenge. We are both converted but also tempted by evil. I leave the “saved once” to “continual saving” camps to their own debates simply because I know I’ve been changed, yet I have to work to maintain the change. Going back again and again to the Bible (particularly an older version) is required to “stand against the wiles of the devil.” I’m human and therefore a sinner. I’m human and living in this world at this time. Like all times the “fiery darts of the wicked” attempt to penetrate, so I have to daily discern and pray.
Recently I joined Nextdoor, a social media platform for neighbors. Little did I know that Nextdoor would be just another place for sometimes unhappy participants to hide behind nastiness and shallow inconsideration. When a thread about a particular request for a healthcare issue came up, comments went from neutral and helpful to political and bitter. I got sucked in and asked via comment on the thread for civility and respect of the citizens who live in my town.
My comment was met with someone looking up my name on a search engine, providing the link on the thread, and being called a name. Several people actually thanked the poster for doing this and I admit it stung. My only recourse was to pray. In doing so it became clear that I needed time to remember that God made me and it is He I answer to, not anyone on social media. My wife reminded me that the Bible addresses strife and this led me to Proverbs for inspiration and guidance.
I’d love to pretend that whether in person or online, than when provoked I instantly respond in understanding and forgiveness. Certainly since my conversion this is more true but it’s still work. Internally I wrestle with the desire to sound right, look right, and even, yes God help me, get revenge. It turns out Jesus is exactly for people like me (and you) who are human. We cannot self-help our way out of fear. We can’t 12 step our way out of unkind thoughts. We can’t get enough therapy to be ever joyful. No social justice movement can wholly restore faith. Only the Lord can make us more human and capable of a love that no mechanism, whether by philosophy or science, can imitate.
I am not a robot, drone, or machine (https://youtu.be/9qDZJJ6WUxg). No matter how much a person mutilates their body, tears down another in the name of justice, or demands change to the kings of our day, we are what we are. This world isn’t meant to be a utopia without the Lord’s will. Every attempt on a macro or micro scale to do so only proves this point. 200 million dead from communism. Transgender people cutting off their body parts that only results in mimicry. Cell phones that know your heart rate but not your heart. Our attempts to change nature only make us less than human.
When someone somewhere attempts to degrade us, changing ourselves via mechanisms to avoid such pain doesn’t elevate our nature or “evolve” us spiritually or physically. Instead we become more cut off from ourselves and one another (sometimes literally). We can use social media, a protest, science, technology, or some other contrived device to “change” a mechanism or person using the mechanism, but in the end we become afraid to face those who harm us. We need not fear others when we have put on the “whole armour of God.” as Paul beseeches.
The person who tracked me online and decided to disparage me was only for a moment my enemy. Then she became someone I prayed for, forgave, and decided to love. I emailed her privately and suggested should she ever wish to meet, that I would be obliged. It’s doubtful this person will take me up on this offer but it is of no matter. In Christ’s strength and courage, by reading His Word, praying much and humbly, and consulting with someone else who endeavors to live a Christian life (my wife) it became easier to diffuse anger and hurt. It was the Lord, not a socio-political construct or psychological theory or an App that gave me a semblance of grace. In loving that person, I became human once more.
Time will only bring another test of faith. I pray when the day comes, to remember His constant grace in my life and the peace received.
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33