I write. I am compelled by whatever force, male, female, inherent soul, external force, benevolent, malevolent. I know not. I do know that benevolent would be boring, wouldn’t it, dear reader? Malevolent is so much more interesting, but no matter. I write to tell you that your sense of past and future are nonexistent. They are part of a cosmic lie that the universe tells to young nebulae and dwarf stars. You, like them, cling to past and future because it is impossible to cling to the present, which is constantly ebbing and flowing. So, we make up our stories, yesterday I did this, tomorrow I will do that, but they are constructs no more real than the boogeyman. All the while, we do not realize that we are not in the here and now. We are not present, pardon the tautological pun but it is the truth. And we are wasting it by not being present. Instead we are rehashing past hurts, or future conquests. We are fools being foolish in our motley, bells and whistles flashing as we dance our silly, little dance. The lights are definitely on but no one is home. We set the lights to a timer and took off on our merry little vacation so that no one would know we are actually not there. We are building castles of sand and the high tide is definitely rolling in; but we are on the moon causing the very tide that will ultimately destroy us and our castle. And we don’t even know it, not fully. We may get a hint of it as our life ebbs and flows, a hint of mortality or a sense that there may be something more while we watch the snow fall on an early spring afternoon…
The true miracle of the prophet is not knowing the future, it is knowing the present and being able to see what will happen next by looking where his or her life ebbs and flows to.
Suffering is necessary for God to develop a stronger relationship with us. That does not mean God causes suffering. On the contrary, we brought suffering on ourselves in the garden of Eden. Daily, we continue to bring suffering on ourselves in that same spirit of rebelliousness and stubbornness. In our rebelliousness and stubbornness, we lose sight of our actual, original, pre-Fall, true selves when we go against that original nature and God’s law, which is inherent in our hearts. Yes, we do have the freedom to choose and make our own way. We have that freedom as God’s gift of true love. The angels do not get that love. That is part of the reason some of them fell. They got bitter and jealous of humanity so some of them fell and even now are trying to destroy us and turn us from our Maker.
The suffering that we feel as a result of our disobedience whether completely voluntary or due to some “help” from fallen angels brings us back to needing God and His abundant Grace. That way we can be redeemed and remade once again in His Image by way of our sincere repentance. After all, that repentance is all we have to offer God and He loves that gift. In fact, that is the role that baptism plays, naming us God’s and sealing us as His children to spite the fallen angels through the gift of grace. In fact, I believe that we as humans are meant to chasten the angels and help them understand truly who their Master is. We are teaching the very angels who are keeping us safe. And the good ones know it and love us and God for it.
When Jesus was baptized, his actual, true, blameless nature was revealed and affirmed for all the world’s people and angels, good and bad, to see. It would be good for us to realize this – that we are not that far in nature from Jesus the Christ. It is just that Jesus was able to hang onto his true, original nature, whereas we tend to forget who and whose we are. Suffering is inherent in this sinful forgetfulness and its subsequent fear. However, the good thing about suffering is that it brings out a need in us for God as our Father. Our suffering affirms and delights the Father because He gets to touch our faces and dry our very tears. That delights Him. Yes, He hates that we suffer but He loves that it gives Him a chance to interact with us in a meaningful, deep way. That is why He allows suffering to exist. Our suffering gives God a foothold and handhold in this fallen world. Our suffering makes room for Him in our lives as a stronghold and a divine shoulder we can lean and cry on. That way He can stoop down happily and wipe our tears like the good divine parent that He is. Glory be to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
As much as we would love to, we do not actually have the authority to forgive. We can only ask to be forgiven. I say this because inherent in forgiving others is the assumption that we have been wronged and they have wronged us. In order for that to be true, we have to judge other people’s behavior. The Bible says judge not lest ye be judged; therefore, we cannot judge and we cannot forgive. However, look first to your own perception when you judge that you have been wronged. Oftentimes, we have done something wrong within the context as well. Thus, we should ask for forgiveness before assuming that we have the moral right to forgive others. In other words, a necessary condition for us to forgive someone else is a judgment that they have done something wrong. Rather, I would suggest blessing someone who you perceive to have done some wrong to you because ultimately you played a substantial part in them wronging you so you have no right to judge, and no right to forgive. The judgment is always a subjective thing and often it comes from selfish motives on the part of the one doing the judging and thinking that they have been wronged. Thus, it becomes personal and we need to ask forgiveness for being selfish long before we assume that someone who has wronged us needs forgiven. To say that we can forgive is to say that it is okay for us to judge. It is not okay. In fact, we are almost constantly wronging others ourselves; in that wronging we lose the authority to judge and forgive. This may seem counterintuitive but all I am saying is look to yourself and your own salvation before assuming someone else is wrong because that is a value judgment and not fair to anyone.
Jesus is the only human with the definite ability to forgive. That is because he never wronged anyone and so was blameless. That gives him a position of authority in which he can forgive others where we cannot. Perhaps we need to seek forgiveness from Jesus and then put the other person’s forgiveness in His righteous and capable hands. After all, that is what His death on the cross did. It legitimized Him as Lord and he punctuated that legitimization by way of His Resurrection. Thus, His death awarded us ultimate and all encompassing forgiveness. He imparted this forgiveness and ultimate salvation to us even as we slaughtered Him like the perfect Lamb that He was. So, technically, we no longer even need forgiveness. It has been accomplished for us; so, live free and clear. However, we still need to work for others’ salvation and bring them into the pasture of love with us, bring them into the Kingdom of Perfection with us, even as Jesus brought us in. We can work our own salvation and forgiveness in that way and by praying and being covered in the blood of Jesus by way of unwavering faith. When become free and clear, we can then impart that freedom to others, as Jesus brought it to us by His death on the cross.
Knowledge is power because it gives you a reason and purpose to righteously act and the ability to defend those actions with meaning. Knowledge defends the possessor against naïve ignorance and arms you against it. Knowledge in this sense is holy as it leads to a deeper sense of true understanding. The power one gains from knowledge is one of purpose and direction. Knowledge enlightens and proceeds to spread whether good or evil. The power also gained from knowledge can be good or evil or used for good or evil. The power is not attached to good or evil so both good and evil that comes from knowledge’s power comes from the same source – the mind of man. Thus, the true battle is one of deep understanding – the understanding and compassion a “good” man has in understanding an “evil” man. Without that understanding of good for evil or for evil of good, all is lost. That is man’s role in the universe – unequivocal, unjudging understanding. If he can accomplish that, he has surpassed and entered nirvana.
I kicked the hole in the door but my kid brother bravely claimed responsibility for it. He said something awful to me and he knew it. When I was young, I had been sexually abused by a baby sitter. My brother, whom by my telling probably escaped the worst of it, made the mistake of saying, during a rather heated argument about God-knows-what, probably over who would do what chore when during the summer, that I liked being abused and enjoyed the adverse attention from the baby sitter. The baby sitter was an overweight, pudgy, middle aged man with droopy glasses. He was actually technically the baby sitter’s husband but he did help in “caring” for the children. Technically, his wife was the one watching us. I was four when that happened. I was the hero because I told on him and saved my brother from having to endure the same sweet torture at his fleshy hands. The argument over chores occurred years later. I think I was just shy of twelve at the time. My brother said what he said and then immediately and with haste retreated to his room and locked the door. I think he knew I would be livid enough to do real harm. He was right. When I tried to get in his room, it was locked so I kicked the door, putting a hole in the wood at the bottom. When my dad saw the hole after a hard day at work that evening, I knew I had done something unforgivable but my brother lied and said he did it after accidentally locking himself out. I could not believe it when he spoke up like that. My dad got angry anyway but my brother took the beating without protest and thusly became my hero.
There is no such thing as true selflessness. Even while the good Samaritan feeds the homeless, it is likely to assuage the guilt he or she has because of the simple fact that he or she is more fortunate. It gives them license to amass more. Fate picks people to bring down in a very fickle manner. We must exercise godly grace to pick them back up, regardless of our underlying true reasons.
Do not even acknowledge evil or the devil; for, when you do, that is where they get their powers. Use grace to deal with adversity without acknowledging the potential evil of the situation. Jesus taught us that by example when, while being arrested, he healed a man wounded by his own disciple before they took Him away. So, know your fate and meet it with grace, and without resentment. Band together like brothers and sisters if you must; for, we are stronger together and can, thereby, defy evil. So, be social; be gracious; be forgiving; be accepting. Together we can withstand the devil, and create opportunities for grace to operate.
I recently came across a really good e-book. You can find it at jasontapscott.com. It is a psychological thriller about a bounty hunter, a prison inmate, and a mental patient. It is definitely worth the 99 cents it takes to download it. And, you can buy the first novella in a series. The first novella is entitled Glockette and the series is entitled the Committed. Check it out! I highly endorse it. It is well worth the read. And, I heard by way of the grapevine that the author is working on the second novella in the series as we speak. I can’t wait. Further, the author has endured prison and the mental hospital as he relates on the website so he knows what he is talking about. Check it out!
One should not seek to be understood but to understand others. Seeking to be understood is selfish and self-centered; while seeking to understand someone else and their situation while sacrificing your own needs to be understood is altruistic. You do not get any payout when you seek to understand others but you do gather relevant information that can be used at a later date to understand commonalities in the human existence and condition and the various variations in that existence and condition. That way you can be a better, more conscientious person and that is a positive payout and selfish gain in and of itself.
Being altruistic is actually selfish in a good way because it makes you feel better after you have helped someone out of the kindness of your heart. If someone is truly seeking selfish motives, altruism can really give the self a good feeling. Therefore, altruism is in some ways a positive form of selfishness.
As we learn and grow and develop throughout our lifetimes, certain behaviors became inherent because they get reinforced, whether by society or by someone other force. Nobody in their right mind would do something if there was no reward. I believe the good feeling one gets from altruistic behaviors is God blessing and reinforcing the good behavior. Plus, there also may be an evolutionary reason people feel good about helping each other. In other words, when we help out someone else in the group, the whole group is more likely to survive. Thus, over evolutionary time, our brains began to develop so that certain behaviors were rewarded intrinsically, like altruistic behavior.
So, if you really are looking to be selfish, try to help someone out; that is as selfish as you can get because the payout and blessings are amazing. You won’t regret your sacrifice.