Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The dog ate my homework

I managed to shave off just a half a pound last week on the diet! I am sure I heard somewhere that the older you get, the less easy it gets to loose weight and that is true for me. I have just a half a pound left to reach my first stone gone!

Jo, the class leader, was talking yesterday about making excuses for ourselves. We can justify why we are as overweight as we are – it’s the medication that we are on, or we are just big boned people, or it’s in the genes or …. you know how it goes! These things are just excuses and they don’t really hold up under scrutiny.

I was praying this morning. I spoke on Sunday about asking for help. The basis of the word was the story in Acts 3 where Peter and John are God’s instruments in healing a lame man. I made the point that they had passed the man on a number of occasions and never noticed him. Indeed, it was the man himself that initiated the encounter by asking for help. Peter and John were just walking by. Why did they not see him? Why did the Spirit not provoke them into action?

I think too some extent that beggars around the Temple were so common place that people accepted their presence without thinking. It was just normal life and just the way things were, so they didn’t question whether there was an alternative. The beggars were part of the scenery and almost invisible.

I was challenged about what things have become so acceptable to me they have become invisible and unquestioned. We have a family where the mother and her children are part of the church family, but the father isn’t. I accept his absence when I shouldn’t. Just as it grieves God that this is an incomplete family in the church, it should grieve me too. There is a history – an unpleasant history – of his encounter with the church in earlier years that wasn’t good. It left wounds and scars which have not really healed.

This morning as I was praying for the family, I was focussing on what we as a church had done wrong so many years ago, and apologising to God for making His job that much harder. God spoke clearly about the problem no longer being about us. We were not the same bunch of people. The problem was that what had happened long ago had been made an excuse not to become involved.

It is far easier to maintain what you think to be the truth about a group of people, or an individual, rather than to seek a fresh view. To think that the person you knew five years, or ten years ago, has never changed is unrealistic. People change – but we hold on to who we think they are from our past experience. We make it an excuse to polish the grudge, or sharpen the hatchet.

We have a choice. We can forgive and move forward, or hold resentment in our heart and stay stuck in the mud of stubbornness.

I am learning to forgive.

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