Friday, January 29, 2010
Taking the Knife Out of Your Back
One summer when I was in high school, my family and I were on vacation and decided to visit a church in the town where we were staying. At the end of the service, the pastor asked if anybody wanted to become a Christian. He said that people could repeat a prayer after him and become Christian. he said that people could repeat a prayer after him and become a Christian, right there at that moment in their seats. he said that if people repeated this prayer after him, they could be sure that when they died they would go to heaven and not hell. He then asked everybody to bow their heads and close their eyes, and he said the prayer, leaving space after each sentence for those who wanted to repeat the prayer after him. When he finished, he told everybody to keep their eyes closed and heads bowed. He then asked for the people who had prayed the prayer to raise their hands wherever they were seated. This way he would know who they were so he could pray for them. He said that nobody but him would be looking.
The pastor then said, "I see that hand over there. Thank you. I see that hand in the back. I see some young women in the front..." and he proceeded to acknowledge the hands that were going up all around the room.
During this entire time I had kept my eyes open and was watching the whole thing.
I didn't see any hands go up.
Several years ago my dad reminded me of that day. He told me he had his eyes open the whole time as well- only he was not watching for hands. He was watching me. He said that when he realized what was going on and that I was observing it all, he had this sick feeling that I would walk away from God and the church and faith forever. he said he kept thinking, "I've lost Rob, I've lost Rob..."
I am like you, I have seen plenty done in teh name of God that I'm sure God doesn't want anything to do with. I have lots of reasons for bailing on the whole thing.
I am also like you because I have a choice. To become bitter, cynical, jaded, and hard. Anybody can do that. A lot have.
Hatred is a powerful, unifying force. And there is a lot to be repulsed by.
Or, like you, I can choose to reclaim my innocence.
-Velvet Elvis p. 176-177
My wife is a wise woman. Years ago a pastor burned me badly- worse than this story- and I have carried an unhealed wound for years and, frankly, I had every right to do so. But it was not doing anyone, least of all myself, any good. Anyway, Sarah kindly pointed out that if I just let it go then it would stop owning me, frustrating me, and tainting me.
We probably won't have the wrong righted, nor watch the person get their dues, but it isn't about what God will do to them but what God will do in us if we let go.
I don't know much but this story just hit me really hard. I hope it brings some others' hope if they read it. It won't make things okay but at least you might know you aren't alone and there is another way.