She is almost done grocery shopping and is standing in the queue to payment when she hears a small voice: “mommy…” From the sound of hear voice she knows what her daughter is up to. She has discovered her favorite candy and asks her if they can buy it? It’s Monday which means there are four days to the day she can have her sweets. What is she going to choose? Will she give in to her because it’s 4 pm and they’re both tired and exhausted or will she tell her no?
While discussing with herself what to do, she knows deep down how her daughter feels. Last Thursday the mother went shopping. She passed by the biscuits, the cookies and the cakes. In a hurry, she passed by the chips and the soda before she stood in the queue to payment. Then she saw it. Her favorite bar of chocolate was for sale. She made an exception and bought a thing, which wasn’t on the grocery list. She said to herself she was going to save it until Friday. The same evening she and her husband and were watching TV when they agreed they needed something sweet. She fetched the chocolate. In a few seconds the whole bar was gone.
The mother stops discussing with herself. A word comes out of her mouth, and the girl is laying on the floor screaming, because she heard the word “no.”
Temptations. Every day we face many temptations.
One small piece of chocolate isn’t enough. Five minutes on Facebook isn’t enough. Quickly, five minutes become thirty minutes or sixty minutes. There are good things about Facebook, but for me there are more downsides. I’m not going to list them here, but I’m both the girl and the mother in the supermarket. I have to take the decision and allow the small girl in me to waste time on Facebook or listen to the mother in me who says “No!” I know what the right choice is, but the right choice is often the hardest and the most unpleasant one.
How can we overcome temptations and make the hard, but right choice?
I’m sitting by the keyboard when I meet a precipice. Mission impossible. Not the movie. Impossible? Wrong. Mission I AM possible. From where does the A come? From the alphabet, from the piano, from the chamber music? From the abstract? No. From the absurd? No. From the accusative? From calling on Abba? Yes. It’s God Father, who says I AM possible. I AM. I’m a possibility. To me everything is possible, God says. YAHWEH. He is the one He says He is. Powerful, strong, full of strength. So strong he can choose to be powerless, he can choose to die, to humiliate himself, he can choose to sacrifice himself. His grace is unconditional, his love is unlimited. He can forgive. He can move mountains. He can move borders. He can love the unloved. He is so holy that he loves everyone. He loves his creation infinitely. Unconditionally. Passionately. He died, but overcame death, sin, devil. He is the strongest. He is strength. God almighty.
But I am weak. Small. Powerless. Fragile. Full of sin. Full of shame. Full of thorns. I’m not a good person.
But I look at Jesus. I become silent.
When I moved into the house I live in, it had a garden with no flowers. With the help from my mother and mother-in-law we made a perennial flower bed. Unfortunately, I was more busy taking care of house and children than gardening.
35 years ago, another garden was planted. It was built on a foundation of good vegetables and solid bushes, but there is a lot of weed. I could have removed the stinging nettles and thistles, but I the weed has grown bigger than my shoulders, and I let them sting my ears and forehead. Dandelion flowers are pretty, and my skin has almost got used to the stinging nettles. The weed tells me many stories. You can’t, you must not, you’re not good enough.
I hear the stories so often I begin to believe them. Lie becomes truth, and truth becomes lie. The stories hurt me, but I know them well, and I find it comfortable to get stung by thistles and nettles, and hide myself at feed of the weed, imaging I’m a tiny beetle crawling on the ground. The little beetle wants to dream and explore the world, but it is afraid. It’s afraid of getting outside the weed, because it fears to eaten by a bird of prey. Sometimes I want to kill the weed, but the roots have become giants, and my fingers are not strong enough to remove them.
But I know other stories.
First of all my deepest condolences with the LGBT-community and their families and friends. I’m sorry for your loss.
It is hard to read the news these days, but I can’t say I don’t want to read the news anymore, because I can’t ignore what is happening.
Many people are discussing who was the terrorist, and what were his motives? I don’t know the man. But clearly, he was crazy and evil. His actions were demonic. His evilness came from the devil.
How should we respond as Christians?
1. Seek God
We should seek Jesus with all our heart: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares theLord (Jer 29:12-14). Jesus is our Lord and savior. We should pray, worship, read the Bible, and attend a Christ-centered church. We must seek Jesus. He will give us the armor of God (Eph 6:10-18)
2. Love our neighbor
Love our Muslim neighbor. We don’t like Islam and we disagree in many ways with the Muslims, but we should love them. We know that Muslims are different, and not all Muslims are terrorists.
Here comes a hard one. We should love the terrorists. We should love our enemy neighbor. We should ask Jesus to help us. Jesus can teach us. We hate the terrorist’s evil actions, but behind the evilness, there is a man, a human being created by God. There is hope. Paul was a prosecutor of Christians, but he met Jesus in a vision and repented and became a a follower of Jesus and an apostle. Scripture guides us how to love our enemies:
Eyes roll around
flicking back and forth
What should we do?
The builders labored in vain
They don’t see
The don’t hear
The earth burns
under the feet
we’ll soon fall down
Call his name
open your door
his death is your life
he is a bridge
he is the way out of here